What were the true Causes of Napoleon’s Death?


Napoleon Bonaparte is name known to all, he was one of the greatest military generals of his times. The mighty English were wary of his warfare tactics. But in 1813 Napoleon was finally defeated by the coalition forces in Leipzig. Napoleon was forced to abdicate and the English exiled him to island of Elba. But within a year he escaped from Elba, but he faced defeat in the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. He was exiled to the Atlantic island of Saint Helena where he was under arrest. Six years later at the age of 52 he braethed his last. His last words were “Head of Army”. For nearly 200 years after his death there were allegations of murder labelled against the British. Many felt the British were scared that Napoleon would return back to France again and stage an uprising that would be hard for the British to resist, thus the authorities decided to end his life.

Napoleon Bonaparte - the Great Military General

An autopsy conducted after the death of Napoleon Bonaparte stated that he had died of stomach cancer. But advanced studies conducted in 1961 found some evidence of arsenic in the ruler’s hair. Soon the rumors of poisoning ran rife. British on their part had many motives to kill Napoleon too. But recently conducted medical investigations over the death of Napoleon confirmed that the Emperor had indeed died of natural causes.

Portrait of Napoleon in his Death Bed

The results were furnished after going through the autopsy reports, Bonaparte’s physician memoirs, family medical histories and eyewitness accounts. These findings were migled with modern medical knowledge to come to a conclusion. They concluded that it was an advanced case of gastric cancer that killed Napoleon and not earlier specualted arsenic poisoning. The medical investigators further claimed that the immediate cause of his death was gastrointestinal bleeding. The physical condition of this great Emperor was so critical that even he had been released he would not have been able to change the course of European history. Even in modern times when there are sophisticated equipments and chemotherapies seldom do we see a patient with advanced stages of gastric cancer (as Napoleon had) survive.

Napoleon's Death Mask

The autopsy done by Bonaparte’s physician claims that Napoleon had two ulcerated lessions. The large one in the stomach while the smaller one had pierced through his stomach walls and reached the liver. The lessions were at least 10 centimeters long and thus they were definitely cancerous in nature. Even if the Emperor was treated today he would survive no more than a year. The cancer had spread throughout other organs. It was revealed that Napoleon’s father also died from cancer.

Cancer was caused due to a ulcer causing bacterial infection that Napoleon might have incurred. Napoleon had to sustain on salt preserved foods and not much fruits or vegetables during his extended military campaigns. This increased his risks of gastric cancer.

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