Alfred Nobel was a chemist and industrial born in Stockholm on October 21, 1833, when the kingdoms of Sweden and Norway were united (1814-1905). In 1866, he invented dynamite, a powerful explosive that soon had application in mining and armament, which consolidated his great fortune.
In 1873 he installed himself in a splendid mansion in Paris. In 1890, due to problems related with the patent of a new invention, the ballistite, he moved to Villa Nobel in San Remo. In 1894 he expanded his business to Sweden and bought the steel company Bofors, in the Swedish town of Karlskoga. The company included the beautiful mansion Björkborn, where he spent the summers.
In the last years of his life he made several provisions about how to distribute his fortune. On November 27, 1895, at Paris' Swedish-Norwegian Club, he wrote what would be his last will and testament, origin of the prizes that have perpetuated his surname and made it equivalent to excellence in several disciplines. Bertha von Suttner, famous pacifist and a great friend of Nobel’s, inspired him to create the Peace Prize.
He died at home in San Remo on December 10, 1896, when he was 63 years old. The Swedish clergyman Nathan Soderblom, who would receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his ecumenical work in 1930, officiated. He was buried at the cemetery in Northern Stockholm. When he died, he had 355 registered patents and more than one hundred factories spread over twenty countries.
In 1900 the Nobel Foundation, responsible for managing his fortune and awarding the famous prizes, was established.
In 1901 the First Nobel Prize Award Ceremony took place. The prizes are awarded in Oslo and Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death.