Muiden Castle is a castle in the Netherlands, located at the mouth of the Vecht river, some 15 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam, in Muiden, where it flows into what used to be the Zuiderzee. It is one of the better known castles in the Netherlands and featured in many television shows set in the Middle Ages; the history of Muiden Castle begins with Count Floris V who built a stone castle at the mouth of the river in 1280, when he gained command over an area that used to be part of the Sea of Utrecht. The Vecht river was the trade route to Utrecht, one of the most important trade towns of that age; the castle was used to enforce a toll on the traders. It is a small castle, measuring 32 by 35 metres with brick walls well over 1.5 metres thick. A large moat surrounded the castle. In 1296, Gerard van Velsen conspired together with Herman van Woerden, Gijsbrecht IV of Amstel, several others to kidnap Floris V; the count was imprisoned in Muiden Castle. After Floris V attempted to escape, Gerard killed the count on the 27th of June 1296 by stabbing him 20 times.
The alleged cause of the conflict between the nobles was the rape of Gerard van Velsen's wife by Floris. In 1297, the castle was conquered by Willem van Mechelen, the Archbishop of Utrecht, by the year 1300 the castle was demolished. A hundred years the castle was rebuilt on the same spot based on the same plan, by Albert I, Duke of Bavaria, who at that time was the Count of Holland and Zeeland; the next owner of the castle shows up in the 16th century, when P. C. Hooft, an author and historian took over sheriff and bailiff duties for the area. For 39 years he spent his summers in the castle and invited friends, scholars and painters such as Vondel, Huygens and Maria Tesselschade Visscher, over for visits; this group became known as the Muiderkring. He extended the garden and the plum orchard, while at the same time an outer earthworks defense system was put into place. At the end of the 18th century, the castle was first used as a prison abandoned and became derelict. Further neglect caused it to be offered for sale with the purpose of it being demolished.
Only intervention by King William I prevented this. Another 70 years went by. Muiden Castle is a national museum; the inside of the castle, its rooms and kitchens, was restored to look like they did in the 17th century and several of the rooms now house a collection of arms and armour. List of castles in the Netherlands Kransber, D. & H. Mils, Kastelengids van Nederland, Bussem 1979 Kalkwiek, K. A. A. I. J. M. Schellart, H. P. H. Jansen & P. W. Geudeke, Atlas van de Nederlandse kastelen, Alphen aan den Rijn 1980 Helsdingen, H. W. van, Gids voor de Nederlandse kastelen en buitenplaatsen, Amsterdam 1966 Tromp, H. M. J. Kijk op kastelen, Amsterdam 1979 Muiden Castle official website Muiden Castle pictures Aerial photo
German bombing of Rotterdam
The German bombing of Rotterdam known as the Rotterdam Blitz, was the aerial bombardment of Rotterdam by the Luftwaffe on 14 May 1940, during the German invasion of the Netherlands in World War II. The objective was to support the German troops fighting in the city, break Dutch resistance and force the Dutch to surrender. Though preceding negotiations resulted in a ceasefire, the bombardment took place nonetheless, in conditions which remain controversial, destroyed the entire historic city centre, killing nearly 900 people and making 85,000 others homeless; the psychological and physical success of the raid, from the German perspective, led the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe to threaten to destroy the city of Utrecht if the Dutch Government did not surrender. The Dutch capitulated early the next morning; the Netherlands during the Second World War was strategically lodged between Great Britain and Germany, making it an ideal prospective German air and naval "base" during Operation Sea Lion, the planned invasion of the British Isles, to follow the forthcoming aerial Battle of Britain.
