Since his death at the time he was imprisoned by the British on the island of St. Helena in 1821, claims that Napoleon Bonaparte was killed or managed to escape from the island have not completely disappeared. Here are the main hypotheses on the death of the former French emperor
My death is premature. “I am being killed by the English oligopoly, and the killers employed by them.” These were the bitter words of Napoleon Bonaparte when he dictated his last will in April 1821. One of the most successful manipulators in history, Napoleon was a man who took his revenge with him to the grave.
One day after his death while in prison by the British on May 5, 1821, 16 people took part in an autopsy on Napoleon’s body, including seven doctors. They came to a unanimous conclusion: the former emperor had died of stomach cancer.
However, the suspicions never disappeared: Did the British government hasten his death? Did his rivals in France poison his glass of wine? Was Napoleon really the one who died in Longud Hauz in May 1821? For nearly two centuries, all of these questions and many more have been constantly discussed, debated, and recycled.
Born into a modest Corsican family in 1769, in 1811 Napoleon Bonaparte ruled over 70 million people and dominated Europe. Four years later, his dynastic, political, imperial, and military dreams turned to dust and ashes, and he was exiled to the remote island of St. Helena, in the South Atlantic, under British surveillance.
There until his death, he and his family lived in a villa called Longud Hauz. But the death of the former French emperor did not happen all of a sudden. For months, Napoleon had suffered from severe abdominal pain, vomiting, night sweats, and fever.
When he did not suffer from constipation, he was affected by diarrhea. He lost a lot of weight. Napoleon also complained of headaches, physical weakness. He began to speak with great difficulty. Teeth, lips and nails lost their natural color.
In short, he was convinced he was being poisoned. But later, he began to think that he was suffering from the same cancer that had taken his father’s life. Therefore all medical assistance was useless. On May 4, 1821, he lost consciousness. On May 5, word spread that the great leader had died.
From that moment on, many questions and theories arose. The first conspiracy theory was articulated by the Irishman Berri O’Miara, who had been a surgeon on the ship HMS Bellerophon, when Napoleon surrendered to its captain after the Battle of Waterloo. O’Miara later became Napoleon’s personal physician.
The Irish doctor served the former emperor for three years when he dropped the bombing charge that the British governor of St. Helena, Sir Hadson Loiu, had ordered him to “shorten Napoleon’s life.” As expected, O’Miara was fired following the allegations.
Sir Hudson was labeled a vile British. This is the version that has remained in history, and not coincidentally the version that Napoleon wanted the world to believe. The former French emperor had a cunning plan to escape from St. Helena, claiming that the island’s unhealthy climate was severely damaging it.
And for that purpose he used Dr. O’Miara. The latter supported the claims of his famous patient, and in 1818, accused Governor Louis of trying to hasten Napoleon’s death. Meanwhile, in 1822, he published a book claiming that the British government was determined to eliminate any possibility of Napoleon’s return to France.
Many people suspected that O’Miara was right, but no one could prove his accusation.
At that time there was still no method to prove the presence of arsenic in a corpse. If Napoleon had been killed, it seemed as if the killer had disappeared with him. Until the theory of a Swedish dentist came to the fore about 100 years later, on the scenario of its poisoning. When Napoleon’s private letters were published in the 1950s, describing the most intimate details of the emperor’s last days, Dr. Stan Forshufvud believed he had found dubious evidence.
Of the 31 arsenic poisoning symptoms discovered by scientists since 1821, Napoleon had displayed 28 of them. Forshufvud, therefore, asked a Scottish university to do a test that detected traces of arsenic.
The analysis of neutron activation (NAA), which was performed on Napoleon’s hair strands, determined the dates 1816, 1817 and 1818, and revealed high levels of arsenic in his body. O’Miara, it seemed right: Napoleon was killed, but by whom?
Canadian millionaire Ben Weider reached the same conclusion later, using another method. Convinced that Napoleon had been killed, Weider exploited the many memories written by members of the Bonapart family in Longud. His joint book with Dr. Forshufvud, “Murder in St. Helena,” accuses a new suspect in the crime: Napoleon’s old friend Sharl Tristan, the Montolon marker, a very light-hearted character, his wife and who had been seduced by Napoleon.
Tristan was desperate to leave the island, but stayed to win the will personally. The restored kings of the Bourbon dynasty (who were just as interested as the British in the elimination of Napoleon) threatened to make public the misappropriation of military funds by Montolo if he did not agree to poison Napoleon’s drink. with arsenic.
But this theory does not convince everyone. Even if the arsenic killed Napoleon, it did not mean that anyone had killed the former emperor with arsenic. In the 1980s, the debate over poisoning changed course, thinking that Napoleon could simply have absorbed enough arsenic from his environment, which eventually killed him.
A typical 19th century house was overflowing with arsenic: cosmetics, hair tonic, cigarettes, seal wax, cooking utensils, insect repellents, rat poison, frozen dessert cream, all of which were toxic .
When a Newcastle University chemist examined a piece of paper from the wall of a villa in Longud, stolen by a 19th-century tourist, he discovered poisonous gases left in the mold that grows behind him, and that may have contributed to his death. of Napoleon.
Later, researchers tested the hair from Napoleon’s son; his first wife, Empress Josephine; and 10 living people, and concluded that Europeans in the early 19th century had up to 100 times more arsenic in their bodies than the average person today. The FBI, Scotland Yard, the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Strasbourg, and the Paris police laboratories each perform separate tests, and all of which confirmed high levels of arsenic in Napoleon’s body.
But no one could finally answer the question of how the poison had gotten there. Meanwhile, a second debate emerged in the background: his replacement. The idea of the surrogate emperor has been used in movies and novels, and of course Napoleon’s most ardent admirers were (and are) sure he lived much longer. And that the man who died on May 5, 1821, was someone else.
The most surprising version of the replacement theories claims that Napoleon never went to St. Helena. A sozi was sent to his country, while the former emperor went to live in Verona, Italy, until he was shot dead in an attempt to climb the walls of an Austrian palace to see his young son.
Sadly, this story has no documentary basis. The second theory of substitution revolves around Jean Baptist Chiprian, the majority of the villa in Longud until his death in February 1818 during a hepatitis epidemic, and his burial nearby.
Proponents of this theory claim that the British secretly exhumed Napoleon’s body in the late 1820s for unexplained reasons. When confronted with France’s official request in 1840 to exhume Napoleon, and return his remains to Paris, the British quickly pulled Chiprianini’s remains out of his tomb, and dumped them in Napoleon’s empty tomb.
In 1969, on the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s birth, a French journalist even published a sensational appeal to the British: Anglais, Napoleon’s run-nous! (English, give us back Napoleon!).
His startling statement was that the British royal family had reassigned Napoleon to Westminster Abbey, which was the last humiliation for the former emperor.
The most prosaic truth is that Napoleon’s body rests (almost certainly) under the dome of Les Invalides in Paris. However, until the French authorities allow the coffin to be reopened and the relevant tests performed, conspiracy theories will continue to stir the waters. / HistoryExtra – Bota.al