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Video transcript
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