The Netherlands had opted for neutrality throughout the First World War and had planned to do the same for the Second World War. It most notably refused armaments from France, making the case that they wanted no association with either side. While armament production was increased after the invasion of Denmark in April 1940, the Netherlands possessed 35 modern wheeled armoured fighting vehicles, no tracked armoured fighting vehicles, 135 aircraft and 280,000 soldiers, while Germany had 159 tanks, 1,200 modern aircraft, around 150,000 soldiers at their disposal for the Dutch theatre alone. With a significant military advantage, the German leadership intended to expedite the conquest of the country by first taking control of key military and strategic targets, such as airfields and roads and using these to take over control of the remainder of the country. An invasion of the Netherlands was first made reference to on 9 October 1939, when Hitler ordered that "Preparations should be made for offensive action on the northern flank of the Western Front crossing the area of Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
This attack was to be carried out as soon and as forcefully as possible, as Hitler himself commanded. Preparation was started when Hitler ordered German army officers to capture Dutch army uniforms and use them to gain inside information on Dutch defence tactics; the Wehrmacht attacked the Netherlands in the early hours of 10 May 1940. The attack started with the Luftwaffe crossing through Dutch airspace, giving the impression that Britain was the ultimate target. Instead, the aircraft turned around over the North Sea and returned to attack from the west, dropping paratroopers at Valkenburg and Ockenburg airfields, near the Dutch seat of government and the Royal Palace in The Hague, starting the Battle for the Hague. While Germany had planned to take over swiftly using this tactic, the Dutch halted the advance at the core region of Fortress Holland, slowing down the German invasion; the situation in Rotterdam on the morning of 13 May 1940 was a stalemate as it had been over the previous three days.
Dutch garrison forces under Colonel Scharroo held the north bank of the Nieuwe Maas river, which runs through the city and prevented the Germans from crossing. A Dutch counterattack led by a Dutch marine company had failed to recapture the Willemsbrug traffic bridge, the key crossing. Several efforts by the Dutch Army Aviation Brigade to destroy the bridge failed. On the Morning of 14 May, Hitler issued his "Weisung" Nr. 11. Concerning the Dutch theatre of operations he says the following: The resistance capability of the Dutch army has proved to be stronger than expected. Political as well as military reasons demand, it is the task of the army to capture the Fortress Holland by committing enough forces from the south, combined with an attack on the east front. In addition to that the air force must, while weakening the forces that up till now have supported the 6th Army, facilitate the rapid fall of the Fortress Holland. General Schmidt had planned a combined assault the next day, 14 May, using tanks of the 9th Panzer supported by flame throwers, SS troops and combat engineers.
The airlanding troops were to make an amphibious crossing of the river upstream and a flank attack through the Kralingen district. The attack was to be preceded by artillery bombardment, while Gen. Schmidt had requested the support of the Luftwaffe in the form of a Gruppe of Junkers Ju 87 dive-bombers for a precision raid. Schmidt's request for air support reached Berlin, staff of Luftflotte 2. Instead of precision bombers, Schmidt got carpet bombing by Heinkel He 111 bombers besides a Gruppe of Stukas focussing on some strategic targets. Schmidt used the threat of destruction of the city to attempt to force Colonel Scharroo to surrender the city. Rotterdam, the largest industrial target in the Netherlands and of major strategic importance to the Germans, was to be bombed. Scharroo stretched out negotiations; the start of the air raid had been set for 13:20. Schmidt postponed a second ultimatum to 16:20. However, just as the Dutch negotiator was crossing the Willemsbrug to relay this information, the drone of bombers was heard: a total of 90 bombers from Kampfgeschwader 54 were sent over the city.
Student radioed to postpone the planned attack. When the message reached KG 54's command post, the Kommodore, Oberst Walte
Utrecht University is a university in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Established 26 March 1636, it is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. In 2016, it had an enrolment of 29,425 students, employed 5,568 faculty and staff. In 2011, 485 PhD degrees were awarded and 7,773 scientific articles were published; the 2013 budget of the university was €765 million. The university is rated as the best university in the Netherlands by the Shanghai Ranking of World Universities 2013, ranked as the 13th best university in Europe and the 52nd best university of the world; the university's motto is "Sol Iustitiae Illustra Nos," which means "Sun of Justice, shine upon us." This motto was gleaned from a literal Latin Bible translation of Malachi 4:2. Utrecht University is led by the University Board, consisting of prof. dr. Henk Kummeling and Hans Amman; this section incorporates text translated from the Dutch Wikipedia articleUtrecht University was founded on 26 March 1636. The influential professor of theology Gisbertus Voetius delivered the inaugural speech, Bernardus Schotanus became the university's first rector magnificus.
