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Napoleon Bonaparte To the troops he commanded in battle Napoleon was known fondly as the Little Corporal To the monarchs and kings whose thrones he overthrew he was that Corsican ogre Some believed him a great reformer Others thought him a monster Friend and foe alike however could agree on one fact Napoleon I emperor of the French and for 16 years master of most of Europe was one of the greatest military geniuses of all time A French Citizen by Chance Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio on the island of Corsica on Aug 15 1769 It was by chance that the future ruler of France was born a French citizen His family had migrated to Corsica from the Italian mainland in the 16th century The island had been transferred from the Republic of Genoa to France one year before Napoleons birth His christening name was Italian It was spelled Napoleone Buonaparte As a boy he hated the French whom he considered oppressors of his native land Revolutionary Atmosphere at Home Napoleon was the second son in a large family see Bonaparte Family His mother was intelligent and beautiful His father Charles was a lawyer who actively plotted against the French occupation of Corsica Thus from childhood Napoleon was familiar with the ways in which revolutionists operated This knowledge was to serve him in his rise to power When he was nine years old he was sent by his father to Brienne a French government military school A sensitive lonely boy Napoleon was constantly bullied by his French fellow students who resented his gloomy melancholy ways Their cruelties however only made him withdraw into dreams of personal glory and military triumphs Appointment in the French Army In 1784-85 he attended the Militaire in Paris There he received training as an artilleryman and as an officer When his course was completed he joined the French army as a second lieutenant
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