Monday, 16 January 2012

History Lesson

Napoleon I is one of the most famous military and political leaders of History. His political achievements are many and they alone have filled whole books, but I shall focus on his military achievements which are no less remarkable, changing the face of Europe forever and bringing in a new era of warfare - that of the nation at arms. Napoleon was a complex man, who at the start of his career was constructive and took France to new heights of power but by the end had brought her years of war and destruction. Worshipped by his followers and seen as an ogre by his enemies his boundless enthusiasm and limitless ambition are hard to resist. His glory as a military commander is paramount but hundreds of thousands died for his ambition which had an appetite that could not be sated even when he had conquered most of Europe and beyond and had proclaimed himself Emperor of a country which had started out as a revolutionary republic.

Napoleon was born on 15th August 1769 at Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. He was the second son (having 7 siblings) of a lawyer who had minor connections to the aristocracy and was far from wealthy. Much like his contemporary Lord Nelson, Napoleon had no advantage of birth, or family wealth and all that he was later to achieve was due to his own ability and a large amount of being in the right place at the right time. His family were radical in outlook and as a young man he strongly identified with his Corsican heritage. Thanks in part to his mother’s adultery with the French military governor Comte de Marbeuf he began his military education at Brienne military academy and later in 1784 at the Military school in Paris. Here he was commissioned as an artillery officer a year later and with his fathers early death in 1785 he worked hard to complete his studies in a further year rather than the required three years. This was the natural choice of service for the young Bonaparte as he was gifted at science and mathematics, which were essential skills for any artillery officer of the time. Also the infantry and especially the cavalry drew their officers from wealthier and better-connected families. The young Napoleon spent much of the next 8 years in Corsica supporting the Corsican rebel Pasquale Paulo who had been a patron of Napoleon's father. When the revolution broke out the Bonaparte family fled to France and Napoleon became opposed to Pasquale. He would quite likely have been condemned to obscurity had not the revolution allowed for those with little wealth or influence to advance quickly. Napoleon's skill at the siege of Toulon while only an artillery captain under General Jacques Dugommier was to start Napoleon on the path of greatness; a rise to power that was to be incredibly rapid. Toulon was a major French naval base but loyalist counter revolutionaries handed it over to an Allied army under the command of Admiral Lord Hood consisting of about 16,000 men, including British, Spanish and Émigré French. The Revolutionary forces numbered about 11,000. The siege lasted between 27th August and 19th December 1793 and came to an end when French government forces under the young Napoleon captured Fort Mulgrave and the promontory of L’Eguillette. This gave the French a commanding position over the inner harbour with their artillery and the Allies withdrew.

Nobirds however give us a laugh!! They say they have over 50 pictures of Napolean but a simple count of their Flog (it doesnt take long) shows that only 23 photos have been posted and in reality only 22 as they have used the same picture twice. We dont blame them for that as im sure we have done that ourselves the odd time but either people are sending them photos and they are not useing them or else they are lyeing to everyone! Take your pick. Where are the missing 28 photographs!

Anyway here are 22 photos of the Bonapartes kindly sent to us by Olga Corbett and im sure they wont be the last Bonapartes Gulls we have on the Blog!