Anna Maria van Schurman, who became the university's first female student, was invited to write a Latin poem for the inauguration. Only a few dozen students attended classes at the university. Seven professors worked in four faculties: philosophy, which offered all students an introductory education, three higher-level faculties. Utrecht University flourished in the seventeenth century, despite competition with the older universities of Leiden and Groningen and the schools of Harderwijk and Amsterdam. Leiden, in particular, made further improvement necessary. A botanical garden was built on the grounds of the present Sonnenborgh Observatory, three years the Smeetoren added an astronomical observatory; the university attracted many students from abroad. They witnessed the intellectual and theological battle the proponents of the new philosophy fought with the proponents of the strict Reformed theologian Voetius. In 1806 the French occupying authorities of the Netherlands downgraded Utrecht University to an école secondaire, but after the establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1813 it regained its former status.
Leiden, Groningen and Ghent were the five universities of the new state, Leiden received the title of eerste hoge school. Two of the universities became part of the new Belgian state after it separated from the northern Netherlands in 1830; this left Utrecht one of only three Dutch universities. Utrecht played a prominent role in the golden age of Dutch science. Around 1850 the "Utrechtian School" of science formed, with Pieter Harting, Gerardus J. Mulder, Christophorus H. D. Buys Ballot and Franciscus Donders among the leading scientists, they introduced the educational laboratory as a practical learning place for their students. The University is represented in the Stichting Academisch Erfgoed, a foundation with the goal of preserving university collections; the university consists of seven faculties: Faculty of Humanities Department of History and Art History Department of Languages and Communication Department of Media and Culture Studies Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences Department of Education and Pedagogy Department of Social Sciences Department of Psychology Faculty of Law and GovernanceUtrecht University School of Economics Utrecht University School of Law Utrecht University School of Governance Faculty of Geosciences Department of Earth Sciences Department of Physical Geography Department of Innovation and Energy Sciences Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning Faculty of Medicine Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Faculty of Science Department of Biology Department of Chemistry Department of Information and Computing Sciences Department of Mathematics Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Department of Physics and AstronomyThere are three interfaculty units: University College Utrecht University College Roosevelt COLUU Centre for Education and LearningThe two large faculties of Humanities and Law & Governance are situated in the inner city of Utrecht.
The other five faculties and most of the administrative services are located in Utrecht Science Park De Uithof, a campus area on the outskirts of the city. University College Utrecht, along with the Utrecht School of Economics, are situated in the former Kromhout Kazerne, which used to be a Dutch military base. University College Roosevelt is located off-campus in the city of Middelburg in the south-west of the Netherlands. Utrecht University counts a number of distinguished scholars among its alumni and faculty, including 12 Nobel Prize laureates and 13 Spinoza Prize laureates. On the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities list, the University of Utrecht was ranked 56th in the world and the highest in the Netherlands, its ranking has declined since 2003, when it was ranked 40th. In the 2015/2016 QS World University Rankings, Utrecht was ranked 94th, having improved its ranking since 2004 when it was ranked 120th. In The Times Higher Education 2014–15 World University Rankings, the university is ranked 79th.
List of early mode
Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange
Frederick Henry, or Frederik Hendrik in Dutch, was the sovereign Prince of Orange and stadtholder of Holland, Utrecht and Overijssel from 1625 to 1647. He was the grandfather of William III of England; as the leading soldier in the Dutch wars against Spain, his main achievement was the successful Siege of's-Hertogenbosch in 1629. It was the main Spanish base and a well-fortified city protected by an experienced Spanish garrison and by formidable water defenses, his strategy was the successful neutralization of the threat of inundation of the area around's-Hertogenbosch and his capture of the Spanish storehouse at Wesel. Frederick Henry was born on 29 January 1584 in Delft, Dutch Republic, he was the youngest child of Louise de Coligny. His father William was stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Friesland, his mother Louise was daughter of the Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny, was the fourth wife of his father. He was thus the half brother of his predecessor Maurice of Orange, deceased in 1625.
Frederick Henry was born six months before his father's assassination on 10 July 1584. The boy was trained to arms by one of the finest generals of his age. After Maurice threatened to legimitize his illegitimate children if he did not marry, Frederick Henry married Amalia of Solms-Braunfels in 1625, his illegitimate son by Margaretha Catharina Bruyns, Frederick Nassau de Zuylestein was born in 1624 before his marriage. This son became the governor of the young William III of England for seven years. On the death of Maurice in 1625 without legitimate issue, Frederick Henry succeeded him in his paternal dignities and estates, in the stadtholderates of the five provinces of Holland, Utrecht and Guelders, in the important posts of captain and admiral-general of the Union. Frederick Henry proved himself as good a general as his brother, a far more capable statesman and politician. For twenty-two years he remained at the head of government in the United Provinces, in his time the power of the stadtholderate reached its highest point.
