'Bonaparte has burned his boats'
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was one of the world's greatest military leaders. Born in Corsica, he rose to power after the French Revolution of 1789, distinguishing himself in wars of the First and Second Coalitions, where monarchist countries in Europe combined against the new Republic of France. In 1799, after a grand if ultimately fruitless invasion of Egypt, Napoleon seized power in France, naming himself First Consul of the Republic. This led to further war with the rest of Europe; wars which afforded Napoleon more opportunities to exercise his military genius. Over the next five years France grew to dominate continental Europe, and in 1804 Napoleon was crowned Emperor of the French. He continued to expand France's domination until 1812, when he decided to invade Russia, a decision which swiftly led to his downfall. He was exiled to the island of Elba in 1814, but escaped and seized power in France again, only to be defeated more decisively at Waterloo in 1815. After this defeat he was exiled to the island of St Helena, where he died.
This brilliant site has a wealth of information on Napoleon.
Napoleon Guide is particularly good on the military history.