Exile in Saint Helena and Death
Napoléon was imprisoned and then exiled by the British to the island of Saint Helena (2,800 km off the Bight of Guinea) starting on 15 October 1815. There, with a small cadre of followers, he dictated his memoirs and criticized his captors. In the last half of April 1821, he wrote out his own will and several codicils (a total of 40-odd pages) himself. When he died, on 5 May 1821, his last words were: "France, the Army, Joséphine."
In 1955 the diaries of Louis Marchand, Napoléon's valet, appeared in print. He describes Napoléon in the months leading up to his death, and led many, most notably Sten Forshufvud and Ben Weider, to conclude that he had been killed by arsenic poisoning. Arsenic was at the time sometimes used as a poison undetectable when administered over a long period of time. In 2001 Pascal Kintz, of the Strasbourg Forensic Institute in France, added credence to this claim with a study of arsenic levels found in a lock of Napoléon's hair preserved after his death, with seven to thirty-eight times normal levels.
Cutting up hairs into short segments and analysing each segment individually provides a histogram of arsenic concentration in the body. This analysis on hair from Napoléon suggests that large but non-lethal doses were absorbed at random intervals. The arsenic severely weakened Napoléon and stayed in his system. There, it could react with calomel- and mercury-based compounds -- common medicines at the time -- which would be the immediate cause of his death.
Napoléon's tomb in Les Invalides
More recent analysis on behalf of the magazine Science et Vie showed that similar concentrations of arsenic can be found in Napoléon's hair in samples taken from 1805, 1814 and 1821. The lead investigator (Ivan Ricordel, head of toxicology for the Paris Police) stated that if arsenic was the cause, he should have died years earlier. Arsenic was also used in some wallpaper, as a green pigment, and even in some patent medicines, and the group suggested that the most likely source in this case was a hair tonic. Prior to the discovery of antibiotics, arsenic was also a widely used, but ineffective, treatment for syphilis. (This has led to speculation that Napoléon might have suffered from syphilis.) Controversy remains as the Science et Vie analysis has not addressed all points of the arsenic poisoning theory.
Napoléon married twice, first to Josephine de Beauharnais (whom he crowned as Empress Josephine, and by whom he had no heirs, leading to a divorce) and second to Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, who became his second empress. He had one child by Marie-Louise: Napoléon Francis Joseph Charles Bonaparte (1812-1833), King of Rome (known as Napoleon II of France although he never ruled). Napoléon also had at least two illegitimate children: Charles, Count Léon, (1806 - 1881) (son of Louise Catherine Eléonore Denuelle de la Plaigne 1787 - 1868) and Alexandre Joseph Colonna, Count Walewski, (1810 - 1868) (son of Maria, Countess Walewski 1789 - 1817), who both had descendants.
Other information points to Napoléons's having had further illegitimate children: Émilie Louise Marie Françoise Joséphine Pellapra, (daughter of Françoise-Marie LeRoy), Karl Eugin von Mühlfeld (son of Victoria Kraus), and Barthélemy St Hilaire (unknown). Also Hélène Napoleone Bonaparte (daughter of Countess Montholon).
Napoléon had asked in his will to be buried on the banks of the Seine, but when he died in 1821 he was buried on Saint Helena. This final wish was not executed until 1840, when his remains were taken to France and entombed in Les Invalides, Paris.
Napoléon's marshals included Jean Baptiste Bessières, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, Source | Copyright