The years of domination by Napoleon and the other members of the Bonaparte family delivered a profoundly changed continent to the nineteenth century. The century of enlightenment had ended with the American and French Revolutions, breath–taking outcomes of the complex transformations that were running through society. To this variable scenario one adds the Napoleonic period of the First Empire, which for ten years gathered a large part of the European continent under the mantel of common political, administrative and economic policies.
At the fall of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna temporarily restored power to the hands of the old leaders, but a few years later everything would be again in dispute, with the insurrectional risings of many European populations. The myth, widely justified, that would continue to hover around the figure of the Corsican emperor would generate Bonapartism, invisible until when, in the middle of the century, a new Napoleon would sit under the imperial insignia of France.