Napoleon III

First President of the French Republic and Last Monarch of France

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte. Elected President by popular vote in 1848, he initiated a coup d'état in 1851, before ascending the throne as Napoleon III on 2 December 1852, the forty-eighth anniversary of Napoleon I's coronation.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Napoleon III.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Napoleon III.


1808 Birth Born on April 20, 1808.
His father was Louis Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made Louis the King of Holland from 1806 until 1810. … Read More


1831 23 Years Old …  In the spring of 1831, when he was twenty-three, the Austrian and papal governments launched an offensive against the Carbonari, and the two brothers, wanted by the police, were forced to flee. … Read More
1833 25 Years Old …  He published his Rêveries politiques or "political dreams" in 1833 at the age of 25, followed in 1834 by Considérations politiques et militaires sur la Suisse ("Political and military considerations about Switzerland"), followed in 1839 by Les Idées napoléoniennes ("Napoleonic Ideas"), a compendium of his political ideas which was published in three editions and eventually translated in six languages. … Read More
1836 28 Years Old He planned for his uprising to begin in Strasbourg. The colonel of a regiment was brought over to the cause. On 29 October 1836, Louis Napoleon arrived in Strasbourg, in the uniform of an officer of artillery, and rallied the regiment to his side. … Read More


1838 30 Years Old She was finally buried in Reuil, in France, next to her mother, on 11 January 1838, but Louis-Napoleon could not attend, because he was not allowed into France. … Read More
1840 32 Years Old 1 More Event
Living in the comfort of London, he had not given up the dream of returning to France to complete his destiny. In the summer of 1840 he bought weapons and uniforms and had proclamations printed, gathered a contingent of about sixty armed men, hired a ship called the Edinburgh-Castle, and on 6 August 1840, sailed across the Channel to the port of Boulogne. … Read More
1846 38 Years Old 1 More Event
On 25 May 1846, with the assistance of his doctor and other friends on the outside, he disguised himself as a laborer carrying lumber, and walked out of the prison. … Read More


In February 1848, Louis Napoleon learned that the French Revolution of 1848 had broken out, and that Louis-Philippe, faced with opposition within his government and army, had abdicated. … Read More
1849 - 1850 2 More Events
1851 43 Years Old …  The 1851 constitution was retained, with the word "president" replaced by the word "emperor." … Read More
…  A decree on 23 January 1852 forbade the late King's family to own property in France, and annulled the inheritance he had given to his children before he became King. … Read More
1853 45 Years Old 1 More Event
…  The civil ceremony took place at Tuileries Palace on 22 January 1853, and a much grander ceremony was held a few days later at Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. In 1856, Eugénie gave birth to a son and heir-apparent, Napoléon, Prince Imperial. … Read More
1855 47 Years Old The death of Czar Nicholas I on 2 March 1855, and his replacement by Alexander II, changed the political equation. … Read More
1856 48 Years Old 1 More Event
Alexander II sought a political solution, and negotiations were held in Paris in the new building of the French Foreign Ministry on the Quai d'Orsay, from 25 February to 8 April 1856. … Read More


On the evening of 14 January 1858, he and the Empress escaped an assassination attempt unharmed. … Read More
1859 - 1864 5 More Events
1866 58 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1866 he added to this an "Edict of Tolerance," which gave factory workers the right to organize. … Read More
…  In the autumn of 1867, Napoleon III proposed a form of universal military service, similar to the Prussian system, to increase the size of the French Army, if needed, to one million. … Read More


1869 61 Years Old Napoleon presented a proposed treaty of alliance on 4 June 1869, the anniversary of the joint French-Italian victory at Magenta. … Read More
By 1870, France had 20 000 kilometers of railway, linked to the French ports and to the railway systems of the neighbouring countries, which carried over 100 million passengers a year and transported the products of France's new steel mills, mines and factories. … Read More
1871 63 Years Old …  Napoleon had limited funds; he sold properties and jewels, and arrived in England on 20 March 1871. … Read More
1872 64 Years Old Napoleon passed his time writing and designing a stove which would be more energy efficient. In the summer of 1872, his health began to worsen. … Read More
1873 65 Years Old 1 More Event
His last words were, "Isn't it true that we weren't cowards at Sedan?" He was given last rites, and died on 9 January 1873. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.