The Napoleonic Era, 1799-1815
Napoleon Bonaparte was one of those rare figures who made history rather than being made by history. He shaped events, frequently forcing the world to conform to his expectations; and those expectations were revolutionary in nature. Although Napoleon ultimately failed, he left an indelible mark on the modern world.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769 on Corsica, a rather remote Mediterranean island that France had only recently acquired. As the Bonapartes were minor nobility, Napoleon qualified for admission to a military academy. Commissioned a lieutenant in the royal army, Napoleon managed to keep his head during the turbulent days of the French Revolution. In 1793 he helped to drive the British from the French port of Toulon, and in 1795 he gained some fame when he broke up a Paris demonstration with "a whiff of grapeshot." Eventually, Napoleon emerged as a general under the Directory, a weak and corrupt French government formed in 1795.
In 1797 Napoleon took command of France's Army of Italy. He scored several significant military successes in northern Italy and in October imposed the Treaty of Campo Formio on Austria. In the course of his