The ultimate sunset of May 5th should be remembered on the island of Saint Helena in 2021

Project Austerlitz was launched to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the most emblematic victory of Napoleon.  I remember this day:  December 2nd, 2005. What a cold and glorious day it was by the Santon! I attended as a spectator, admired the 3500 re-enactors, the sound of the cavalry charges, the smell of powder. Thousands of spectators gathered around the battlefield, some were Napoleon admirers, some were just curious, all left the event with unforgettable memories.

Definitely ,Project Austerlitz was a great success and has successfully taken place each year since then. As time passed since 2005, the bicentenaries have also passed: Iena, Friedland, Wagram, la Moskowa, Leipzig, Waterloo… As 2021 is around the corner, it should be time to commemorate the death of the Emperor on the island of Saint Helena. As it was appropriate to celebrate the rise of the sun on the very battlefield of Austerlitz on December 2nd,2005 , the ultimate sunset of May 5th should be remembered on the island of Saint Helena.

But in 2021 even more than in 1821, the island of Saint Helena may be inaccessible. The island remains one of the only and last places in the world spared by the coronavirus and it intends to remain so.  Even if this means sacrificing a promising tourism economy.Today, the Napoleonic sites on St. Helena exist only for and by the public. France has delegated its management to a local charity: the Saint Helena Napoleonic Heritage Ltd {SHNH}, whose three decision-making administrators are representatives of the government of Saint Helena, the French government and the Fondation Napoléon in Paris.  So, it is up to the SHNH to find the funding for the maintenance and restorations of the places where Emperor Napoleon spent his last years.It is also the responsibility of the SHNH to organize the bicentennial commemorations around the very places where the last years of Napoleon’s life and his death took place.

But the commemorations now seem increasingly jeopardised by the current rule of fourteen days of compulsory quarantine in a sanitary camp…does this mean that the SHNH will miss its long-awaited great rendezvous with the public? – The Saint Helena Napoleonic Heritage does not intend to give up. It is continuing its efforts to promote its heritage by distributing a daily bicentennial newspaper on social networks (Facebook : @DomNatFr.SainteHelene/ by creating and distributing a few souvenirs offered for sale, and by doing everything possible to ensure that the memory of the Emperor on Saint Helena is honoured with dignity and high standards. It continues and will continue to act without respite.

More than ever, during this troubled period, we need your support. Join us on our page Help us to make 2021, this anniversary year, the first year that St. Helena will enter, and remainfor a long time, in the hearts of the Emperor’s admirers.

Michel Dancoisne-Martineau, honorary consul of France on Saint Helena, director of the French domains
Eric Barthe, director of development at Saint Helena Napoleonic Heritage