Saint Helena: Napoleon’s Tomb

Napoleon died on May 5, 1821 and was quickly buried in the Valley of Willows despite French clamoring for the return of the body back to France. The British ruled that he should be buried on St Helena and a rather unassuming and modest tomb was erected on top of the grave. It’s a nice 20 minute hike past beautiful trees and white nesting fairy terns to the ex-emperor last resting place. Interestingly, the body was exhumed and returned to France in 1840. To the utter surprise of everyone, it was well preserved, which arose the suspicion of arsenic poisoning since arsenic is a good preservative. The British vehemently denied this and the arsenic theory went down into the annals of history as a conspiracy theory. Napoleon’s remains were returned in France, paraded along Champs-Elysees and finally entombed in a crypt under the dome of Les Invalides. In 2007, research on Napoleon’s hair revealed levels of arsenic at 100 times the norm in a normal person, to which British quickly pointed out that Napoleon was fond of arsenic-rich food as a boy.