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On this day 1815: Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated in Belgium

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On this day 1815:
Napoleon Bonaparte who conquered much of Europe was defeated in Belgium by British forces under Wellington and Prussian troops under Blucher in what became known as the Battle Of Waterloo.
Born in 1769 in Corsica, Napoleon rose through the ranks to overthrow the French Government in 1799. Crowned the “French Emperor” in 1804, his revolutionary tactics and relentless operations defeated every major power in Europe.

However, Napoleon’s army was defeated by a coalition of Russian, Austrian, Prussian and Swedish troops in the 1813 Battle of Leipzig. After the capture of Paris in 1814, Napoleon was forced to abdicate the throne and exiled to the Island of Elba.

The following year he escaped and sailed to France with over 1,000 supporters. He was welcomed by cheering crowds as he marched into Paris forcing King Louis XVIII to flee. Napoleon then started his famous 100 days campaign.

Having raised a new army, Napoleon marched into Belgium where armies of British and Prussian troops were camped. He planned to drive them apart and defeat them separately. At the Battle of Ligny, on June 16, he forced the Prussians under Blucher’s command to retreat.

On June 18, Napoleon led 72,000 troops to the farmlands of Waterloo village against the 68,000-man British army which included Belgian, Dutch and German troops led by Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington.

Because of the previous night’s rain, Napoleon waited until midday for the waterlogged ground to dry before attacking. The delay proved to be a critical error as it gave Blucher’s retreating troops time to march back to Waterloo and join the battle.

The combined forces of about 118,000 men outnumbered Napoleon’s troops and consequently delivered him a crushing defeat.
On June 22, 1815, he once again abdicated and was later exiled to the remote Island of Saint Helena where he died there on May 5, 1821, at age 51.
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