Napoleonic Wars: 11 Cool Facts

Let me ask you, what all do you recall about the Napoleonic Wars from history class?

The better part of our readers will probably go blank. So I am here to provide a history lesson. Follow close because I may give you a graded test at the end…

Just joking!

I am going to give you 11 cool facts about the Napoleonic Wars. Before I do, let me give you a brief synopsis of who, what, when and where.

Napoleonic Wars Basics

It was France against the rest… France’s military was being led by Napoleon I and the rest was led by the United Kingdom as well as various other European powers.

Essentially, the Napoleonic Wars were a European World War for control.

The Wars went on from 1803 to 1815.

Now for the facts and as Joe Friday said on Dragnet… “Just The Facts, Ma’am, Just The Facts!”

#1: Napoleon Bonaparte Was Italian, Not French

The Bonaparte family were from Italy, but Napoleon was born in Corsica which was an island controlled by France.

Napoleon and his brother Joseph were sent to French military schools.

Napoleon was teased because of his Italian accent, but that probably helped him become much stronger.

#2: The Capital Of Portugal

Because of the Napoleonic Wars, the Queen of Portugal took the complete Portuguese government from Lisbon to their territory of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. It stayed there for 13 years.

#3: 16 Year Old Officer

Napoleon Bonaparte graduated from École Militaire at 16 years old and became an officer in the French army.

#4: Also A Propaganda War

There was heavy war in the media between France and England. We have seen many paintings of Napoleon showing him in a god-like way. This was done to put fear in the people.

But the English newspapers tried to put out the truth: that Napoleon was somewhat fat and not as he was made up to be in paintings.

#5: The English Navy Caused More Death And Destruction

The English Navy is said to have caused 3 times the casualties as the French Navy. Some say it was because the French would fire their guns high at the masts of the enemy ships while the English would fire low into the hulls of the ships.

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#6: Napoleon’s First Wife Was Almost Beheaded

Joséphine de Beauharnais was first married to a French Aristocrat. During the French Revolution, she and her husband were imprisoned. He was beheaded but when her turn was come, the executions were halted.

She met Napoleon at a party in 1795 and they were soon wed.

#7: England’s Argentina Plan That Failed

England’s military leaders felt that if they could weaken Spain who was allied with France, they could defeat France.

Their plan?

Invade Argentina.

The idea was to have Spain send many troops to defend their property in South America.

But they failed.


Spain didn’t have to send troops. The local population battled England victoriously.

#8: The Monkey Spy

A French ship went down off the coast of England. There was 1 survivor… A monkey.

The English declared the monkey to be a spy and the poor thing was hanged to the death.

#9: Napoleon The Author

Just before he met his first wife, Napoleon wrote a fictional romance novel entitled Clisson et Eugénie. Never published while he was alive, when Napoleon died, it was divided up and sold in pieces at auctions.

In 2009, the book was reconstructed in English and you can get it below.

#10: Waterloo Was Not The Final Battle Of The Napoleonic Wars

While many teachers have said that Waterloo was the end of Napoleon’s wars, and yes, he had abdicated, it wasn’t the end.

Prussian troops began the march to the French capital, but General Vandamme would not have it. He led French troops out to halt their progress. Only when Wellington brought forces were the French dismantled.

#11: The Napoleon House In New Orleans

In an effort to bring Napoleon to the United States, Nicholas Girod, the mayor of New Orleans, had a house built for Napoleon.

Napoleon died and the mayor moved his family into the beautiful home.

To this day, it is known as Napoleon House.

Final Thoughts

Those are just a few of the facts surrounding the Napoleonic Wars.

I often wonder what would be if Napoleon would have been victorious against the English.

I would like to hear your thoughts… Do you have feedback or questions? Just post them below.

I hope you learned something today. Please share this with others.

Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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1 thought on “Napoleonic Wars: 11 Cool Facts”

  1. Johndel Callora

    He is the David to the Goliaths in the Napoleonic wars. His well-calculated tactics led the French Imperial Army to conquer much of Europe in the early 19th century!

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