Government and Politics


What were Napoleon’s Hundred Days?

The term refers to Napoleon Bonaparte’s last 100 days as ruler of France. Having been defeated by his enemies—a coalition of European powers Britain, Sweden, Austria, and Prussia, who aligned themselves against Napoleon’s domination—the emperor abdicated the throne in the spring of 1814, and was exiled to the island of Elba in the Mediterranean Sea. There he heard of the confusion and discontent that came after he had descended the throne. He left Elba, and with more than 1,000 men, arrived on the French coast at Cannes and marched inland to Paris. Hearing of his arrival, the new Bourbon king, Louis XVIII (1755–1824), fled. On March 20 Napoleon began a new reign, but it was only to last until the European allies defeated him again, at the Battle of Waterloo, June 12 through 18. After that battle, the so-called Little Corporal (for his diminutive stature) was permanently exiled to the British island of St. Helena, where he remained until his death in 1821.


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