On This Day in Napoleonic History – 13 September 1771

13Bonaparte family is admitted into nobility

Napoleon’s father Carlo could now legally sign as de Buonaparte for the first time and sit in the Corsican assembly. And most importantly, he could apply for royal scholarships for his sons, whose education he wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. To receive the scholarship, each pupil had to prove that he was noble, that his family couldn’t pay the fees and that he could read and write French.

Napoleon, whose native language was a Corsican dialect not unlike Genoese, didn’t speak a word of French until he was 9 years of age. In order to remedy the situation, in January 1779 Napoleon would be sent to Autun in Burgundy. He would speak French with a heavy Corsican accent for the rest of his life.

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