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1763–1814, empress of the French (1804–9) as the consort of Napoleon INapoleon I
, 1769–1821, emperor of the French, b. Ajaccio, Corsica, known as "the Little Corporal." Early Life

The son of Carlo and Letizia Bonaparte (or Buonaparte; see under Bonaparte, family), young Napoleon was sent (1779) to French military schools at
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. Born Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie in Martinique, she was married in 1779 to Alexandre de BeauharnaisBeauharnais, Alexandre, vicomte de
, 1760–94, French general, b. Martinique. He fought with the colonials in the American Revolution and, as a supporter of the French Revolution, was a commander in the French Revolutionary Wars.
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. Two children were born, Eugène (later viceroy of Italy) and Hortense (later queen of Holland). Josephine's husband was guillotined during the French Revolution, in 1794, but she escaped with brief imprisonment that same year. In 1796 she was married, by a civil ceremony, to Napoleon Bonaparte, whom she had met through Paul BarrasBarras, Paul François Jean Nicolas, vicomte de
, 1755–1829, French revolutionary. Although of a noble family, he joined the Jacobins in the Revolution and was a member of the Convention.
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. Before Napoleon became emperor, they were remarried in a religious ceremony. Josephine took a prominent part in the social life of the time. Napoleon had their marriage annulled in 1809, allegedly because of her infertility, so that he might marry Marie LouiseMarie Louise,
1791–1847, empress of the French (1810–15) as consort of Napoleon I and duchess of Parma, Piacenza, and Guastalla (1816–47), daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II (later Emperor of Austria as Francis I.
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, daughter of the Austrian emperor Francis I (Holy Roman Emperor Francis IIFrancis II,
1768–1835, last Holy Roman emperor (1792–1806), first emperor of Austria as Francis I (1804–35), king of Bohemia and of Hungary (1792–1835).
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). Thereafter Josephine lived in retirement at Malmaison.


See biographies by R. M. Wilson (1930), A. Castelot (tr. 1967), C. Erickson (1999), and K. Williams (2014); study by F. MassonMasson, Frédéric,
1847–1923, French historian, an authority on Napoleon I and his family. His work is uncritically laudatory with regard to Napoleon himself; his admiration, however, did not deter his severe indictment of Napoleon's relatives in
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Empress, previous name Jos?phine de Beauharnais; real name Marie Jos?phine Tascher de la Pagerie. 1763--1814, empress of France as wife of Napoleon Bonaparte (1796--1809)
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