The "Period of Frederick Henry," as it is styled by Dutch writers, is accounted the golden age of the republic. It was marked by great military and naval triumphs, by worldwide maritime and commercial expansion, by a wonderful outburst of activity in the domains of art and literature; the chief military exploits of Frederick Henry were the sieges and captures of Grol in 1627,'s-Hertogenbosch in 1629, of Maastricht in 1632, of Breda in 1637, of Sas van Gent in 1644, of Hulst in 1645. During the greater part of his administration the alliance with France against Spain had been the pivot of Frederick Henry's foreign policy, but in his last years he sacrificed the French alliance for the sake of concluding a separate peace with Spain, by which the United Provinces obtained from that power all the advantages they had been seeking for eighty years. Frederick Henry built the country houses Huis Honselaarsdijk, Huis ter Nieuwburg, for his wife Huis ten Bosch, he renovated the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague.
Huis Honselaarsdijk and Huis ter Nieuwburg are now demolished. Frederick Henry died on 14 March 1647 in The Hague, Dutch Republic, he left his wife Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, his son William II, Prince of Orange, four of his daughters, his illegitimate son Frederick Nassau de Zuylestein. On Frederick Henry's death, he was buried with great pomp beside his brother at Delft; the treaty of Munster, ending the long struggle between the Dutch and the Spaniards, was not signed until 30 January 1648, the illness and death of the stadtholder having caused a delay in the negotiations. Frederick Henry left an account of his campaigns in his Mémoires de Frédéric Henri. See Cambridge Mod. Hist. vol. iv. chap. 24. His widow commissioned an elaborate mausoleum in the Oranjezaal, a panoramic painted ballroom with scenes from his life and allegories of good government based on his achievements. Frederick Henry and his wife Amalia of Solms-Braunfels had nine children, being seven daughters and two sons. Four of their children, including one son, died in childhood, leaving Frederick Henry with only a single son as heir.
After the death of Frederick Henry's only male-line grandson, the stadtholdership was to pass to a distant agnatic cousin, married to Frederick Henry's daughter Albertine Agnes. Frederick Henry's children were: William II, Prince of Orange Luise Henriette of Nassau Henriëtte Amalia of Nassau Elisabeth of Nassau Isabella Charlotte of Nassau Albertine Agnes of Nassau Henriette Catherine of Nassau Hendrik Lodewijk of Nassau Maria of Nassau Frederick Henry recognized one illegitimate child by Margaretha Catharina Bruyns: Frederick Nassau, lord of Zuylestein Frederick Henry, besides being Stadholder of several provinces and Captain-General, both non-hereditary and appointive titles: Stadtholder of Holland, Utrecht and Overijssel, he was the lord of many other estates, which formed his wealth: Marquis of Veere and Vlissingen.
Rotterdam is the second-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands. It is located in the province of South Holland, at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas channel leading into the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta at the North Sea, its history goes back to 1270, when a dam was constructed in the Rotte, after which people settled around it for safety. In 1340, Rotterdam was granted city rights by the Count of Holland. A major logistic and economic centre, Rotterdam is Europe's largest port, it has a population of 633,471. Rotterdam is known for its Erasmus University, its riverside setting, lively cultural life and maritime heritage; the near-complete destruction of the city centre in the World War II Rotterdam Blitz has resulted in a varied architectural landscape, including sky-scrapers designed by renowned architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Piet Blom and Ben van Berkel. The Rhine and Scheldt give waterway access into the heart of Western Europe, including the industrialized Ruhr; the extensive distribution system including rail and waterways have earned Rotterdam the nicknames "Gateway to Europe" and "Gateway to the World".
The settlement at the lower end of the fen stream Rotte dates from at least 900 CE. Around 1150, large floods in the area ended development, leading to the construction of protective dikes and dams, including Schielands Hoge Zeedijk along the northern banks of the present-day Nieuwe Maas. A dam on the Rotte was located at the present-day Hoogstraat. On 7 July 1340, Count Willem IV of Holland granted city rights to Rotterdam, whose population was only a few thousand. Around the year 1350, a shipping canal, the Rotterdamse Schie was completed, which provided Rotterdam access to the larger towns in the north, allowing it to become a local trans-shipment centre between the Netherlands and Germany, to urbanize; the port of Rotterdam grew but into a port of importance, becoming the seat of one of the six "chambers" of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company. The greatest spurt of growth, both in port activity and population, followed the completion of the Nieuwe Waterweg in 1872.
