Napoleon III (Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte) was a president of the French Republic (1848-1852), then an emperor of the French from 1852 to 1870.
Carlo Luigi Napoleone Bonaparte was the son of the King of Holland Luigi Bonaparte (one of the brothers of Napoleon Bonaparte) and of Ortensia of Beauharnais (daughter of the empress Giuseppina di Beauharnais and her first husband).
After the fall of the First French Empire, he lived in exile (Switzerland, Germany, then Rome where he and his elder brother joined the Carboneria). In 1832, after the death of his brother and also his cousin, the Duke of Reichstadt (son of Napoleon I) became the heir of the Bonaparte dynasty. Try to overthrow the French king Louis Philippe of France, in 1836 in Strasbourg and then in 1840 in Boulogne-sur-Mer; he was sentenced to life imprisonment, but managed to escape in 1846 and fled to England. He returned to France after the revolution of 1848 and was elected President of the Republic, then appointed emperor of the French in 1852 (Second French Empire) after a coup. During his reign, power was dictatorial, then he became liberal in 1860; the country has modernized and has industrialized. France has had some successes: it participates in the Crimean War, and due to the side of Italy against Austria; but the Mexican expedition (where Napoleon tries to install an emperor) was a failure.
In 1870, he declared war on Prussia, but the French army was quickly defeated at Sedan. Napoleon III was taken prisoner and forced to abdicate, then he was exiled to England, where he died in 1873. He married in 1853 a Spanish noblewoman, Eugenia de Montijo (1826-1920); they had a son, Eugenio Luigi Napoleone Bonaparte (1856-1879).