St Helena Island commemorates Napoleon’s years

Posted in News on October 21st, 2015 by One Greenstone






Napoleon’s Island launches six-year bicentenary marking Emperor’s final years

The focus on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo shifted from Europe to the remote South Atlantic island of St Helena this October, which marked the arrival of its most famous inhabitant, Napoleon Bonaparte, with a series of special commemorative events. Mirroring the emperor’s final years in exile on the sub-tropical isle, St Helena will play host to a six year bicentenary programme, culminating with the anniversary of his death on 5th May 1821

Under British supervision Napoleon became a reluctant French expat, 1,200 miles away from the nearest landmass, on 15th October 1815 after his defeat at the hands of the Duke of Wellington. The ‘Little Corporal’ was to leave a large, lasting legacy on the UK Overseas Territory, which still marks his death in May each year with a moment de memoire at his tomb.

A special programme of events this October included turning St Helena French for a week, an open air movie theatre showing Napoleonic themed films, Napoleon inspired art exhibition, period ball and a classical music recital.

A Napoleonic pilgrimage on St Helena visited Briars Pavilion, where the imprisoned leader spent his first two months, Longwood House, his residence until his death and arguably one of the finest Napoleonic museums in the world, and Napoleon’s Tomb, where he was laid to rest before being exhumed and returned to France in 1840.

A major restoration project led by the French Government and The Foundation Napoleon has seen the rebuilding of the General’s Quarters, where Napoleon’s entourage stayed during his exile. The exterior has been remodelled to appear as seen at the time of Napoleon’s death, while by contrast the interior has been designed as a modern, multi-functional event space. The new General’s Quarters was officially reopened and now also includes two private, self-contained apartments, providing living accommodation for special guests.

The October festivities were held on St Helena from 7th to 18th , culminating with the official opening of the refurbished General’s Quarters. The complete programme of events held can be viewed here along with further events from the six-year programme as details are released.


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