Why was Napoleon exiled to St Helena?

When he was defeated in 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte was given the Mediterranean island of Elba to rule with an army of 1,000 men. He escaped the next year, only to be defeated at Waterloo. This time, his enemies wanted to incarcerate him in a place from which he could definitely not escape. They chose St Helena. This island of 47 square miles lies in the South Atlantic Ocean, some 1,200 miles from the nearest land. It is one of the most remote places on Earth.

In 1815, the British Royal Navy controlled the Atlantic, making escape from St Helena virtually impossible. Deciding that was not enough, the British put Napoleon under armed guard, stripped him of most of his companions and placed him a lonely, windswept house named Longwood. Despite such precautions there were plots to rescue Napoleon, including one hatched by a group of French ex-soldiers living in Texas (then a province of Mexico) who wanted to resurrect the Napoleonic Empire in North America. The plans came to nothing and Napoleon died on the island in 1821. Via Why was Napoleon exiled to St Helena?

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One Response to Why was Napoleon exiled to St Helena?

  1. alfy says:

    These days Napoleon would be classed as a war criminal because his actions resulted in thousands of needless deaths, many of them Frenchmen. On the 1812 expedition to Moscow most of the 100 000 Frenchmen died as well as many Russian peasants and Napoleon abandoned his army at the last, leaving them to find their own way home.
    Had the Allies hanged Napoleon in 1814 there would have been no “hundred days”, no battle of Waterloo, and the lives of thousands of soldiers would have been spared. Many at the time called for him to be hanged, and it is a source of surprise that he was treated with such absurd generosity.

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