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Scientists prove Napoleon was NOT poisoned by the British
Italian scientists say they have proved Napoleon was not poisoned, scotching the legend the French emperor was murdered by his British jailors.
Napoleon: NOT poisoned by his British jailers, according to scientists
Napoleon's post-mortem said he died of stomach cancer aged 51, but the theory he was assassinated to prevent any return to power has gained credence in recent decades as some studies indicated his body contained a high level of the poison arsenic.
"It was not arsenic poisoning that killed Napoleon at Saint Helena," said researchers at the University of Pavia who tested the theory the British killed him while he was in exile on the South Atlantic island in 1821.
The Italian research - which studied hair samples from various moments in his life which are kept in museums in Italy and France - showed Napoleon's body did have a high level of arsenic, but that he was already heavily contaminated as a boy.
The scientists used a nuclear reactor to irradiate the hairs to get an accurate measure of the levels of arsenic.
Looking at hairs from several of Napoleon's contemporaries, including his wife and son, they found arsenic levels were generally much higher than is common today.
"The result? There was no poisoning in our opinion because Napoleon's hairs contain the same amount of arsenic as his contemporaries," the researchers said in a statement published on the university's website.