Josephine de Beauharnais (1763-1814), Empress of the French

josephinecropBorn on the island of Martinique, Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie (known as Rose) traveled with her father to France in 1779 to marry Alexandre de Beauharnais, son of the colonial governor and army officer who saw service in the American Revolution. During the Terror, Beauharnais was suspected of treason and sent to the guillotine, a fate nearly shared by his wife. Freed from prison following the Thermidorian revolt, Rose met General Bonaparte and the two were married immediately prior to his departure for Italy in 1796. The marriage lasted twelve years, following which Josphine continued to live at Malmaison in Paris, where she died of pneumonia during Napoleon’s exile on Elba.

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