Napoleon Escapes Elba

Napoleon went into exile after his defeat and abdication from the throne of France in 1814. In the ensuing nine months, the victors: Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Sweden, squabbled among each other and nearly went to war several times over the spoils of the French Empire. Furthermore, the restored Bourbon monarchy wasn’t paying Napoleon his stipend as per the Treaty of Fortainbleu and Elba simply wasn’t producing enough in taxes to maintain his household. In early 1815, with political chaos on the Continent and financial difficulties on Elba, Napoleon thought the time was ripe for his return to power.

On the night of 26 February 1815, Napoleon slipped away from his exile on the small Mediterranean island of Elba. He departed on the brig “Le Inconstant” and a small flotilla of ships with his staff and the 800 strong honor guard that he was allowed to keep on the island. His British minders on the island didn’t find out until two days later.

On 1 March Napoleon landed near Cannes on the French Riviera and marched on Paris, carefully avoiding Royalist strongholds particularly Provence, while simultaneously gathering troops along the way.

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