At the height of his power, Napoleon Bonaparte controlled a huge chunk of Europe, from the Iberian Peninsula in the west to present-day Poland in the east. But on April 11, 1814, after a series of military setbacks culminating in the fall of Paris, he abdicated as emperor of France and was ordered into exile on the Mediterranean island of Elba. Depressed, he swallowed poison in an unsuccessful suicide attempt and then narrowly escaped an angry mob on the guarded journey to France’s southern coast. From there, he boarded a British frigate and set sail into what was supposed to be obscurity. Two centuries after Napoleon’s first exile—another one would be forthcoming—get the facts on the polarizing conqueror.