The day of the Battle of Waterloo – level 3
In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte became the emperor in France. He was only 35 years old.
During Napoleon’s rule, France was the most powerful country in Europe. Napoleon controlled increasingly bigger territory. His empire covered a big part of Europe. It included Italy, Germany, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Napoleon kept getting stronger until he decided to defeat the Russian tsar, Alexander. His army had terrible losses in an attempt to conquer Russia. The French army had 680,000 men when it entered Russia. Only 27,000 returned to France.
After the Russian campaign, Napoleon’s army was greatly weakened, and in 1813 it was finally defeated in Leipzig, Germany. The armies of Austria, Germany, and Russia celebrated the victory. Napoleon was forced to abdicate, and he was sent to a small island in the Mediterranean Sea.
In 1815, however, he managed to escape from the island with his most loyal soldiers. He set out for Paris, and on the way, he was joined by armed civilians and soldiers who were originally supposed to stop his journey to Paris. Without a single shot, he regained his power over France. He began to prepare for another war with the British and the Germans who united against him.
The crucial battle took place soon. The two armies met near the village of Waterloo in Belgium on June 18, 1815. The battle ended in a horrible defeat of the French army. After that, Napoleon signed his second and last abdication. He was sent to the island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean. He lived and died there as a prisoner.
Difficult words: force (to make a person do what he didn’t want to do), abdicate (to give up the position of an emperor), set out for (to start a journey to), civilian (not a soldier), regain (to get something back), crucial (extremely important).
What were the losses of Napoleon's army when it entered Russia?
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