So, why was Napoleon called the little corporal? Or, was his height issue exaggerated? French military and political leader named Napoléon Bonaparte became famous during the French Revolution when he led various successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars. His large empire ruled over Europe and saw a downfall in 1815. He is considered one of the best commanders and the most controversial political leaders in the history of mankind.
1. What is known about his Family?
Napoleon was born on 15th August 1769 on the French island of Corsica. His father, Carlo Buonaparte, was a lawyer, and his mother, Letizia Ramolino, was a housewife. His father was a supporter of the nationalists and their leader Pasquale Paoli. But later on, when Paoli had to flee the nation, Carlo switched his allegiance to the French. Hence, he was appointed assessor of the judicial district of Ajaccio in the year 1771. Having a well-paid job enabled him to admit both of his sons to the reputed school of France, College d’Autun. (See 16 Fun Facts About France)
2. What did Napolean Study?
Napoleon completed his school and then studied for five years in the military college of Brienne. Later, he went to a military academy in Paris, France. He wrote a novel, Clisson et Eugenie, at the age of 26 years. But the novel was discovered in multiple drafts by historians and took several years to bring into shape.
3. What were his Accomplishments?
- He graduated early and gained a commission as an Artillery officer, and returned to his hometown Corsica in 1786.
- When he returned to France, he was re-commissioned in the French army. He joined his military unit in Nice in June 1793.
- As he supported the Government during the reign of terror and did not step back, he was named the commander of the Army of the Interior. Moreover, he also earned a place in the good books of the Government.
- Then in 1796, Napoleon became the commander of the Army of Italy. He shaped 30,000 malnourished men who had lost all their morale and won battles along with them. (See How War Affects Economy?)
4. What were the Changes made by him?
Earlier, the chariots were driven on the left side, but Napoleon changed this rule. Since then, chariots have been driven on the right side. This change was made so that the hand holding the sword was free to fight the enemies. Napoleon was also responsible for introducing certain laws. One of them is that pigs shouldn’t be named after him. (See How Did the Americans Win the Revolutionary War?)
5. Why was Napoleon called The Little Corporal?
It was not because of his height but because of his achievement in the field of military, at such a young age. Some guards named him little corporal out of affection after the battle of Lodi in 1796. They were so impressed by his intellect, along with his bravery & leadership, that they decided to elect him as their commander. This answers the query of why was Napoleon called The Little Corporal. Apart from this, he was given almost twenty-one nicknames during different phases of his life, by several different people.
6. Was Napoleon Really Short?
According to some people who met him during war or a gathering, he looked more like an Italian. People usually imagined him to have dark, scary eyes with a heavily built body because it was their image of a powerful emperor. However, Napoleon did not have a friendly personality and was very ill-humored. Why was napoleon called the little corporal is because of his achievement, not his short height. However, his height was 5 feet and 7 inches which was considered more than the average height of any man in France. So, he was for sure not short. Napoleon was thus, average or taller, no matter the interpretation. (Also read 4 Most Important Inventions of the Industrial Revolution)