The city and harbor started to expand on the south bank of the river. The Witte Huis or White House skyscraper, inspired by American office buildings and built in 1898 in the French Château-style, is evidence of Rotterdam's rapid growth and success; when completed, it was the tallest office building in Europe, with a height of 45 m. During World War I the city was the world's largest spy centre because of Dutch neutrality and its strategic location in between Great-Britain and German-occupied Belgium. Many spies who were arrested and executed in Britain were led by German secret agents operating from Rotterdam. MI6 had its main European office on de Boompjes. From there the British occupied Belgium. During World War I, an average of 25,000 Belgian refugees lived in the city, as well as hundreds of German deserters and escaped Allied prisoners of war. During World War II, the German army invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. Adolf Hitler had hoped to conquer the country in just one day, but his forces met unexpectedly fierce resistance.
The Dutch army was forced to capitulate on 15 May 1940, following the bombing of Rotterdam on 14 May and the threat of bombing of other Dutch cities. The heart of Rotterdam was completely destroyed by the Luftwaffe; some 80,000 civilians were made homeless and 900 were killed. The City Hall survived the bombing. Ossip Zadkine attempted to capture the event with his statue De Verwoeste Stad; the statue stands near the Leuvehaven, not far from the Erasmusbrug in the centre of the city, on the north shore of the river Nieuwe Maas. Rotterdam was rebuilt from the 1950s through to the 1970s, it remained quite windy and open until the city councils from the 1980s on began developing an active architectural policy. Daring and new styles of apartments, office buildings and recreation facilities resulted in a more'livable' city centre with a new skyline. In the 1990s, the Kop van Zuid was built on the south bank of the river as a new business centre. Rotterdam was voted 2015 European City of the Year by the Academy of Urbanism.
A Guardian profile of Rem Koolhaas begins "If you put the last 50 years of architecture in a blender, spat it out in building-sized chunks across the skyline, you would end up with something that looked a bit like Rotterdam."'Rotterdam' is divided into a northern and a southern part by the river Nieuwe Maas, connected by: the Beneluxtunnel. The former railway lift bridge De Hef is preserved as a monument in lifted position between the Noordereiland and the south of Rotterdam; the city centre is located on the northern bank of the Nieuwe Maas, although recent urban development has extended the centre to parts of southern Rotterdam known as De Kop van Zuid. From its inland core, Rotterdam reaches the North Sea by a swathe of predominantly harbour area. Built behind di
A land mine is an explosive device concealed under or on the ground and designed to destroy or disable enemy targets, ranging from combatants to vehicles and tanks, as they pass over or near it. Such a device is detonated automatically by way of pressure when a target steps on it or drives over it, although other detonation mechanisms are sometimes used. A land mine may cause damage by direct blast effect, by fragments that are thrown by the blast, or by both; the name originates from the ancient practice of military mining, where tunnels were dug under enemy fortifications or troop formations. These killing tunnels were at first collapsed to destroy targets located above, but they were filled with explosives and detonated in order to cause greater devastation. Nowadays, in common parlance, "land mine" refers to devices manufactured as anti-personnel or anti-vehicle weapons. Though some types of improvised explosive devices are mistakenly classified as land mines, the term land mine is reserved for manufactured devices designed to be used by recognized military services, whereas IED is used for makeshift "devices placed or fabricated in an improvised manner incorporating explosive material, lethal, incendiary, pyrotechnic materials or chemicals designed to destroy, distract or harass.
They may incorporate military stores, but are devised from non-military components". The use of land mines is controversial because of their potential as indiscriminate weapons, they can remain dangerous many years after a conflict has ended, harming the economy. 78 countries are contaminated with land mines and 15,000–20,000 people are killed every year while countless more are maimed. 80% of land mine casualties are civilian, with children as the most affected age group. Most killings occur in times of peace. With pressure from a number of campaign groups organised through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a global movement to prohibit their use led to the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction known as the Ottawa Treaty. To date, 164 nations have signed the treaty. Land mines were designed for two main uses: To create defensive tactical barriers, channelling attacking forces into predetermined fire zones or slowing an invading force's progress to allow reinforcements to arrive.
