The Battle of Waterloo

In 1815, at the Battle of Waterloo, who led the British army to defeat Napoleon?

And the answer: Duke of Wellington.

Painting of the Duke of Wellington

Marking the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Battle of Waterloo was fought in modern-day Belgium. Napoleon Bonaparte's army from France was defeated by two armies: A British army, under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and a Prussian army, under the command of Field Marshal von Blücher.

The Battle of Waterloo was a decisive and bloody loss for Napoleon and his army. After two bouts of exile and harsh losses to the French army, Napoleon miraculously rallied support for the first time and stood poised to capture Brussels, what would have been a victorious siege and a turning point for the war. However, the coalition of Europe ultimately rallied against any such efforts of the French general. Internal dispute over the future of Europe was swept aside as the coalition reacted to Napoleon's regrowth of French support, and while French armies moved toward Brussels, Anglo forces rose to meet it.

Napoleon knew his men would not be powerful enough to take both the English and the Prussians at once. Several days before the Waterloo attack, his forces drove a wedge between the two armies and began to advance on both fronts. Upon retreat of the Prussian army, Wellington's own men fell back to the advantageous battlefield of Waterloo. It was there that intense bloodshed was set to unfold. While British forces awaited Prussian backup, no decisive leader in the attack became apparent as both sides suffered heavy losses. By the time Prussian support was mobilized, chaos had descended on the field. The French (including Napoleon and his elite Imperial Guard) fled ship. The war was over, and Napoleon had lost.

For a holistic rundown of the iconic Battle of Waterloo, check out the video below.


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