Hundred Days and Waterloo Napoleon's escapes from Elba and retakes control only to be defeated at Waterloo
Hundred Days and Waterloo
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- So let's review how we got to where we are right now.
- In 1789 you have the Revolution in France.
- This makes the French very proud, a lot of nationalistic pride.
- It also makes the rest of Europe a little worried.
- They're all monarchies, they don't like this idea of overthrowing your kings.
- And so during this revolutionary period you have a series of wars with the rest of Europe.
- Revolutionary France does, essentially, the French Revolutionary Wars.
- And during that period Napoleon becomes quite famous as the French
- and maybe the best European military commander.
- So, now Napoleon is starting to become essentialy a hero in France.
- And by 1799 he is able to come to power in a coup d'état
- with a couple of other people and then he outmaneuvers them
- and then by 1804 he becomes the emperor Napoleon
- and in this whole period he is now trying to expand the Empire
- so these were the Revolutionary Wars, and these you can consider right over here
- are the Napoleonic Wars and the pic of the French Empire under Napoleon
- happens in 1812 and the real downfall
- if you ask my opinion and many other people
- would be when he invaded Russia
- that really decimated the French Grand Armée
- and we saw in the last video that by April 1814,
- the 6th coalition was finally succesfull against Napoleon
- and then he was exiled
- to the island of Elba where we're taking up the story
- he only hung out there for a little under 10 months
- he was separated from his family
- so that even though he was put in charge of this litle island
- it wouldn't have been what he wanted
- and he obviously was an ambitious person on top of that
- He caught wind of what was happening in France.
- Louis the 18th was there, the nobility returned
- they weren't treating the old Army veterans well which made him suspect
- that he may be able to retake control somehow
- On top of that the French Empire
- was being shrunken back to its original boundaries
- which made many people in France a lot less proud so Napoleon
- started to sense that maybe he could do something.
- On top of that, he caught wind that people might not
- leave him in Elba because he is Napoleon and they were afraid that he may come back
- so they might banish him to someplace even more remote,
- or there might be some attempts to assassinate him
- So with that in mind, being who he is, and being as creative as he is
- he's able to somehow escape from Elba, he's able to get a boat,
- land on the Southern shores of France. The French
- authorities are able to catch wind of this, they send the military
- to engage with him, this is the French military
- to essentially confront
- capture, kill Napoleon on the Southern shores of France
- and when he sees them, he dismounts from the horse that he's got,
- he walks up to them completely unarmed and he says,
- "go ahead, shoot your emperor"
- which is in my mind a fairly gutsy move to do
- And they rally around him and he's able to actually take control
- of the army that was sent to capture or kill him
- and he starts marching to Paris
- He starts marching to Paris, and Louis the 18th, the brave man that he is
- catches wind of this and escapes
- and so by March of 1815 Napoleon is able to retake control
- of Paris and essentially, France.
- And this is the beginning of what is known as the Hundred Days.
- It actually is about a 111 days, but it doesn't sound that good.
- So between March 1815, and July 1815
- You can imagine, even before Napoleon was able to reach Paris
- word got around about what was going on
- That Napoleon was back, they didn't like it
- They essentially announced that they wouldn't stand by there
- and that were going to form a new coalition to stop him
- So Napoleon had two options once he gets in Paris,
- He could essentially sit and wait
- wait for the combined forces of Europe to reorganize and then attack him.
- Or he could go on the offensive,
- he could attack before they had a chance to fully regroup
- you can imagine, he viewed this as being his best shot
- so he starts going after the combined forces of Great Britain
- and Prussia in what is now Belgium
- And over there is where he engaged in probably some of the most
- decisive battles, the most decisive one was the battle of Waterloo
- which is possibly one of the most famous battles in history
- maybe due to also the Abba song about it
- and that is where he met the Duke of Wellington on the British side,
- and Blücher on the Prussian side
- Napoleon had seventy or eighty thousand troops
- The other side had a hundred and twenty/thirty thousand troops
- A extremely bloody battle, more than forty/fifty thousand people killed,
- injured, missing on and on and on.
- But in the end, Napoleon lost and many historians,
- there's different reasons for why he lost
- he actually did a pretty good job considering the scenario
- the ground because of the weather was very muddy
- and actually was not good for being on the offense
- It was very good conditions for being on the defense
- And you know, Napoleon was essentially trying to take out
- these somewhat remnant armies before the Coalition,
- the 7th Coalition essentially had a chance to fully get back to full force
- But he loses at Waterloo, there are a few skirmishes after that,
- but the French retreat back to Paris
- At this point Napoleon sees the writing on the wall
- He's not completely delusional
- He sees that if they were able to, especially if the Prussians
- are able to get him again, they might not let him live
- They might really do something crazy
- with him, so he surrenders himself to the British
- And then they exile him to the isle of Saint Helena
- which is one of the very remote island which is afraid to be exiled to
- to begin with. An just to give a sense of how remote it is
- This right over here
- is the South West coast of Africa
- This is Africa right over here.
- Saint Helena is right out over here
- Almost in the middle of the Atlantic
- between Africa and South America
- And that's where Napoleon would
- live out the rest of his life
- In a very uncomfortable situation
- much worse than what he had going on in Elba
- Separated from everyone else.
- And then he dies in 1821
- The official cause and this is what many historians
- do believe actually happened
- Is that he died of stomach cancer
- Bu there are many theories that there might
- have been some type of assassination
- Some slow arsenic poisoning
- There was a lot of arsenic in his tissues
- His body was unusually well preserved after his death
- That's one of the things arsenic does
- Some people think that it might have been
- an inadvertent arsenic poisoning
- because of the environment that he was in
- Of the conditions he might have been in,
- of the paint in the walls,
- but either way, he really lived roughly
- throught the last six years
- in pretty unpleasant conditions, and then
- died of stomach cancer.
- And that was essentially the final end of Napoleon
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