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Napoleon Bonaparte. Artwork of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). Napoleon seized power during a coup d'etat in 1799. His military skills enabled France to conquer much of Europe and institute reforms aimed at improving quality of life and protecting civil liberties. He also had a keen interest in science and did much to promote it under his rule. This included leading a scientific expedition to Egypt in 1798. He was defeated by Britain and Prussia at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He was banished to the island St Helena, where he died.
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