Profile: Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, born 1st May 1769 – 14th September 1852 was a senior soldier and Tory statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century, serving twice as the Prime Minister. He won a notable victory against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Wellington was born in Dublin, a Protestantin Ireland. He was commissioned as an ensign in the British Army in 1787, serving in Ireland to two successive Lord Leiutenant of Ireland. He was also elected as an MP in the Irish House of Commons. He was a colonel by 1796 and saw action in Holland and in India, where he fought in the Forth Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was appointed governor of Seringapatam and Mysore in 1799 and, as a newly appointed major-general, won a decisive victory over the Maratha Confederacy at the Battle ofAssaye in 1803.

Wellington rose to prominence as a general during the Peninsular Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, and was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal after leading the allied forces to victory against the French Empire at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813. Following Napoleon’s exile in 1814, he served as the ambassador to France and was granted a dukedom. During the Hundred Days in 1815, he commanded the allied army which, together with a Prussian Army under Blucher, defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Wellington’s battle record is exemplary; he ultimately participated in some 60 battles during the course of his military career.

Wellington is famous for his adaptive defensive style of warfare, resulting in several victories against numerically superior forces while minimising his own losses. He is regarded as one of the greatest defensive commanders of all time, and many of his tactics and battle plans are still studied in military academies around the world.

After the end of his active military career, he returned to politics. He was twice British Prime Minister as part of Tory party: from 1828 to 1830, and for a little less than a month in 1834. He oversaw the passage of the Catholic Relief Act 1829, but opposed the Reform Act 1832. He continued as one of the leading figures in the House of Lords until his retirement and remained Commander in Chief of the British Army until his death.

Ben Davidson

Hello, I have been studying all aspects of history for about 25 years. I have a BA History from the University of Bedfordshire. My historical areas of interest are anything really, but I specialise in 19th - 20th century Britain, America and Ireland. I am also strongly aligned with most military history, really enjoying WW2 and the US Civil War. Chuck in the king or queen and Bob's your uncle.

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