March 20 - 1815 - Napoleon Returns to Paris from Exile on Elba
Napoleon Bonaparte was a Corsican from the minor nobility who took advantage of the chaos of the French Revolution and his own prodigious military skill to become the very first Emperor of the French. When he was forced to abdicate in 1814 and the Bourbon monarchy was restored in the person of Louis XVIII, it seemed like Napoleon was done for good. Forced into exile on the Mediterranean island of Elba, Napoleon was in charge of the island's politics with a small military force while the Congress of Vienna saw the great European powers decide how to construct a post-Napoleonic world. Instead, Napoleon got reports of dissatisfaction from France and disagreement from the Congress of Vienna, so he decided to land in the south of France. As he made his way through the Alps and towards Paris, Napoleon gathered larger and larger numbers of troops. As former allies like Marshal Ney were sent to stop him, they instead joined him. So Louis XVIII went into exile for second time. By late March, Napoleon victoriously entered the city of Paris. It appeared he would be returned to being Emperor for good, but he only ruled for a little over a hundred days, until the Battle of Waterloo and his second exile.