Hello everyone! This is my first post on this sub.
So recently I happened to watch this obscure yet peculiar youtube video in which the author- the staunch Albanian nationalist decided to show us the "truth" about Napoleon's supposed real origin all in a one-minute youtube video. Here's the link.
However, in this post, I shall indeed protect the Emperor's good name and go through this video text by text debunking the claims presented by this notorious nationalist. Here we go...
Napolean was born inCorsica, Italy badgeography
.He knew a lot about the Albanians. He wanted to be like Alexander another great Albanian. He went to Egypt where Alexander the great was buried and he told his soildiers to be alone in the room.
Though I clearly can't answer to the first claim due to the lack of any sources mentioning Napoleon's knowledge about the Albanian nation I can say that Bonaparte, indeed had a great admiration for Alexander ever since his childhood, though he happened to criticize him on occasion, for example when working on a discourse on the subject 'What are the Most Important Truths and feelings for Men to Learn to be Happy?' for the Lyons Academy's essay prize he negatively commented Alexander's despotism, to quote:
"What is Alexander doing when he rushes from Thebes into Persia and thence into India? He is ever restless, he loses his wits, he believes himself God [...]"\
In the following two sentences, the author tries to tell, in a pretty short manner, why Napoleon went to Egypt by saying that his expedition was only motivated by Alexander's conquests and that it was his initiative. This theory, however, is purely based on common myths and it's completely false. The plans of invading Egypt were first considered by French military strategists in the 1760s. In 1782, the Austrian Emperor Joseph II suggested Louis XVI annexe Egypt as a part of a larger unsuccessful plan of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire\
2]). During the revolution, the plan itself was brought in again and was quite popular among revolutionaries and idealists who wished to bring revolutionary ideals to the people of Egypt, oppressed by Mameluke tyranny and rational strategists like Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot and of course, Napoleon. Bonaparte himself prioritized Egypt, calling it "the geographical key to controlling the world"\
3]) and his strategic goal was the destruction of the British trade in this region and replacing it by its French equivalent. He portrayed the plans of the initiative to the Directory and based it on three arguments: The opening of Asian markets to French trade goods, turning the colony into a "military base" for 60 000 troops to threaten British oriental territories and the establishment of a French colony in Egypt. Napoleon's great ambitions towards the Egyptian campaign somewhat reflected Alexander's conquests but they were quickly discarded by the Directory which only allowed him to take over Egypt alone and to return to France after six months.
Bonaparte might have indeed expanded the plans of the Egyptian campaign but the initiative had to be later presented to the Directory which as the executive power of 1795-1799 Revolutionary France made the final decision and its authority (though questioned in some cases, for example during the 1st Italian campaign) had to be obeyed by Napoleon who was only a general at that time (pre-1799). Many claims presented in the author's first argument such as the Albanian nationality of Alexander who came from a greek Argead dynasty and the possibility of Napoleon discovering the tomb of Alexander of which location is still unknown to this day in which "he told his soldiers to be alone in the room" for some reason are simply beyond absurd.
Napoleon was given an option to choose a rooster or a lion as a symbol of his french side, but he rejected those options and picked an eagle for a symbol for the french. Eagle is a symbol for the Albanian race.
The author is referring to the meeting of the Imperial council (France was de-facto already an Empire at the time ever since Napoleon's meeting with the state council of the consulate on the 28th of March 1804) that happened on the 12th of June 1804, during which the members of the council were discussing the details of the future coronation (the cathedral at which it should take place, the date and the heraldic symbols of the new ruling dynasty). During the meeting, Napoleon was given an option to choose a symbol for the French Empire, however, there were much more options than those three portrayed by the author. The symbols which he could choose were: a rooster which referred to ancient Gallic traditions (Napoleon rejected this one because he thought of it as a "weak and agricultural animal"), an elephant, an eagle, a lion, Minerva's aegis, an oak, an ear of grain and even a Bourbon fleur-de-lys suggested by Charles-François Lebrun\
4]) (Napoleon outright rejected it and thought of this option as "idiotic"). In the end, Napoleon decided to choose the lion as his symbol without any vote or further thought, but he quickly changed his mind after the meeting and chose the eagle instead. This sudden change of mind was motivated by certain ancient and medieval attributes related to this animal which was much more attractive to Bonaparte to quote:
"It portrays Imperial dignity and reminds of Charlemagne"\
He clearly says that it reminded him of a Frankish monarch, not some glorious mythical Albanian master race. Also, It seems that our dear author used some quite amazing mental gymnastics to make this argument. How the hell is an eagle a symbol of the Albanian "race"? Does that mean that 14 other countries (some of them older than the first existing Albanian state) copied that symbol from the superior Albanians? Or does that mean that they are all secretly Albanian? I'm really confused right now, it's probably a serbian conspiracy tbh.
