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Napoleon Bonaparte, born Napoleone di Buonaparte, was a French general who reigned as Emperor of the French between 1804-1814 and again in 1815 under the name Napoleon I. A brilliant military leader and liberal reformer, Napoleon was nevertheless controversial due to his insatiable personal ambition, which many feared was a threat to Europe, and his imperial pretensions, which others considered a betrayal of liberal ideology. He was nevertheless considered to be one of the most capable men of his time, celebrated even by his enemies for his tactical genius and many lasting accomplishments.


Napoleon Bonaparte began his career as an soldier under Revolutionary France, distinguishing himself by a brilliant military career in the Italian and Egyptian campaigns of 1798. In 1799 he returned to France and overthrew its weak government, initially declaring himself First Consul and in 1804 crowning himself Emperor. During the next decade Europe was wracked by warfare as Napoleonic France fought with the conservative powers of Europe - Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Britain.

Although Napoleon's brilliant military strategy initially managed to keep the coalition at bay, securing a favorable peace at Tilsit in 1807, his continued campaign against Britain and habitual overextension would ultimately lead to his downfall, beginning with a grinding guerilla warfare in Spain after his invasion of the Iberian Peninsula and culminating in a disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. With the French army in shambles the Coalition managed to slowly grind down Napoleon's forces, ultimately shattering them at Leipzig in 1813. Facing a protracted war, the government deposed Napoleon and sent him into exile on Elba, restoring the Bourbon King of France.

A year later Napoleon managed to escape the island and return to France, where he quickly gathered a massive following and forced the king to flee. Fearing a resumption of the coalition against him, Napoleon decided to risk everything on a preemptive strike to divide the British and Prussian forces: however, the combined forces were too much for him and the French were driven back at the Battle of Waterloo. With the people of France now turned against him he attempted to flee again, but was captured by the British. They interned him on the remote and windswept island island of Saint Helena off the coast of Africa, where he died only a few years later in 1821. In 1840 Napoleon's remains were returned to Paris, where they were given a state funeral and buried in a place of honor in the Les Invalides Military Hospital.


Napoleon's legacy is mixed. In England many considered him to be a tyrant and a usurper. The Coalition Wars against Napoleon destroyed France's standing and bankrupted the country, as well as leaving millions of Europeans dead.

"The Final Problem"[]

Sherlock Holmes compares Professor James Moriarty's talents to Napoleon's tactical brilliance and ruthlessness when he calls Moriarty "the Napoleon of Crime".

"The Adventure of the Six Napoleons"[]

When Sherlock Holmes is asked to investigate the destruction of busts of the Emperor, the police under Inspector Lestrade assume the crimes to be the work of a Napoleon-hating maniac.

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