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Boney Was A Warrior by Traditional

Album: Sea ShantysReleased: 1830
  • "Boney Was A Warrior" is written in 6/8 time, and is an extremely brief biography of Napoleon. Also known as simply "Boney", it is a sea shanty of uncertain origin, although the words were obviously written no earlier than the 1820s as the song alludes to his death.

    Whatever his faults, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) is generally recognized as one of the greatest military leaders in European or any history. Napoleon, who was sometimes referred to as the Corsican - after his birthplace - rose through the ranks to become Commander of the French Army, conquered Egypt, then part of the Ottoman Empire, and eventually became Emperor of France.

    In 1812, he invaded Russia, a disastrous mistake that was repeated by Hitler, whose folly inspired the sympathetic "The Snow Fell" and the neutral "Roads To Moscow."
  • Though Napoleon has often been compared with Hitler, open admiration of the Corsican does not meet with the same outrage, although like the Führer, his reign resulted ultimately in disaster for his country. In March 1814 he was exiled on the island of Elba, but the following year he returned and marched on Paris. In June 1815 he was defeated by Wellington in Belgium at the Battle of Waterloo, which ended both his military and his political career. The expression "met his Waterloo" has passed into the English language, and means that someone who has previously been successful has been utterly defeated. Other songs have of course been inspired by Napoleon's antics, of which Abba's "Waterloo" is unquestionably the best known.

    After Napoleon met his Waterloo, the British exiled him to St Helena, one of the most isolated islands in the world, where he remained until his death on May 5, 1821. (thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2)
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