Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852)

wellingtoncropBorn the fourth son of English aristocrats living in Dublin, Arthur Wellesley joined the British Army in 1787, serving in Flanders and later in India. In 1808, as a major-general, he was sent to Portugal, where he opened a new front against the enemy, creating a persistent drain on French manpower and materiel. Over the course of the next several years, he would drive the French out of the Iberian Peninsula and help force Napoleon’s abdication at Fontainebleau. In 1815, Wellesley (now the Duke of Wellington) commanded Anglo-Dutch forces in Belgium. Though initially surprised by Napoleon’s rapid advance upon Brussels, he went on to defeat the French in a masterful defensive battle at Waterloo. Hailed as a hero of the British Empire, Wellington would go on to serve as Prime Minister from 1828 to 1830.

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