Joseph Bonaparte

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Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte (7 January 1768 – Italy, 28 July 1844) was the elder brother of Napoleon I of France, who made him King of Naples and Sicily (1806–1808), and later King of Spain and the Indies as Joseph I of Spain (1808–1813). After the fall of Napoleon I, Joseph created himself "Comte de Survilliers" (English: Count of Survilliers).

Contents

Early years

Joseph was born Giuseppe Buonaparte to Carlo Buonaparte and Maria Letizia Ramolino at Corte, in Corsica. As a lawyer, politician, and diplomat, he served in the Cinq-Cents and was the French ambassador to Rome. He married Julie Clary on 1 August 1794 in Cuges-les-Pins, France. They had three daughters, Julie Joséphine Bonaparte (1796–1796), Zénaïde Laetitia Julie Bonaparte (1801–1854) and Charlotte Napoléone Bonaparte (1802–1839). He claimed the surviving two daughters as his heirs. He also sired two children with Maria Giulia, the Countess of Atri (Giulio, born 1806 and Teresa, born 1808). Joseph had two American daughters born at Point Breeze his estate in New Jersey by his mistress Annette Savage ("Madame de la Folie"), Pauline Anne who died young and Catherine Charlotte (b. 1822, d. 1890) who married Col. Zebulon Howell Benton of Jefferson County, New York, and had issue[citation needed].

In 1795 Joseph was a member of the Council of Ancients where he used his position to help his brother overthrow the Directory.

The Château de Villandry had been seized by the French Revolutionary government and in the early 19th century Joseph's brother, Emperor Napoleon, acquired the château for him. In 1806, Joseph was given military command of Naples, and shortly afterward was made king by Napoleon, to be replaced after two years by his sister's husband, Joachim Murat, when Joseph was made king of Spain in August 1808, soon after the French invasion.

Joseph somewhat reluctantly left Naples and arrived in Spain just in time for the commencement of the Spanish revolt against French rule, and the beginning of the Peninsular War. After a series of early defeats of the French by the remnants of the Spanish regular armies (stiffened by militia and guerrillas) Joseph retreated with much of the French Army to northern Spain, and attempted to abdicate the Spanish throne, wanting to exchange it for the Neapolitan Throne he had formerly occupied. Napoleon dismissed Joseph's misgivings out of hand; and, to back up the raw and ill-trained levies he had initially allocated to Spain -- sent heavy French reinforcements to assist Joseph in maintaining his position as king of Spain. Despite the easy recapture of Madrid, and nominal control by Joseph's government over many cities and provinces, Joseph's reign over Spain was always tenuous at best, and constantly resisted by pro-Bourbon guerrillas. Joseph and his supporters never established complete control over the country.

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