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Duke of Wellington

(Arthur Wellesley)

1769–1852
Civilization: British — England
   Field of Renown:  military — General
Era:  Foundation

Duke of Wellington
NOT TILL AFTER THE BATTLE DID BLUCHER AND WELLINGTON MEET.
The Duke of Wellington, is one of the best known military leaders associated with the Napoleonic Wars. He gained renown for his grueling, five year campaign against the French on the Iberian Peninsula, during the Peninsular War, but he is best known for leading the allies against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. He was a careful and conservative general who frequently won battles in difficult circumstances and inspired discipline and loyalty in his troops. As a well respected commander, he gravitated naturally toward politics and became a leader of the Tory party after the War, and eventually Prime Minister.

In Wellington's youth he did not show particular signs of promise. His talent as a military leader was not apparent until he was assigned to India while his brother was governor-general of the region. During nearly ten years in India, he established an excellent reputation both as a military commander and a governor. He defeated Tippoo Sultan in the last of the Mysore Wars and distinguished himself with several very successful campaigns during the Second Maratha War in 1803. His time in India corresponded to period of the French Revolutionary Wars and he returned to England near the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars.

Portugal had long been an close ally of Britain, and opposed Napoleon's "Continental Policy", which forbid trade with England. In 1808 Portugal rebelled, and Napoleon sent troops to France to put down the rebellion. At this time, Wellington was sent drive the French out of Portugal, which he did successfully before being recalled to England. He returned the following year however, as it became clear that the Spanish as well as the Portuguese were trying to resist Napoleon, and Britain was duty-bound to help. For the next four years Wellington led the combined Anglo-Portuguese-Spanish effort against the French, and succeeded in driving them from the Iberian Peninsula. He was still campaigning in early 1914 when Napoleon surrendered in Paris.

Relief at the allies victory over Napoleon was short lived however. He soon escaped from his imprisonment on Elba, retook control of the French army, and made a quick offensive into the Rhine Valley with the object of attacking the allies before they could muster their forces. With very little warning, Wellington met Napoleon for the first time, at the Battle of Waterloo. After a horrendous conflict Wellington and his Prussian ally Blucher were victorious, and the Napoleonic Wars were finally brought to a close. Wellington was a conservative general, and afterward, became a conservative politician and a leader of the Tory party. He served as Prime Minister in the early years of Victoria's reign and somewhat ironically, was a champion of Catholic Emancipation in Ireland.


Key events during the life of Arthur Wellesley:


Year
Event
1769
Born the third son of protestant noble in Ireland
1785
Attends military school in France.
1787
Received a commission in the army and rose through the ranks.
1794
First active duty in Flanders.
1796
Promoted to colonel, and assigned to India.
1798
Fought in the Final Mysore Wars against Tippoo Sultan.
1799
Appointed governor of Seringapatam by his brother, then general-governor of India.
1803
Led a very successful campaign in the Maratha Wars.
1805
Returned to England, married, elected to Parliament.
1808
Sent to Portugal and drove the French out in the first campaign of the Peninsular War.
1809
Sir John Moore dies at the Battle of Corunna
1809
Wellington returns to Portugal and opens and offensive. Great victory at Talavera.
1810
Builds Lines of Torres Vedras to protect Portugal.
1812
Led Anglo-Portuguese offensive, as soon as Napoleon withdrew troops for Russian Campaign.
1813
Final Anglo-Portuguese offensive drives the French across the Pyrenees.
1814
Napoleon surrenders to the allies in Paris
1814
Napoleon returns to power. Defeated by Wellington and Blucher at Waterloo.
1819
became involved in politics; appointed to a Tory post.
1827
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Other Resources


Story Links
Book Links
The French in Spain  in  Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner
From Lisbon to the Pyrenees  in  English History Stories - III  by  Alfred J. Church
Waterloo  in  English History Stories - III  by  Alfred J. Church
Peninsular War  in  The Hanoverians  by  C. J. B. Gaskoin
Waterloo  in  The Hanoverians  by  C. J. B. Gaskoin
Story of Wellington  in  St Paul's Cathedral  by  Mrs. F. Lord
George III—The Battle of Waterloo  in  Our Island Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Wellington in  Book of Famous Soldiers  by  J. W. McSpadden
Nelson and Wellington  in  Europe and the Great War  by  Charles Morris
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington  in  Great Englishmen  by  M. B. Synge
Rise of Wellington  in  Struggle for Sea Power  by  M. B. Synge
Victory of Talavera  in  Struggle for Sea Power  by  M. B. Synge
Wellington's Victories in Spain  in  Struggle for Sea Power  by  M. B. Synge
Eve of Waterloo  in  Struggle for Sea Power  by  M. B. Synge
Waterloo  in  Boy's Book of Battles  by  Eric Wood


Image Links


Heroes of Waterloo
 in The Hanoverians

The Meeting of Wellington and Blucher
 in The Story of the English

Sir Arthur Wellesley
 in Peeps at History - India
Arthur, Duke of Wellington
Arthur, Duke of Wellington
 in Soldiers and Sailors
A Review of the British Army by Wellington
A Review of the British Army by Wellington
 in Soldiers and Sailors

Not till after the battle did Blucher and Wellington meet.
 in Our Island Story

Wellington at Waterloo
 in Great Englishmen

The Duke of Wellington
 in Reign of Queen Victoria


Contemporary
Short Biography
Victoria I Longest reigning English Monarch. Presided over the British Empire at its height.
Napoleon One of the greatest military geniuses of all time. Overran Europe. Crowned himself Emperor.
Marshal Blucher Prussian Field Marshall who opposed Napoleon at Leipzig and Waterloo. (At age 72!)
Marquess Wellesley Governor-general of India, fought Second Maratha and Mysore wars. Later, promoted Catholic emancipation.
John Moore Napoleonic War hero who died at the Battle of Coruna.
Viscount Beresford One of Wellington's chief generals in the Peninsular War.


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