Nicolas Chauvin (French: [ʃɔvɛ̃]) is a legendary, possibly apocryphal French soldier and patriot who is supposed to have served in the First Army of the French Republic and subsequently in La Grande Armée of Napoleon. His name is the eponym of chauvinism, originally a term for excessive nationalistic fervor, but later used to refer to any form of bigotry or bias (e.g., male chauvinism). According to the stories that developed about him, Chauvin was born in Rochefort, around 1780. He enlisted at age 18, and served honorably and well. He is said to have been wounded 17 times in his nation's service, resulting in his severe disfigurement and maiming. For his loyalty and dedication, Napoleon himself presented the soldier with a Sabre of Honor and a pension of 200 francs. Chauvin's distinguished record of service and his love and devotion for Napoleon, which endured despite the price he willingly paid for them, is said to have earned him only ridicule and derision in Restoration France, when Bonapartism became increasingly unpopular.
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