Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Was Napoleon poisoned with Arsenic?

After Napoleons defeat at the battle of waterloo the Napoleon Bonaparte, The French Emperor was sent into exile on the tiny Island St. Helena in the south Atlantic. He spent five years in exile and died on May5th 1921. During his exile his health declined rapidly.

From 1819 Napoleon was under the care of Dr. Antommarchi, he performed the post mortem and it was supervised by five British doctors. He confirmed that he was died of stomach cancer but many people did not accept that official postmortem as genuine one. And they suspected the Bonaparte was poisoned with arsenic.

Napoleon was first treated by Dr.O’Meara., In 1817he had written an report , In that report he stated that his gums were full of holes and he was suffered insomnia, swollen legs ,attacks of migraine and hot flushes. In his view napoleon was suffered from scurvy because of unbalanced diet.

But modern scientist Rene Maury saw in his description the symptom of arsenic poisoning, which was unknown till 19th century. Forensic scientists dismissed his report. Maury put forward a second argument which pointed out that when the rulers body was returned to France in 1840 the corpse inside the coffin was not decomposed because of arsenic fed to his body, but the climatic condition of St Helena may be slowed the process of de compose and also his coffin was placed in the nest of three progressive coffins which may kept the body in air tight condition which slowed the decomposing.

If he was murdered means who was the murderer, possible suspects included an agent of the Bourbons, the French royal family who were restored to the throne in 1814 and owed their positions to Napoleons defeat. Another view was also pointed the British doctors who would certainly wished to get rid of him, Maury how ever claimed to have discovered the real suspect in the Count de Mantholen who was responsible for the house hold of the exile emperor. One of his tasks was to procure wine from South Africa. Hence he could easily add the poison. There is a strong motive behind it. According to the emperors will Count stood to receive a large sum of money so that may be a motive behind him.

In 1960 and 1994 tests were conducted and that revealed the traces of arsenic hence the poison could have come from food or water of St. Helena.

The historian concerned was how to evaluate the cause of death apart from cancer. Antommarchi also diagnosed an enlargement and inflammation liver as well as diagnosed tuberculosis in his lungs.

The French authors asserted that the condition of the island were unhealthy for hasten the emperor’s death only, the British sent the emperor to St.Helina. But British stated that the reports of personal physician of Napoleon was manipulated in the later stage and they also pointed out the stomach cancer was common in Napoleons family and that his death could not be liked to the unhygienic condition of the Island.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting.

    It is very satisfying to discover some fact today and then look for different sources on internet to try to understand what had happened.


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