MAT-EM.23(BB)

Napoléon Bonaparte

Ashes returned on ship Belle Poule

1840

After Napoleon’s final defeat in the wars that bear his name, he was exiled to the remote island of Saint Helena, which is situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. He died and was buried there in 1821. In 1840, his remains were exhumed and returned to France, where they were eventually laid to rest in the Dôme des Invalides in Paris. This repatriation of the remains was called le retour des cendres , meaning “the return of the ashes”. This triumphal return of France’s dead hero and his 1840 Paris funeral was the occasion of the striking of these medals. This particular piece is in gilt copper, a special gilt specimen of a type that was usually issued in plain bronze.