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Napoleon Bonaparte

The final resting place of the French Emperor

Napoleon St Helena

Napoleon Bonaparte was brought to the St Helena in October 1815. In his first two months here he lived in a pavilion on the Briars estate, just up the valley from Jamestown, and moved to Longwood House in December 1815.

It appears Napoleon took a little while to adjust to his new circumstances. The “History of the Island of St. Helena”, by T. H. Brooke, Esq., published in 1824 records that:

“Upon an island of twenty-eight miles in circumference, which did not feed a population of hardly four thousand souls, and four hundred leagues distant from the nearest continent, it could not be expected that, upon so short a notice for the reception of its new visitants, they could obtain the kind of accommodation to which they had been accustomed; and, in a place where fresh beef was so precious as to have occasioned restrictions upon its consumption, it may well be conceived that sensations of no ordinary nature were excited at a demand from the maître-d’hotel of the Ex-Emperor, a few days after his arrival, for four bullocks, in order to make a dish of brains: of this demand, however, Buonaparte himself knew nothing, until Sir George Cockburn explained the objections to its being complied with, and the refusal is understood to have been received with perfect good humour.”

Napoleon St Helena

Napoleon St Helena

The Emperor was closely guarded, despite the apparent inaccessibility of St. Helena. It was a requirement of the Governor that every visitor to Longwood House should be issued with a pass, signed by himself. The Times published articles insinuating the British government was trying to hasten his death, and he often complained of the living conditions in letters to Governor Hudson Lowe. (Although Governor Lowe was partly responsible for the ending of slavery on St. Helena, his treatment of Napoleon is regarded by historians as poor, imposing inter alia a rule that no gifts could be delivered to Napoleon if they mentioned his imperial status.)

In February 1821, Napoleon’s health began to deteriorate rapidly, and on 3rd May two physicians attended on him but could only recommend palliatives.  He died two days later, his last words being, “La France, l’armée, tête d’armée, Joséphine” (“France, the army, head of the army, Joséphine”).

In his will Napoleon asked to be buried on the banks of the Seine, but the British Governor, Hudson Lowe, said he should be buried on St. Helena, in the Valley of the Willows (now Sane Valley).

Learn more about his tomb →

Napoleon St Helena

Napoleon’s Tomb on St Helena

Today Longwood House stands as one of the best Napoleonic Museum in the world, almost frozen in time from 1821 with original furniture complemented with over 900 artifacts. This is due to the sterling work by the island’s Honorary French Consul, Michel Dancoisne-Martineau, with the support of Foundation Napoleon and over 2000 donators. Whilst Napoleon is no longer on the island following his exhumation from Sane Valley 19 years after his death, you can still feel his lasting legacy across St Helena. All the Napoleonic attractions on St Helena; Longwood House, Briars Pavilion and Napoleon’s Tomb, are owned by the French Government which you can visit when visiting St Helena.

Longwood house

Longwood House. One of the best Napoleonic Museum in the world.

Napoleon St Helena

Napoleon Bonaparte death scene.

Napoleon St Helena

Painting of Napoleon’s funeral.

Napoleon St Helena

Briars Pavilion on St Helena.  One of the places where Napoleon stayed while on St Helena.

We were inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte to make a french inspired St Helena patisserie. Which we called Napoleons Delight.  We tried to include some things that Napoleon enjoyed himself.  Below is a video of us making it.  And here is the recipe for Napoleon’s Delight if you would like to make it and read more about our inspiration. 

One of the Top 10 Things to do on St Helena

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