The Napoleonic period, spanning from the late 18th to the early 19th century, was a transformative era defined by the military and political exploits of Napoleon Bonaparte, a French military general and statesman. Emerging from the chaos of the French Revolution, Napoleon rose to prominence, eventually establishing himself as Emperor of the French in 1804. His ambitious campaigns reshaped the European landscape, with the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) affecting virtually every major European power. Napoleon's military brilliance was showcased in iconic battles like Austerlitz and Jena, yet his expansionist ambitions led to conflicts that spanned continents. The Napoleonic Code, a comprehensive legal system, reflected his impact on governance, promoting concepts of meritocracy and individual rights. However, the period concluded with Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in 1815, marking the end of his rule and ushering in a new era of European geopolitics at the Congress of Vienna.
The Napoleonic era left an enduring legacy, influencing military strategy, legal systems, and notions of nationalism. It set the stage for subsequent developments in European history, shaping the balance of power and inspiring both admiration and resistance against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world.
Napoleonic period is one the favorite periods for historical wargames, and has a wide representation in the 1/72 scale just passed by the Second World War.