Waterloo Day

June 18 marks the Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, which was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the Netherlands. During the Battle of Waterloo the French army under the command of Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition, comprising an Anglo-allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington and the Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher. Many states opposed Napoleon, who returned to power in March 1815, and formed the Seventh Coalition and began to mobilize armies. Two large forces under Wellington and Blücher assembled close to 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 members of the coalition.

Two days before the battle, Blücher’s Prussian army had been defeated by the French at Ligny. Wellington decided to offer battle upon learning that the Prussian army had regrouped and was able to march to his support. Wellington’s army, positioned across the Brussels road on the Mont-Saint-Jean escarpment, withstood repeated attacks by the French, until, in the evening, the Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon’s right flank. At that moment, Wellington’s Anglo-allied army counter-attacked and drove the French army in disorder from the field. Pursuing coalition forces entered France and restored King Louis XVIII to the French throne.

After the Battle of Waterloo Napoleon abdicated, eventually surrendering to Captain Maitland of HMS Bellerophon, part of the British blockade, the defeat ended Napoleon’s rule as Emperor of the French, and marked the end of his Hundred Days return from exile on Elba and he was exiled again, this time to Saint Helena where he died in 1821. The battlefield is located in the municipalities of Braine-l’Alleud and Lasne, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of Brussels, and about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the town of Waterloo. The site of the battlefield today is dominated by a large monument, the Lion’s Mound. As this mound was constructed from earth taken from the battlefield itself, the contemporary topography of the battlefield near the mound has not been preserved. 1815. It is remembered and celebrated each year by certain regiments of the British Army,in the same way that the Royal Navy celebrates Trafalgar Day (21 October).

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