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Napoleon’s Life—and Mysterious Death—in Exile

By Una McIlvenna

The facts about Napoleon Bonaparte’s life— his awesome military achievements against the united powers of Europe, his sweeping reforms of law and bureaucracy across an entire continent—are extraordinary. But Napoleon Bonaparte’s final years were just as extraordinary, with humiliating exile, a mysterious death at age 51, and a bizarre postmortem chain of events.

After Napoleon was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, he abdicated his throne and surrendered to the British. Rather than execute him and potentially turn him into a martyr, the British placed him in exile on one of the most isolated places on earth—the British-held island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Source: History.