The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He implemented a wide array of liberal reforms across Europe, including the abolition of feudalism and the spread of religious toleration.  His legal code in France, the Napoleonic Code, influenced numerous civil law jurisdictions worldwide. Napoleon is remembered for his role in leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won the majority of his battles and seized control of most of continental Europe in a quest for personal power and to spread the ideals of the French Revolution. Widely regarded as one of the greatest commanders in history, his campaigns are studied at military academies worldwide. He remains one of the most studied political and military leaders in all of history. Napoleon was born in Corsica in a family of noble Italian ancestry that had settled in Corsica in the 16th century. He spoke French with a heavy Corsican accent. Well-educated, he rose to prominence under the French First Republic and led successful campaigns against the enemies of the French revolution who set up the First and Second Coalitions, most notably his campaigns in Italy.