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Sir Arthur Wellesley

Sir_Arthur_Wellesley,_1st_Duke_of_WellingtonBorn: 1770 Died: 1852

Sir Arthur Wellesley, as so many of his generation, rose to notoriety through war. The Napoleonic Wars to be exact. He led the British army in the Peninsular War of 1806 when the British and their Spanish and Portuguese Allies pushed the French northwards out of the Iberian Peninsula. Though it is perhaps for the battle of Waterloo that the ‘Iron Duke’ is best remembered. That June day in 1815 saw the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at his hands, with no shortage of assistance from the Prussians under General Blucher or his own army ‘the scum of the earth’ of British, Irish, Belgian, German and Dutch troops.

In keeping with his military popularity he became embroiled in the world of politics. In 1828 he became Prime Minister. It was during his tenure as PM that the Catholic emancipation was enforced allowing Catholics to take seats in the Houses of Parliament. It was soon after the bill was passed that he rejoined the army as Commander-in-chief for life. In 1852 Wellington died and the nation mourned the man whom Queen Victoria named: ‘greatest man the country ever produced’.

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