Sten Forshufvud

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Sten Gabriel Bernhard Forshufvud (9 February 1903 – 25 June 1985) was a Swedish dentist and physician, and amateur toxicologist (expert on poisons) who formulated and supported the controversial theory that Napoleon was assassinated by a member of his entourage while in exile. [1] He wrote a book, in Swedish, about this in 1961, which was translated the following year as Who Killed Napoleon? [2] He later published his ideas in English, in the 1983 book Assassination At St. Helena: The Poisoning Of Napoleon Bonaparte, a book on whose authorship Ben Weider, co-author (with David Hapgood) of the book The Murder Of Napoleon, published the year earlier, which also advanced Forshufvud's ideas, collaborated.

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million of which 2.4 million has a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi). The highest concentration is in the southern half of the country.

Dentist healthcare occupation

A dentist, also known as a dental surgeon, is a surgeon who specializes in dentistry, the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. The dentist's supporting team aids in providing oral health services. The dental team includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and in some states, dental therapists.

Toxicology branch of biology, chemistry, and medicine

Toxicology is a discipline, overlapping with biology, chemistry, pharmacology, and medicine, that involves the study of the adverse effects of chemical substances on living organisms and the practice of diagnosing and treating exposures to toxins and toxicants. The relationship between dose and its effects on the exposed organism is of high significance in toxicology. Factors that influence chemical toxicity include the dosage, route of exposure, species, age, sex, and environment. Toxicologists are experts on poisons and poisoning.


Early life

Forshufvud was born in Ramsele, Sweden and was the son of district medical officer Oscar Bengtsson and Eva Melin. [3] He passed his studentexamen in Uddevalla in 1921 and passed his dental exam in 1924 and was active as a dental surgeon at the University of Bordeaux in 1934. [4] Once back to Sweden, he carried on his studies in Biology at Lund University, where he conducted the research for his Ph.D. thesis in Medicine; this he published in 1941. [1] [4] Forshufvud received his doctor of odontology degree in 1949. [3]

Ramsele Place in Ångermanland, Sweden

Ramsele is a locality situated in Sollefteå Municipality, Västernorrland County, Sweden with 968 inhabitants in 2010. Since the 1960s, the population has decreased from 1563 to 968. It is situated by the river Faxälven about 70 km north-west of Sollefteå. The oldest known name of the town is "Rannasild", according to a local book about the area. Later it was known as Hrafnasil, a name which probably originated from Old Norse, and literally meant 'Calm water of ravens'. The oldest evidence of settlement is a church from the late 13th century.

Studentexamen former university entrance examination in Sweden

Studentexamen was the name of the university entrance examination in Sweden from the 17th century until 1968, during the period 1862–1968 taken as a final written and oral exam on graduation from gymnasium. In Finland the examination still exists. The exam traces its origin to the academic statutes from 1655 requiring the dean to examine students arriving at university before allowing matriculation. According to the school reglement of 1693, a prospective student was to have gone through both a final examination at school and an entrance examination at university. The school reglement of 1724 allowed students without a final examination from school to enroll at university, provided a person known at the university would guarantee their behaviour, which led to it becoming common for students from wealthy families to be matriculated at a very young age, accompanied by a private tutor. Although these were not actually supposed to be allowed to graduate, this rule was not always strictly upheld.

Uddevalla Place in Bohuslän, Sweden

Uddevalla is a town and the seat of Uddevalla Municipality in Västra Götaland County, Sweden. In 2010, it had a population of 31,212.

Forensic investigation of Napoleon's death


Forshufvud tested five of Napoleon's hairs with Ben Weider for traces of arsenic. They found fluctuations of arsenic levels ranging from normal to 38 times greater than average. This would purportedly suggest that Napoleon was given arsenic in different concentrations at different times for almost five years prior to his death.


Forshufvud's findings have been disputed since the hairs that were tested have never been decisively dated, or even proven to be Napoleon's. However, all of the hair samples that Forshufvud had tested by an independent laboratory were family heirlooms that were handed down through generations. Plus all the samples were very similar. These hair samples were supposedly given to members of Napoleon's staff and others he favored. Several samples of these hairs did not pass through Forshufvud's hands and were sent directly to the testing laboratory in Scotland. All supported Forshufvud's theory. [5]


Forshufvud and Weider suggested that their theory that Napoleon was assassinated by a Frenchman who served on Napoleon's staff during his exile (their most likely suspect being Montholon) was repugnant to the French people, who now honor Napoleon as one of France's great heroes. As a result, they understood that their "proof of poisoning" would always be questioned or ridiculed by those serving France.

Charles Tristan, marquis de Montholon French army commander

Charles Tristan, marquis de Montholon was a French general during the Napoleonic Wars. He chose to go into exile on Saint Helena with the ex-Emperor after Napoleon's second abdication.

Personal life and death

In his first marriage, in 1925, he married Karin Thorsell. [4] In his second marriage, in 1950, he married Ulla-Britta Björkman (born 1925), the daughter of merchant Picco Björkman and Elsa Carlstedt. He was the father of Gull (born 1926), Ragnar (born 1931), Lennart (born 1951), Roland (born 1954) and Rickard (born 1957). [3] Forshufvud died on 25 June 1985 in Gothenburg, Sweden. [6] He is buried at Stampen Cemetery in Gothenburg. [7]

Gothenburg City in Västergötland and Bohuslän, Sweden

Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden, fifth-largest in the Nordic countries, and capital of the Västra Götaland County. It is situated by Kattegat, on the west coast of Sweden, and has a population of approximately 570,000 in the city center and about 1 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area.


  1. 1 2 Riaud, Xavier. "DR STEN FORSHUFVUD. A DETECTIVE OF HISTORY". Retrieved June 15, 2009.
  2. Forshufvud, Sten (1961). Vem mördade Napoleon?: nya forskningsresultat som kastar ljus över dramat på S:t Helena[Who killed Napoleon?: new research that sheds light on the drama of St. Helena] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier.
  3. 1 2 3 Harnesk, Paul, ed. (1965). Vem är vem?. 3, Götaland, utom Skåne, Halland, Blekinge [Who is Who?. 3, Götaland, except Scania, Halland, Blekinge] (in Swedish) (2nd ed.). Stockholm: Vem är vem. p. 353.
  4. 1 2 3 Harnesk, Paul, ed. (1948). Vem är vem?. D. 3, Götalandsdelen utom Skåne [Who is Who?. D. 3, Götaland part except Scania] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Vem är vem bokförlag. p. 308.
  5. Weider D, Forshufvud S. Assassination At St.Helena. 1983. Berkley Books.[ page needed ]
  6. Sveriges dödbok 1901-2009[Swedish death index 1901-2009](DVD-ROM) (in Swedish) (Version 5.0 ed.). Solna: Sveriges släktforskarförbund. 2010. ISBN   978-91-87676-59-8.
  7. "Forshufvud, Sten Gabriel Bernhard" (in Swedish). Retrieved 5 January 2016.

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