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28 Things You Didn't Know About Napoleon

Updated 6 Nov 2017 100.6k views28 items
Here’s a list for all those of Napoleon Bonaparte biography and historical facts fans. Who was Napoleon? A lot of Napoleon facts have been shortened - ahem - over time, omitting vital information. Others have been created out of whole cloth. For instance, he was the average height of a Frenchman in his time at 5’6”. Sure, he was ambitious and fell prey to narcissism and power madness, but he also helped usher in a new age of a more cohesive and rational governmental structure for France. He was a brilliant military strategist with a drive to rebuild his country and expand France's power, but he also marched himself into infamy. Such is the man that was Napoleon Bonaparte.
 
Aside from the height jabs and the Waterloo shaming, there are lots of interesting Napoleon facts, such as his saucy letters to Joséphine in the early days of their lust and love, the fact that Beethoven was a fan of his until Napoleon went a step too far and appointed himself emperor, that he probably wasn’t afraid of cats, or that a priest may have smuggled his penis out of the country. He also wrote a romance novella as the age of 26, Clisson et Eugénie, which appears to be roughly based on his own life and heart’s desire. A lot of people gave if four and five stars on Amazon.
 
Who was Napoleon? Well, for one thing, he had numerous supporters and was beloved among the common people across Europe. So beloved that the British made sure he was locked away on a remote island for his second and final stint in exile. They also knew just how determined and intelligent the man was. They beefed up the garrison on the island of St. Helena, called in the Royal Navy, and even stationed soldiers on a neighboring island just in case of a rescue expedition.
 
He was ambitious and was made for war, but Napoleon facts reveal that he was a positive catalyst for Europe, bringing order to government even if by helping mount a coup. He also introduced conscription, religious freedom, offered a cash prize to solve food preservation for armies, and opened up society so that the common man who worked and studied could improve his station. As he created power for himself, he created powerful enemies, leading to his ultimate downfall.  
 
Was Napoleon a villain or a savior? A man of the people, or the untouchable emperor? All of the above, perhaps? Upvote your favorite Napoleon Bonaparte facts and remember: “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.”
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