Wednesday, June 10, 2015

NAPOLEON | June 18–Waterloo, 1815

The Battle of Waterloo ended Napoleon's 100 days' comeback on his return from exile in March 1815.

Waterloo was the final end of his rule as Emperor of France.

Now in Belgium, Waterloo was then within the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Napoleon was defeated by an English army under the command of the Duke of Wellington supported by a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher.

Napoleon had returned to power in March 1815. Many states joined together as the Seventh Coalition to resist his return.

Two large forces under Wellington and Blücher assembled near the north-eastern border of France. Napoleon chose to attack in the hope of destroying them before they could join in a coordinated invasion of France with other allies.

Waterloo was the decisive engagement. It was Napoleon's last. According to Wellington, the battle was "the nearest-run thing you ever saw".

Two days before the battle, Blücher's Prussian army had been defeated by the French at Ligny. Upon learning that the Prussian army had regrouped and was able to march to his support, Wellington held his line against repeated attacks by the French.

In the evening of that Sunday, June 18,  the Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon's right flank. At that moment, Wellington's army counter-attacked and sent Napoleon's army into a confused retreat.

Poet laureate Robert Southey said that Waterloo was “the greatest deliverance that civilized society has experienced” since Charles Martel repelled an Islamic conquest of Europe in 732.

The New York Times today noted that Belgium has minted a new coin in remembrance of Waterloo's 200th anniversary, and noted the pleasure of the Belgians in remembering the date and figuring a way to get around the EU rules against competitive coinage (it did so by coining an unusual denomination). The Times added:
In Britain,  the new €2.50 coin aroused similar adulation. “Well done Belgium beat the French at their own game of finding ways around EU rules, the English should take note!!” Michael Dunn, from Stratford-upon-Avon, wrote on Twitter. Others were less impressed. On Facebook, Manuel Di Pietrantonio suggested that the value of the dispute was about €2.50.

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