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I am fascinated by many subjects in history, but this subject fascinates me more than most others: The French Revolution!  This was the centerpiece in world history from 1792-1815.

The French Revolution started because the King and Queen of France, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, paid no attention to the common people. France was a big country at this time, but the rich were greatly separated from the poor in society. Antoinette misunderstood the situation, and supposedly said to the commoners the famous phrase “Let Them Eat Cake”, igniting public outrage. The commoners then stormed the symbolic Bastille and led a revolution that toppled the Monarchy. Louis and Antoinette were executed, along with the nobility, and France declared war on virtually every foreign power in Europe: Britain, Austria, Hungary, Sardinia, Prussia, and the Holy Roman Empire (Germany)! France conquered the Low Countries, Holland and Belgium, and conquered Sardinia and Italy. Napoleon Bonaparte was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the French armed Forces, and after conquering Italy, he invaded Egypt. Even though he won the Battle of the Pyramids, in which the Sphinx lost its nose, he lost battles at sea with the superior British navy under Admiral Horatio Nelson, and withdrew to France, where he overthrew the Republic and made himself Consul. The French conquered more territory in Europe until, in 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of France and King of Italy. In 1805, in the Battle of Trafalgar, Nelson was killed but Napoleon was foiled in his attempt to invade Britain. However, he again and again defeated his enemies on land, forcing peace treaty after peace treaty, and the Holy Roman Empire collapsed in 1806.

In 1808, He started the Peninsula War when he invaded Spain and placed his brother on the Throne. Britain launched assaults to retake Spain, but Napoleon was focused with another prize: Russia.

In 1812, he invaded Russia and captured Moscow, but he then realized that the Russians would not give up, and was forced to retreat back to France. By this time, the war was turning decisively in favor of the Allies. Spain was retaken in 1813, and that same year, at the battle of Leipzig, Napoleon was defeated again. All hope was lost by now. The Allies captured Paris in 1814, and Napoleon was exiled. Louis XVIII was now put on the throne, but his reign was short, for in 1815, Napoleon escaped and retook France! The Allies formed a final alliance and defeated Napoleon for the last time at the Battle of Waterloo, ending the long war.

Napoleon’s line wasn’t done yet. His nephew seized the Throne in 1852, becoming Napoleon III, and remade France into an empire. However, he was not a good strategist, and his empire fell apart in 1870. He was France’s last king. This time period changed history in more ways than one. It confirmed Britain’s navy as the greatest in the world and ended The Holy Roman Empire, too! Napoleon also influenced many world leaders, such as Wilhelm II and Adolf Hitler, who tried to copy his achievements. We will always remember him as one of the, if not THE greatest military strategist in all of world history!

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