Robert Cornelis Napier 1st Baron Napier of Magdala

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Napier, Robert, 1st Baron Napier (1810–90). Soldier. Napier was born in Ceylon and almost all his career was in India. Entering the Bengal Engineers in 1826, he was twice wounded in the 1840s in the Sikh wars, and was wounded for a third time while defending Lucknow in the Indian mutiny of 1857. He was knighted in 1858. He served in the China war and in 1867 commanded an expedition to Abyssinia where the eccentric King Theodore was holding English representatives prisoner. Napier defeated the royal troops at Magdala, the new capital, and King Theodore shot himself. Napier was given a barony in 1868, was commander-in-chief in India 1870–6, served as governor of Gibraltar 1876–82, and finished as a field marshal in 1883.

J. A. Cannon

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Robert Cornelis Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala (nā´pēr, nəpēr´), 1810–90, British general. In the engineering service in India, he fought in the Sikh Wars (1845–49) and took part in the relief of Lucknow (1857) during the Indian Mutiny. He was raised (1868) to the peerage following an expedition to Ethiopia in which he captured Magdala and compelled the release of British captives. He later acted as commander in chief in India (1870–76) and as governor of Gibraltar.

See biography by his son, H. D. Napier (1927), and his letters (ed. by his son, 1936).