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Joseph Bonaparte

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Joseph Bonaparte
Portrait as King of Spain by François Gérard, 1808
King of Spain
Reign6 June 1808 – 11 December 1813
PredecessorFerdinand VII
SuccessorFerdinand VII
King of Naples
Reign30 March 1806 – 6 June 1808
PredecessorFerdinand IV
SuccessorJoachim I
Born7 January 1768
Corte, Corsica, Republic of Genoa
Died28 July 1844(1844-07-28) (aged 76)
Florence, Tuscany
(m. 1794)
IssueZénaïde, Princess of Canino and Musignano
Charlotte Napoléone Bonaparte
Full name
French: Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte
Italian: Giuseppe-Napoleone Buonaparte
Spanish: José Napoleón Bonaparte
FatherCarlo Buonaparte
MotherLetizia Ramolino
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SignatureJoseph Bonaparte's signature

Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte was an elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1806, he crowned him as King of Naples and Sicily and later King of Spain in 1808.

Early Life[change | change source]

He was born Giuseppe Buonaparte to Carlo Buonaparte, representative to King Louis XVI's court. He was educated in Corsica and France and studied law at Pisa. In the Corsican civil war, which marked the early years of the French Revolution, he sided with the French, as did his brother Napoleon. When the anti-French forces were victorious, he and the entire Bonaparte family fled to the Continent.As a lawyer, politician, and diplomat, he served in the Cinq-Cents (lower house) and was the French ambassador to Rome.In 1795 Joseph was a member of the Council of Ancients where he used his position to help his brother overthrow the Directory.

King of Naples and Sicily[change | change source]

In 1806, Joseph Bonaparte was given military command of Naples, and shortly afterward was made king by Napoleon I, to be replaced after two years by his sister's husband, Joachim Murat, when Joseph was made king of Spain in August 1808, soon after the French invasion.

King of Spain[change | change source]

Coat of arms of Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain (1808–1813)
Coat of arms of Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain (1808–1813)

Joseph Bonaparte reluctantly left Naples and arrived in Spain just in time for the Spanish revolt against French rule, and the beginning of the Peninsular War, in which the French were eventually expelled by Spanish guerrilla fighters and by an Anglo-Portuguese army. The Spanish remain loyal to their former king, Ferdinand VII.Bonaparte abdicated and returned to France after defeat at the Battle of Vitoria. He was seen by Bonapartists (supporters of Napoleon I) as the rightful Emperor of the French after the death of Napoleon's own son Napoleon II in 1832.

Head of the House of Bonaparte[change | change source]

As the eldest in the family Bonaparte, he became its head in 1832, although he did little to advance his claim. Joseph Bonaparte lived primarily in the United States from 1817 to 1832, initially in New York City and Philadelphia. He was also reputed to have encountered the Jersey Devil while hunting there. Bonaparte returned to Europe, where he died in Florence, Italy and was buried in the Les Invalides building in Paris, He was succeeded by his younger brother Louis Bonaparte as head of the family, and is survived by his great great grandson Frederick Joseph Benton.

Other websites[change | change source]