Evolution of the Island of Britain and the UK
1. Kings and Queens of Britain
2. Anglo Saxon Crown to Hastings 1066
3. Kings and Queens Hanover to Windsor
4. The Tower of London
5. Westminster The House of Parliament
6. Sir Winston Churchill
7. Winston Churchill Cabinet War Rooms WW2
8. Sir Winston Churchill Top Secret Cabinet War Rooms WW2
9. The Duke of Wellington
10. Duke of Wellington 1769-1852
11. Admiral Horatio Nelson
12. Life of Admiral Horatio Nelson
13. Life of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson 1758-1805
14. Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery
15. HMS Victory
Arthur Wellesley (later changed from Wesley) was born in Dublin 1769 to Garrett Wesley the 1st Earl of Mornington. Although educated at Eton,Arthur was looked down upon by his family,who considered that his only worth should be within a military career, as they favoured his talented elder brother Richard much more (who became the politician and diplomat Marquess Wellesley).
Arthur first educated at Browns Seminary London,was encouraged to attend a French military academy at Angers after his days of education at Eton had ended,and was subsequently supported with both funds and aristocratic influence by his family. With this help Arthur Wellesley joined the army at 16 and was commissioned lieutenant at age 18,he gained experience through various British regiments before attaining his first command at age 24, the 33rd Foot.
During the following military years Arthur was continually supported by his elder brother Richard who had risen in importance through the British political system,but his own ability started to shine through,and promotions were on the main gained through his own efforts.
In 1794 the 33rd Foot served in the failure of the Netherlands campaign,however the shortcomings of the British military system were very closely analysed by Arthur Wellesley in such detail as no one had before.He put his findings to good use in his following posting to India 1706, and having persuaded his brother (who had become the new India Governor General) to grant him his first independent command, gained his reputation as a competent and talented leader in the Mysore wars against the French backed Indian ruler Tippoo (who was slain during the storming of his capital Seringapatam), the campaign against Holkar of Indore and the Second Maratha War 1803-1805.
In 1805 Wellesley returned to England and married Catherine Pakenham.He then entered politics and became a Tory member of parliament for Rye 1806 and Chief Secretary for Ireland.
Arthur resumed his military career and with the beginning of the Peninsular War 1807, Britain promoted Wellesley to Lieutenant-General and sent him to Portugal 1808 in ultimately overall command of the British expeditionary force. During the Peninsular War Arthur Wellesley excelled in military leadership effecting many victories over the experienced French Army and their able Generals, culminating in the battle of Vitoria 1813 and the French army being driven entirely from the Iberian Peninsular. Wellesley then advanced through the Pyrenees mountain range and invaded southern France.
The next year 1814, saw Napoleon Bonaparte abdicate and he was exiled to the island of Elba, the war was over.
For his efforts he was awarded a series of titles and honours,the greatest being that with which he would be most well remembered, The Duke of Wellington in 1814. He had now become the leading military figure in Europe save for Napoleon himself.
Napoleon Bonaparte would not let his dream of Empire rest for long however and he escaped from Elba in 1815 returning to France with the aim of raising a new army.
Europe hastily declared a Seventh Coalition with the aim of permanently dethroning Napoleon and removing his threat to European order. [ More]