To act as passive area-denial weapons. Land mines are used in large quantities for this first purpose, thus their widespread use in the demilitarized zones of flashpoints such as Cyprus and Korea; as of 2013, the only governments that still laid land mines were Myanmar in its internal conflict, Syria in its civil war. Land mines continue to kill or injure at least 4,300 people every year decades after the ends of the conflicts for which they were placed. Jiao Yu in the preface to his Huolongjing Quanzhi, written in 1412 AD, claimed that in the third century, the chancellor Zhuge Liang of the Shu Han state had used not only "fire weapons" but land mines in the Battle of Hulugu Valley against the forces of Sima Yi and his son Sima Zhao of the rival Cao Wei state; this claim is dubious, as gunpowder warfare did not develop in China until the advent of the flamethrower in the 10th century, while the land mine was not seen in China until the late 13th century. Explosive land mines were used in 1277 by the Chinese during the Song dynasty against an assault of the Mongols, who were besieging a city in southern China.
The invention of this detonated "enormous bomb" was credited to one Lou Qianxia of the 13th century. The famous 14th-century Chinese text of the Huolongjing, the first to describe hollow cast iron cannonball shells filled with gunpowder, was the first to describe the invention of the land mine in greater detail than references found in texts written beforehand; this mid 14th century work compiled during the late Yuan dynasty and early Ming dynasty stated that mines were made of cast iron and were spherical in shape, filled with either "magic gunpowder", "poison gunpowder", or "blinding and burning gunpowder", any one of these compositions being suitable for use. The wad of the mine was made of hard wood, carrying three different fuses in case of defective connection to the touch hole. In those days, the Chinese relied upon command signals and timed calculation of enemy movements into the minefield, since a long fuse had to be ignited by hand from the ambushers in a somewhat far-off location lying in wait.
The Huolongjing describes land mines that were set off by enemy movement, called the'ground-thunder explosive camp', one of the'self-trespassing' types, as the text says: These mines are installed at frontier gates and passes. Pieces of bamboo are sawn into sections nine feet in length, all septa in the bamboo being removed, save only the last. Boiling oil is next left there for some time before being removed; the fuse starts from the bottom, is compressed into it to form an explosive mine. The gunpowder fills up eight-tenths of the tube, while lead or iron pellets take up the rest of the space. A trench five feet in depth is dug; the fuse is connected to a firing device. The Huolongjing describes the trigger device used for this as a "steel wheel", which directed sparks
Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars, he won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history, he was born in Corsica to a modest family of Italian origin from minor nobility. He was serving as an artillery officer in the French army when the French Revolution erupted in 1789.
He rose through the ranks of the military, seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution and becoming a general at age 24. The French Directory gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents. At age 26, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and the Italian monarchs aligned with the Habsburgs—winning every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year while establishing "sister republics" with local support, becoming a war hero in France. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt, he became First Consul of the Republic. Napoleon's ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, he became the first Emperor of the French in 1804. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the Ulm Campaign and a historic triumph over the Russian Empire and Austrian Empire at the Battle of Austerlitz which led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt marched his Grande Armée deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high-water mark of the French Empire. In 1809, the Austrians and the British challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram in July. Napoleon invaded the Iberian Peninsula, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, declared his brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Spain in 1808; the Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, ended in victory for the Allies against Napoleon.
The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states Russia. The Russians were unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade and violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon into another war; the French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The campaign did not yield the decisive victory Napoleon wanted, it resulted in the collapse of the Grande Armée and inspired a renewed push against Napoleon by his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in the War of the Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, but his tactical victory at the minor Battle of Hanau allowed retreat onto French soil; the Allies invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany, the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power.
Napoleon took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition which defeated him at the Battle of Waterloo in June; the British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years at the age of 51. Napoleon's influence on the modern world brought liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, such as the Low Countries and large parts of modern Italy and Germany, he implemented fundamental liberal policies throughout Western Europe. His Napoleonic Code has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world. British historian Andrew Roberts states: "The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, so on—were championed, consolidated 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 fall of the Roman Empire".
The ancestors of Napoleon descended from minor Italian nobility of Tuscan origin who had come to Corsica fr