Napolean Bonaparte became the Emperor of France this date in 1804. He was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars.
From being an artillery officer in 1789, Bonaparte rose through the ranks and became a general at age twenty-four. At twenty-six, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and their Italian allies—winning virtually every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year and became a national hero. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power. He engineered a coup in November 1799, became First Consul of the Republic and then first Emperor of the French in 1804, which led to the elimination of the thousand-year-old Holy Roman Empire. He built a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its collapse in 1815.
One of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon’s political and cultural legacy has ensured his status as one of the most celebrated leaders in history. Napoleon had an extensive and powerful influence on the modern world, bringing liberal reforms to the numerous territories he conquered and controlled. He implemented fundamental liberal policies in France and throughout Western Europe.
His legal achievement, the Napoleonic Code, has influenced the legal systems of more than seventy nations. The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious tolerance, modern secular education, sound finances, etc.—were championed, consolidated, codified and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the Roman Empire. (from Wikipedia)