In 1789, the French revolution swept the country. In 1792, France went to war with Austria.
Robespierre and other Jacobins took over the government in June 1793 and began the Reign of Terror. French cities revolted against his government. Napoleon was put in charge of the artillery at the Siege of Toulon, where his achievements earned him a favorable report to the Convention at Paris.
Robespierre was executed on July of 1794 during the Thermidorian Reaction. In 1796, Napoleon saved the government from a revolt. A new government called the Directory was formed.
Under the new government, Napoleon was made commander of the French army in Italy. Before leaving for the Italian Campaign, he married Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796.
Napoleon won many victories in Italy. By 1796, Austria had become Franceís chief enemy. Napoleon started his attack on Austria, his first big campaign. Napoleon defeated four armies larger than his own. After that, his troops gave him the name "Petit Caporal" or "Little Corporal."
Napoleon knew he needed more influence to gain control. Concentrating on improving his military reputation, Napoleon sailed off for Africa with 38,000 men in May 1798.
Napoleon won on land, but lost his fleet to Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of the Nile in Abu Qir Bay. Napoleonís army was now stranded in Egypt. Napoleon left his troops in Egypt and went back to France. Napoleon had returned before news of his fiasco in Egypt was known. It appeared that Napoleonís reputation was saved. Once back in France, he joined the plot to topple the Directory.
This is the brief biography.
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