Why was Napoleon exiled to St Helena?
After Napoleon I, emperor of France, was defeated at Waterloo in 1815, he was banished to a remarkably remote location…
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 from the island 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.
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In 1815, the British Royal Navy controlled the Atlantic, making an 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.
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