Napoleon was a great leader because he was a shrewd and ambitious risk-taker and an exceptional military strategist. Napoleon conquered a substantial portion of Europe in the early 19th century, and he served as the emperor of France twice.
Napoleon's influence made a lasting impression on many aspects of life, including culture, technology, politics, economics and society. He directly created a state of war in Europe that lasted more than 20 years, continually expanding his empire as he conquered other nations and lands.
Napoleon steadily grew in rank during the French Revolution, which lasted a decade, from 1789 until 1799. In 1799, Napoleon seized political power in France in a coup d'etat. He subsequently gave himself the title of emperor in 1804.
From 1803 to 1815, Napoleon engaged in numerous major conflicts with European nations. This conquest is known as the Napoleonic Wars. As he expanded, he gave positions of political authority to loyal friends and family members. He also established a French aristocracy, which had previously been abolished during the French Revolution.
After conquering a significant amount of Western Europe, Napoleon continued to wage war through Central and Eastern Europe. Napoleon was forced to retreat after invading Russia, due to the Russians setting supplies on fire. The lack of food and the coming Russian winter forced Napoleon and his troops to evacuate the area.