[1815] - Napoleon defeated at Waterloo; exiled to St Helena in August

The Chelsea Pensioners reading the Waterloo Dispatch, by David Wilkie

The Battle of Waterloo began at noon on Sunday 18 June 1815. According to Wellington, it was ‘the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life’. The combined armies of the Seventh Coalition, comprising a British and allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington and a Prussian army led by Gebhard von Blücher, confronted the forces of Napoleonic France to decide the fate of Europe.

As the battle began Wellington’s army was repeatedly attacked by the French. As evening descended, however, the Prussian army arrived to lead a combined assault that decided the battle. Napoleon was decisively defeated. Although he hoped to lead French resistance against an allied invasion, he was compelled to abdicate on 22 June as Prussian forces advanced upon him. He subsequently surrendered himself to Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland aboard the HMS Bellerophon. As a result, Louis XVIII was restored to the French throne for a second time and Napoleon was exiled to the island of St Helena, where he died in May 1821.

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