Fort he first time in Latin America the International Napoleonic Society will celebrate its congress of experts in Havana.
The institution, which promotes academic studies on Napoleon Bonaparte and the culture of the epoch he lived, brought together in Cuba twelve nations such as France, the United States, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Canada, Russia, England and Poland.
For 12th edition of the event, researchers met in the Cuban capital, which surprisingly treasures one of the most significant Napoleonic collections in the world and the largest and most valuable in the continent.
During the congress, sponsored by the City Historian’s Office and the French Embassy in Cuba, more than 30 papers were presented on museology, history, art and restoration, by about a hundred participants on the imprint by this French emperor in the universal history and culture.
The event also assessed the patrimonial value treasured at La Dolce Dimora, a small palace that belonged to Cuban-Italian politician Orestes Ferrara, today Havana’s Napoleonic Museum. Among its inestimable objects there is one of his telescopes, a hat, a back tooth, some hair locks, guns and the bedspread that wrapped him up in his death bed in the island of Santa Elena, among other valuable objects.
This great collection resulted from the passion of sugar magnate Julio Lobo on objects that belonged to Napoleon and those brought to Cuba by his last personal physician Francisco Antonmarchi, who settled in Santiago de Cuba. The doctor accompanied Bonaparte till his last moments and then travelled to several countries researching tropical diseases, which brought him back to Cuba, where he died in 1838 from one of the diseases he studied: yellow fever. Antonmarchi wore the death mask he had made for Bonaparte and the gold watch that marked his last minutes, among other valued possessions.
At the inauguration of the meeting, chaired by US David Markham, the Napoleonic Society presented an award to the City Historian for the thorough restoration of the Napoleonic Museum’s collections.
The event has arranged as part of its program of activities the opening of an exhibit by Cuban sculptor Pavel Valdés of French military artillery at the said museum and the screening of a documentary by Silvia Marina Guana, entitled Napoleon Bonaparte in Cuba.
The next congress will be held in the famous city of Waterloo, in Belgium, on the occasion of the 220 anniversary of the battle in which this remarkable general was defeated.