03 May 2011

Was Napoleon Really Short?

We all know that Napoleon Bonaparte was called the Little Corporal. And we often quote him as an example to illustrate that limitations can be overcome easily because Short Napoleon was one of the greatest of all conquerors. There is also a term 'Napoleon complex' to informally refer to the inferiority complex certain people have on being short.
But, the fact is Napoleon was not shorter than any average Frenchman! He was actually 1.686 meter tall. Is it really short?
The misconception that Napoleon was short came due to the difference in English feet and French feet. In French units, Napoleon's height was 5 feet 2 inches. But when we convert it to internationally accepted units, it is 5 feet 6.5 inches. So this french unit was misinterpreted by the English speaking world. The salutation 'Little Corporal' might have come from some affection towards him and not from his being short.

1 comment:

  1. Nathan Rothschild deliberately perpetuated this myth by imposing this on citizens of greatest empire at the time.