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Napoleon Bonaparte Corsica is a rugged island in the Mediterranean which lies sixty miles off the coast of Italy The Corsicans are proud and independent people In 1768 when the French took over the island from Genoa an Italian state the Corsicans rebelled and fought for their freedom But they were unsuccessful Their leader Pasquale Paoli was driven into exile Several months later on August 15 1769 Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio a major port on the island He was the second-born son of the family His real name was Napoleone Buonaparte but as a young man he decided to give his name a French spelling He did this because he had his mind set on a military career in France and he didnt want his Italian-sounding name to stop his progress In 1796 he changed it permanently to Napoleon Bonaparte When Napoleon was nine his father decided he should go to school in France to get an education befitting their birth But he didnt have the money to pay for his schooling He petitioned the king Louis XIV for a scholarship for Napoleon The king had set up a special fund for the sons of French nobles granting them money to attend military school Now that Corsica belonged to France the Bonapartes were French citizens and were eligible for this scholarship Napoleon was excited about his future Still he was apprehensive He had never left the island before and he didnt know how to speak French So before he could further his training he would have to learn the language To do this his parents were sending him first to a school in Autun in southern France There the
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