Ask the proverbial man-on-the-street to name famous Frenchmen, and Napoleon Bonaparte will likely be at the top of the list. Indeed, Napoleon is in that rarefied group of individuals who are known simply by their first name. He even has a psychological malady named after him (the Napoleon complex refers to overly feisty short-stature people). A Napoleon also can mean a pastry, a gold coin and a jacket pocket (a Napoleon is a zippered side pocket on a jacket. Putting one’s hand in it emulates Napoleon’s most well known pose.).
Napoleon Bonaparte was born Napoleone di Buonaparte in Corsica, the second of eight children of noble Genoese parents. At age ten he was enrolled in a military academy at Brienne-le-Chateau east of city and at age fifteen was admitted to the elite Ecole Militaire in city. He turned out to be a brilliant military tactician and rapidly rose to prominence, staging a coup d’etat in 1799 that eventually led him to become emperor of France. During the next decade, he waged wars throughout Europe (the Napoleonic Wars). His thirst for power was virtually unquenchable and was his undoing. His invasion of Russia late in 1812 resulted in essentially a non-victory and he was forced to withdraw his troops. His army weakened, he suffered a series of setbacks that culminated with the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815.
Napoleon was exiled to Saint Helena, a small British island in the South Atlantic Ocean later in 1815, dying there on May 5, 1821. The official cause of his death was stomach cancer, but as with many powerful people there has been much speculation about the real cause of his death. The most common theory run up the flagpole is slow poisoning with arsenic. Napoleon’s will instructed that he be buried on the banks of the Seine, but Saint Helena’s British governor, Hudson Lowe, would have nothing of it and had him buried in a nameless tomb in the Valley of the Willows on Saint Helena. There was a disagreement whether the inscription should be his Imperial title, Napoleon or his more common name, Napoleon Bonaparte.
But, twenty years later, in 1840, after the political winds had changed, Napoleon’s remains were disinterred and brought back to France. Architect Louis Tullius Joachim Visconti’s design was chosen for a crypt to be constructed beneath the dome of les Invalides. The sarcophagus, designed by M. de Montferrand and modeled on the ancient Roman sarcophagus of Scipio that resides in the Vatican, was placed at the center of the crypt. The sarcophagus was a gift from Russian Tsar Nicolas I. The 36-foot-diameter crypt is ringed by statues and contains two bas-reliefs of the Prince de Joinville, who helped negotiate the return of Napoleon’s remains to France. In one bas-relief, he is observing the exhumation of Napoleon’s coffin in Saint Helena, and in the other, he is entrusting Napoleon’s coffin to Louis-Philippe. The floor of the crypt contains mosaic pavement inscribed with Napoleon’s greatest battles.
Napoleon’s body spent the first twenty years after his return to France in the Saint Jerome chapel as work on the crypt progressed. The sarcophagus is carved from aventurine quartzite, from what is now Finland by order of Nicolas I. The sixteen-foot-high sarcophagus stands on a base of green granite quarried from the Vosges Mountains in eastern France. The only decorations on the sarcophagus are four engaged wreath handles and large volutes at the ends of the lid. On April 2, 1861, Napoleon’s remains were placed inside the sarcophagus. Curiously, Napoleon rests inside six coffins placed inside each other, reminiscent of Russian nesting dolls. The first coffin is tin plate, the next mahogany, two are of lead, one of ebony and, finally, one of oak. The whole pedestal and sarcophagus assembly is 14-1/2 feet high, 13 feet long, and 6-1/2 feet wide, and weighs sixty-seven tons.
The Triangle Trade provides a simplified explanation not only of the transatlantic slave trade but also of the economic interaction between Europe, Africa, and the Countrys. Irving Map Tourist Attractions The problem with the system for the Country colonists was that its design and regulation ensured that most of profits flowed back to Europe, as when the Countrys traded inexpensive raw materials for expensive finished goods. While the Atlantic economy was not as simple as a triangle actually, it was made up of numerous interconnected triangles the Triangle Trade concept summarizes the primary pattern of seagoing commerce at the time. Ty M. Reese See also: East India Company; Royal African Company; Slave Trade; Trade; Transportation, Water. Bibliography Hancock, David. Citizens of the World: London Merchants and the Integration of the British Atlantic Community, 17351785. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.