February 26, 1815: Napoleon escapes from Elba.

Following the War of the Sixth Coalition and Napoleon’s forced abdication, he was exiled (while retaining his title as Emperor) to Elba, a small island off the coast of Tuscany. However, he stayed in exile for less than a year before escaping on February 26 of 1815, arriving in France two days later with a small army of several hundred men - a group that swelled as those still loyal to Napoleon joined his forces. According to a popular legend, he declared to troops attempting to stop his march to Lyon: "If any of you will shoot your Emperor, shoot him now”, which caused them to join his army as well.

Napoleon’s escape marked the beginning of the period known as the Hundred Days, which ended only with his defeat at Waterloo and his return to exile, this time on the island of Saint Helena, thousands of miles from France. 

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