Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte
Brief Historical Notes
Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the 20th April 1808, and died on the 9th January 1873. He was the son of King Louis Bonaparte of Holland, a younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. His mother was Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Napoleon's first wife Josephine.
He was elected President (1848-1852) of the Second Republic of France and subsequently Emperor (1852-1870), reigning as Napoleon III (Second French Empire). There was no Napoleon II of France.
He was imprisoned after the second of two abortive coup attempts (October 1836 and August 1840), escaped to the United Kingdom in May 1846, returning after the revolution of February 1848 to win the presidential election in December. Three years later he seized dictatorial powers, proclaiming himself Emperor in December 1852. On April, 28th, 1855 he survived an attempted assassination.
Under Napoleon III, France pursued an active foreign policy. France challenged Russia's influence in the Ottoman Empire, successfully participated in the Crimean War, launched a naval expedition in 1858 to punish the Vietnamese and force them to accept a French presence in the country. France intervened to secure the defeat of Austria in Italy. Intervention in Mexico ended in defeat and the execution of the French-backed Emperor Maximilian, and France saw her influence further eroded by Prussia's crushing victory over Austria in June-August 1866.
Paris was substantially rebuilt under Napoleon III, to reduce the ability of future revolutionaries to challenge the government. Large sections of the city were razed and the old convoluted streets were replaced with many broad avenues, with the intent of allowing cannon to be used easily within the city. The rebuilding of Paris was directed by Baron Haussmann, knowledge which would have been useful to ex Major Charles Ingram, as it constituted his £500,000 question, almost anybody who has ever visited Paris would be familiar with Boulevard Hausmann.
He also directed the building of the French railway network. The design was very inefficient, however, as all routes lead to Paris, but no lines conecting the other cities to each other. Thus to travel from Marseilles to Bordeaux one needed to go via Paris, a great inefficiency. This was economically inefficient, and also militarily made the French far slower to organize than the more rationally organized Prussians.
Hoping to achieve military glory to match his uncle Louis and forced by the diplomacy of the german chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Napoleon began the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. This war proved disastrous. In battle against Prussia in July 1870 the Emperor was captured at the Battle of Sedan (September 2) and was deposed by the forces of the Third Republic in Paris two days later. He died in exile in England on January 9, 1873.
Married to Empress Eugenie, a Spanish noble of Scottish and Spanish descent, he had one son, Eugene Bonaparte.
He is buried in the Imperial Crypt at Saint Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, Hampshire, England.
Thanks to Wikipedia for much of the above information.
Three types of 20 franc gold coins were issued for Napoleon III:-
History of French Gold Coins
As Louis Napoleon Bonaparte on Obverse of 20 Francs of 1852
Bare Head as Napoleon III on 20 Francs of 1859
Laureate Head of Napoleon III on 20 Francs of 1863