Who: Napoleon Bonaparte vs. the Duke of Wellington and Gebhard von Blücher
What: The enormous final battle of the Napoleonic Wars.
Where: Waterloo, south of Brussels in Belgium.
Why: Napoleon trying to consolidate his position, the coalition trying to remove him. Again.
When: 18th June 1815.
“My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender.” – ABBA
In 1814, a Sixth Coalition took advantage of Napoleon’s disastrous campaign in Russia and, after defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig, invaded France and ousted the Emperor, replacing him with King Louis XVIII and exiling him to the Italian island of Elba. He was there for nine months, before returning to France in February 1815. The King fled, and Napoleon began to consolidate his return to government. The British, Austrians, Russians and Prussians each raised 150,000 men in order to again end his rule. The British met Napoleon at Waterloo, where rain dulled Napoleon’s artillery’s effectiveness. After delaying the battle due to the sodden ground, Napoleon pounced. The well-entrenched British withstood repeated attacks from the French, before the Prussians arrived and broke through Napoleon’s flank. Napoleon, who had been comprehensively defeated, and had yet come so close, was exiled again, this time to the remote island of St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean.