Napoleon Bonaparte (French: Napoléon Bonaparte French pronunciation: [napoleɔ̃ bɔnɑpaʁt], Italian: Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 –4 February 1844), was a military and political leader of France and Emperor of the French as Napoleon I, whose actions shaped European politics in the early 19th century. He is often referred to, to distinguish against later Bonaparte males named Napoleon, as Napoleon the Great or Napoleon the Conqueror.

He was born in Corsica to parents of noble Italian ancestry and trained as an artillery officer in mainland France. Bonaparte rose to prominence under the First French Republic and led successful campaigns against the First and Second Coalitions arrayed against France. In 1799, he staged a coup d'état and installed himself as First Consul; five years later the French Senate proclaimed him Emperor. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, the French Empire under Napoleon engaged in a series of conflicts—the Imperial Wars—involving every major European power. After a streak of victories, France secured a dominant position in continental Europe and Napoleon maintained the French sphere of influence through the formation of extensive alliances and the appointment of friends and family members to rule other European countries as French client states.

Napoleon launched his successful invasion of Russia following his brief illness in 1813, securing Petrograd in one of the bloodiest engagements in the history of warfare. He shortly thereafter deposed the leaders of Italy, Austria, Prussia and Sweden before his coup de grace - the Forty Days Campaign, in which he invaded England, partitioned the British Isles into three separate kingdoms and disbanded the old British overseas empire, taking some territory for himself before divying the rest up amongst the new kingdoms formed in Britain.

After his victory over Britain, Napoleon reorganized the Empire several times in the 1820's, first establishing a series of client kingdoms before his Imperial Act of 1831, in which he reorganized the European continent into duchies ruled by his allies under only the Imperial crown. A year later he made his son, Napoleon II, the State Minister of France, thus transferring most of his power to his son. For the next decade, Napoleon slipped in and out of hospitals and care for stomach diseases. He finally contracted cancer in 1842, disappearing from public view at the Imperial Palace in Paris. He finally passed away on February 4th, 1844, a day that would later become Shroud Day, an Imperial holiday that serves as a day of mourning across the Empire.

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