In 1789, the French Revolution overthrew the King and Queen (who were
subsequently executed) and replaced the government with a republic.
This was a great threat to the existing monarchies of Europe, and all
the other European countries united against France.
Napoleon Bonaparte was an French army general who masterminded some
early French victories at the age of 26, seized control of the
government and entire army, forced French enemies to sue for peace,
and then conducted a campaign to expand a French Empire across Europe.
His combination of charisma, genius, and military innovations turned
France into a superpower. His overwelming ambition and ego led to his
eventual downfall, as France eventually took on more than it could
An excellent summary that is readable, yet covers a lot of ground can
be found at the War Times Journal:
A more comprehensive set of articles can be found at the Napoleonic