It is best known as being the living place of Napoleon from 1815 until his death in 1821. It is now a museum owned by the French government.
People Born in Longwood
Longwood in People's Lives
Napoleon Bonaparte: I was exiled here in 1815, after waiting for the house to be rehabilitated for a few months spent living in the garden of the Balcombe family. When my retinue and I moved in, I certainly could not see what exactly had been rehabilitated, and saw that Saint Helena renovators could sorely benefit from some better skills and training. I hated the house, which was damp, moldy, and dark, putting me in a gloomy mood. The wind, which never seemed to cease, managed to slip in every little hole in the architecture - and they were not lacking. I also missed being around the friendly Balcombe family, and particularly missed Betsy Balcombe, the girl who had been my translator and also who had become my good friend. I was vocal about my complaints of Longwood, and even suggested that the British were trying to hasten my death by keeping me here. Some of these opinions were printed in British newspapers, and I gathered much sympathy back in England, to my surprise. My custodian, Hudson Lowe, was completely unmoved by my pleas, and enforced strict rules on my captivity, many of which were unneccesarily harsh. While here, I paced anxiously about like a captive tiger in a cage, continued my friendship with Betsy (as rumors of an affair swirled), and took up gardening, of all things. I died here in 1821, and in my last words spoke of Josephine, the love of my life. I gave a confession to a local priest, and requested to be buried on the banks of the Seine. This request, after my death, was rejected, and I was buried here under an unnamed gravestone - something I would have been horrified about, if I had been alive to see it. Imagine me, one of the most powerful men that the world has ever known, resting on this godforsaken land in an unmarked grave. Betsy mourned my death, and planted a weeping willow tree on my grave. She later took cuttings from the tree and used them to grow weeping willows in Australia, the first introduction of that tree to the country. Years later, in 1840, my body was exhumed and transported to be buried with a royal funeral in Paris.