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Napoleon I Bonaparte
(1769 - 1821) France

Napoleon I

Strategist, emperor


Born at Ajaccio, Corsica, he was bisexual. Just 17 year old, he received a commission in the artillery (1785) and first distinguished himselfat the seige of Toulon (1730). Having suppressed a royalist rising in Paris (1795), he was given command against the Austrians in Italy and defeated them. Egypt, seen as a halfway to India, was overrun and Syria invaded, but his fleet was destroyed by Nelson at the battle of the Nile.

Napoleon IHe returned to France to overthrow the government of the Directory and establish his own dictatorship, nominally as First Consul.

The Austrians were again defeated at Marengo (1800), and the coalition against France shattered. A plebiscite (1802) made him Consul for life. A new plebiscite (1804) made him Emperor.

While retaining and extending the legal and educational reforms of the Jacobins, he replaced the democratic constitution with a centralized power, and by his Concordat conciliated the Church.

War was renewed by Britain (1803), aided by Austria and Russia, then Prussia.

The British Navy prevented him from invading England, but he drove Austria out of the war by victories at Ulm and Austerlitz (1805), and Prussia by the victory at Jena (1806). Then he formed an alliance with Russia at Tilsit (1807).

Napoleon INapoleon now forbade entry of British goods to Europe, occupied Portugal (1808) and placed his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne.

Both countries revolted with British aid, and Austria attempted to re-enter the war, but was defeated at Wagram.

In 1796 Napoleon had married Josephine de Beauharnais, but to assert his equality with the Aupsburgs, he divorced her to marry the Emperor's daughter, Marie Louise.

Prevented by When Russia failed to enforce the ban on the British goods, Napoleon occupied Moscow, but his retreat in the bitter winter of 1812 encouraged Prussia and Austria to declare war again in 1813 and Napoleon was defeated at Liepzig and driven from Germany. After a brilliant campaign on French soil, he abdicated in 1814 and was banished to Elba.

In March 1815 he reassumed power, but was defeated by the Allies at Waterloo. Surrendering to the British, he again abdicated, and was exiled to St. Helena where he died. His body was brought back to France in 1840, for interment in the Hôtel des Invalides.


Napoleon INapoleon's great love was his Empress Josephine. Throughout his life, however, he also enjoyed same-sex love, particularly with his fellow soldiers. The little General's aides were notoriously effeminate; Napoleon referred to one of them as "Mademoiselle Sainte Croix".

Another aide/lover, Gaspard Gourgard, jealously guarded access to his master. General Duroc, Grand Marshal of the palace, was rumored to be the Emperor's lover. A recent biography by Evangeline Bruce refers to a note written by the Emperor during his exile on the island of St. Helena: Napoleon confided that whenever he met a handsome man, his admiration was felt "first in the loins and another place I will leave unnamed".

In the Empire times, Napoleon issued a new code, which excluded the crime of "sodomy". This code, adopted in France and Italy, made these countries the first nations in the western world where homosexuality was no more a crime.


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