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Hundred days and Waterloo

Napoleon's escapes from Elba and retakes control only to be defeated at Waterloo. Created by Sal Khan.

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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Curiosity
    How tall was Napoleon?
    (64 votes)
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  • mr pants teal style avatar for user Ryan Slater
    How did Napoleon escape from Elba?
    (17 votes)
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  • aqualine tree style avatar for user Free runner
    Who was the king or queen of Britain at the time of Napoleon and who was the king of Russia too?
    (13 votes)
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    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user wanjuguam
      Czar Alexander the first was the czar of Russia at the time of Napoleon`s invasion of Russia. A czar was like a king or queen of Russia before the Soviet Union. George the third was the king of England during the Napoleonic wars.
      (18 votes)
  • female robot ada style avatar for user Mythgirl
    Was Napoleon married?
    (8 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user AegonTargaryen
      Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie had married a famous French general and was then named Joséphine Beauharnais because it was customary to change ones last name. The general was later guillotined so she was free to marry Napoleon but I believe she kept her last name Beauharnais.
      (3 votes)
  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Evan Ksander
    Why did the army that Napoleon encountered after escaping from Elba just hand themselves over to him? Didn't they know better then to just allow the exile to take over?
    (4 votes)
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    • leaf red style avatar for user Chevalier Mal Fet
      Don't forget, Napoleon was also the most brilliant military leader Europe had seen in at least a century, and quite possibly the most accomplished since Julius Caesar. He took a Revolutionary France that was struggling to keep its head above water as all the monarchies of Europe tried to crush it, and made it the master of the continent.

      Yes, he was defeated in Russia and Germany in 1812 and 1813, but he was still the Emperor, the man most of the boys in that army would have grown up fighting under. Now he's escaped from exile and all that hope comes back: Maybe this time he CAN preserve France from defeat, and CAN establish her as the mistress of Europe once again.

      In the end, no, he couldn't, but that doesn't change the immense loyalty and devotion most (not all) of the soldiers of France would have had for him.
      (11 votes)
  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user yann3013
    How old was Napoleon when he died?
    (6 votes)
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  • leaf green style avatar for user Erin Lee
    If Napoleon Bonaparte was so great, why wasn't he able to succeed against Waterloo? Even if Waterloo had a lot of men, and Napoleon Bonaparte had a small number of men, Napoleon was a great fighter.
    (1 vote)
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    • leafers seed style avatar for user wrfleishman
      You ask why Napoleon lost the battle of Waterloo. Many people will make excuses for Napoleon, saying he was sick or that the ground was too muddy, or they blame Marshal Ney for dithering in front of Quatre Bras. The truth is, though, Napoleon underestimated the Lord Wellington and the British infantry.

      Wellington had repeatedly trounced the French in Portugal and Spain during the Peninsular War. At places like Bussaco, Talavera, Slamanca, and Vittoria, Wellington - and his Spanish and Portuguese allies - beat every French general he came across. Before the Peninsular War, Wellington had also fought several campaigns in India where we was also successful. Later when he was asked what battle he fought that he was most proud of, he responded, "Assaye." Assaye was a battle where Wellington defeated an Indian army four times the size of his. Needless to say, by 1815, Wellington knew what he was doing.

      The British army at the time was the best in the world being the only truly professional army in Europe. Every British soldier took the King's shilling voluntarily, unless ordered by a judge to serve in the army as punishment for an offense. Wellington had trained these soldiers very well and had prepared them to face the French, having studied French tactics and operations. The French would attack in a column and make a lot of noise by beating drums and shouting "vive le'empreur!" This was how the French had beaten everyone else. Wellington thought that well trained, steady infantry who could steadily fire three shots a minute would decimate the French. And he was right. Over and over again the British smashed the French armies on the Peninsula and they would do so again at Waterloo. British training and British nerve won the battle of Waterloo.

      Yes, a lot of factors played against Napoleon during the Waterloo campaign, but one can not forget the brave British soldiers led by Lord Wellington who stood behind that ridge and behind the walls of the farmhouses of Le Haye Sainte and Hougemont withstanding the onslaught of the French army.
      (3 votes)
  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Joshua
    Why wasn't Napoleon content with his lot on the Ilsand of Elba where he could comfortably live out the rest of his life?
    (2 votes)
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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user BestMD31
    What happened to the french after napoleon surrendered?
    (3 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user Andrew Kerr
      Luis XVIII reigned until his death in 1824, trying the whole time to appease the french citizens' desire for more 'freedoms' and 'liberties' (like those found in the constitution). Charles X reigned 1824 - 1830 and by contrast to Luis was known as a reactionary (to the revolution) and suppressed France's new found liberties. After Charles was Luois-Phillipe (reign 1830-1848) known popularly as the citizen king and historically as the last. BUT guess what... Napoleon's nephew (Napoleon III) was elected as the first President of France's Second Republic and soon after declared himself President for life and later Emperor reigning until 1870!

      I can only assume Sal will grace us with a video series about that Napoleon too.
      (2 votes)
  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Jerry Fan
    At , Is Waterloo the only battle Napoleon ever lost?
    (2 votes)
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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