Robert D'Angely notes that Napoleon was making often visits to Albanian families in marseille, who came there from Albania, Greece and Italy. Napoleon also sent consul in Ioannina, contrary to the ottomans and reconise it as the capital city of Albania
From what I managed to research by reading translated pdf versions of his work, Robert D'Angely was a French-Albanian nationalist historian born in 1893 and died in 1966. He wrote a book called "Enigma" in which he does outstanding mental gymnastics trying to prove to the reader that Alexander, Napoleon, Garibaldi, Skanderberg and even Aristotle + many other ancient peoples like the Illyrians and Pelasgians were all Albanian based only on the etymology of their names (or surnames in case of historical figures), he also tries to prove to us the Aryan origin of Albanians (yikes) which makes his book feel even more biased. His work is mostly used by Albanian nationalists to prove their "racial" superiority and Mr D'Angely himself often twists facts and some events so that they may fit his nationalistic narrative which makes his book an unreliable source\
6]). Though Napoleon's family stayed in the areas close to Marseille after being exiled from Corsica for political reasons, I couldn't find any sources which could prove the theory of him meeting Albanian families or in sending a consul to Ioannina and recognising it as an Albanian capital of some sort in his later life.
Napoleon had a legion of Albanians as his personal guard, because they were most loyal to him.
The only Albanian unit which served in the French army during the Napoleonic wars were the Pandours Albanais. The unit itself was organised in Cattaro in June 1810 and it was intended for continual service against Montenegrin inhabitants of the foreign lands which surrounded the French-controlled city of Cattaro. The unit was battalion-size and it had 6 companies (the number had later risen to 8) composed of 50 men each. The Pandours participated only in local actions against Balkan raiders and in the unsuccessful defence of Dalmatia where 141 members of the unit had deserted, and because of those attractions, the unit disappeared in the end. The uniform they wore was cheap and local (since it was only a militia unit) and it consisted of a red dolman trimmed with silver and having sheepskin edging, red vest, blue trousers, red turban and opanque. As we can see the Pandours Albanais were only a local militia unit whose main objective was defending local territories, we can even say that most of those men never even met Napoleon in the first place and didn't participate in any of his campaigns (which is quite funny, considering the author of this video claims that they were his personal guard). Napoleon's actual personal guardsmen were the french-dominated chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde Impériale (the dark green colonel uniform of this unit was even worn by Napoleon during his campaigns post-1804). This unit served as his escort after 1799 and was composed of his most loyal veterans who participated in every one of his campaigns after 1799.
Napoleon Bonaparte is not his real surname, his real surname is Napoleon Kalemiri Bonaparte. Bonaparte is how you say it in french.
His real Corsican name was Napoleone di Buonaparte and he changed his name to its french equivalent in 1796 before the Italian campaign (he dropped the "u" in his surname for the first time when writing a letter to his first wife-Joséphine de Beauharnais on the 14th of March 1794\
7])) The name "Kalemiri" added in by the author comes from the aforementioned Robert D'Angely's book "Enigma" and it is purely based on wacky etymology mixed in with translation from French to Albanian. Notes:
, v.1, p. 24
2.Murphy, Napoleon's International Politics
, p. 165; Volney, Voyage, p. 235
, p. 312
4.Fraser, The War Drama
, p. 3
, p. 9
(used only to get to know the author's nationalistic revisionist historical world view which influenced present-day Albanian nationalists, it's not a reliable source of historical knowledge)
7.Chuquet, Jeunesse Bibliography:
Andrew Roberts: Napoleon the Great
Guy-C-Dempsey: Napoleon's Mercenaries Foreign Units in The French Army Under the Consulate and Empire, 1799-1814
Paul L. Dawson: Napoleon's Imperial Guard Uniforms and Equipment. Volume 2: The Cavalry