Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Dafato Team | May 25, 2022

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Arthur Colley Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG GCB GCH PC FRS (Dublin, 1 May 1769 - Walmer Castle, 14 September 1852) was a British marshal and politician, twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Wellesley was appointed as an ensign in the British army in 1787. Serving in Ireland as aide-de-camp to two successive Lord Lieutenants of Ireland, he was also elected as a member of the House of Commons of the Irish parliament. As a colonel in 1796, Wellesley was in action in Holland and then in India, where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Maçor War at the Battle of Seringapatan. He was appointed governor of Seringapatan and Maiçor in 1799, and as a newly appointed major-general won a decisive victory over the Maratha Confederacy at the battle of Assaye in 1803.

Wellesley rose to prominence as a general during the Peninsular War of the Napoleonic Wars, and was promoted to the rank of field marshal after leading the Allied forces to victory against the French at the Battle of Victoria in 1813. After Napoleon Bonaparte's exile in 1814, he served as ambassador to France and was granted a dukedom. During the Hundred Days Government in 1815, he commanded the Allied army which, along with a Prussian army under Blücher, defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo. Wellesley's battle record is exemplary; ultimately, he participated in some 60 battles during the course of his military career.

Wellesley was famous for his style of defensive warfare adaptation, and extensive planning before battles, which allowed him to choose the battlefield and force the enemy to come to it, which resulted in several victories against a numerically superior force, while minimizing his own losses. He is considered one of the greatest defense commanders of all time, and many of his tactics and battle plans are still studied in military academies around the world.

He was twice the prime minister for the Tory party and oversaw the passage of the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829. He was prime minister from 1828 to 1830 and served briefly in 1834. He was unable to prevent the passage of the Reform Act 1832 but remained a leading figure in the House of Lords until his retirement. He remained commander in chief of the British Army until the date of his death.

Arthur Wellesley was the fourth son of the Earl of Mornington, Garret Wesley and Anne Hill, the eldest daughter of the Viscount Dungannon. He was probably born in their home at No. 24 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin, now "The Merrion Hotel". His biographers mainly followed contemporary newspaper evidence which reported that he was born on May 1, 1769, His mother, Anne, Countess of Mornington, recalled in 1815 that he was born at No. 6 Merrion Street, Dublin. Other places put forward as his birthplace include Mornington House (the house that would have been next door to No. 6 Merrion Street) - as his father had claimed, the Dublin liner and the Athy family estate (which perished in the fires of 1916) - as the duke apparently put on his return to Ireland in the 1851 census.

He spent most of his childhood in his family's two homes, the first a large house in Dublin and the second, Dangan Castle, 3.1 miles (5 km) north of Summerhill in County Meath. In 1781, Arthur's father died and his older brother Richard inherited the county from his father.

He went to the diocesan school at Trim when in Dangan, to Whyte's Men's Academy when in Dublin, and to Brown's School in Chelsea when in London. He then enrolled at Eton, where he studied from 1781 until 1784. His loneliness caused him to hate it and makes it highly unlikely that he actually said that "the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton." Moreover, Eton had no playing fields at the time. In 1785, the lack of success at Eton, combined with the family's lack of money due to the death of his father, forced young Wellesley and his mother to move to Brussels. Until his early twenties, Arthur continued to show few signs of distinction and his mother was concerned about his idleness, stating, "I do not know what I am going to do with my strange son Arthur."

A year later, Arthur was enrolled at the Royal French Riding Academy in Angers, where he progressed significantly, becoming a good horseman and learned French, which would later come in very useful. Upon his return to England in late 1786, he surprised his mother with his improvement.

Career start

Despite his new promise, he still had to find a job and his family was still short of money, so upon the advice of his mother, his brother Richard asked his friend the Duke of Rutland (later Lord Lieutenant of Ireland) if he would consider for Arthur a commission in the army. Soon after, on March 7, 1787 he was announced ensign in the 73rd Infantry Regiment. In October, with the help of his brother, he was assigned as aide-de-camp, receiving 10 shillings a day (twice his pay as an ensign), working for the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Buckingham. He was also transferred to the newly formed 76th Regiment in Ireland and on Christmas Day 1787, was promoted to Lieutenant. During his time in Dublin his duties were mainly social, attending meetings, entertaining guests and advising Buckingham. While in Ireland he took out loans due to his occasional gambling, but in his defense he stated that "I often knew what it was to be in want of money, but I was never made unable by debt."

On January 23, 1788, he was transferred to the 41st Infantry Regiment, then again on June 25, 1789, still a lieutenant, he was transferred to the 12th (Prince of Wales's) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons and, according to military historian Richard Holmes, he also reluctantly started in politics. Shortly before the general election of 1789, he went to the "rotten quarter" of Trim to speak out against the granting of the title of "Freeman" of Dublin to the parliamentary leader of the Irish Patriotic Party, Henry Grattan. Thus, he was later nominated and elected as Trim's member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons. Because of limited suffrage at the time, he sat in a parliament where at least two-thirds of the members owed their election to landowners with less than a hundred townships. Wellesley continued to serve at Dublin Castle, voting with the government in the Irish parliament over the next two years. On January 30, 1791, he became a captain and was transferred to the 58th Infantry Regiment.

On October 31 he was transferred to the 18th Light Dragoons and it was during this period that he became increasingly attracted to Kitty Pakenham, the daughter of Edward Pakenham, second Baron Longford. She was described as being full of "joy and charm." In 1793, he asked for her hand, but was rejected by his brother Thomas, Earl of Longford, as Wellesley was considered too young, in debt, with few prospects for growth. An aspiring amateur musician, Wellesley, devastated by the rejection, burned his violins in anger and decided to take his military career seriously. Earning further promotion (largely by buying his rank, which was common in the British army at that time), he became a major in the 33rd Regiment in 1793. A few months later, in September, his brother lent him more money and with that he bought the rank of lieutenant colonel.


In 1793, the Duke of York and Albany was sent to Flanders in command of the British contingent of an allied force destined for the invasion of France. In 1794, the 33rd Regiment was sent to join the force and Wellesley, having just bought his rank of major on April 30, 1793, left Cork for Flanders in June, destined for his first real experience in battle. Three months later, on September 30, 1793, he bought the rank of lieutenant colonel in his regiment. During the campaign, he commanded a brigade and in September Wellesley's unit came under fire east of Breda, just before the Battle of Boxtel. In the latter part of the campaign, during the winter, his unit defended the Waal River line, during which time he was ill for a time due to the wet environment. Although the campaign proved unsuccessful, with the Duke of York's forces returning in 1795, Wellesley learned several valuable lessons, including the use of steady lines of fire against advancing columns and the merits of supporting naval forces. He concluded that many of the mistakes of the campaign were due to a lack of leadership and poor organization in the barracks. He commented after his time in Holland that "at least I learned what not to do, which is always a valuable lesson."

Returning to England in March 1795, he returned as a Member of Parliament for Trim for a second term. He had hoped to be offered the position of Secretary of War in the new Irish government, but the new Lord Lieutenant, Lord Camden, was only able to offer him the position of Inspector-General of Ordnance. Declining the position, he returned to his regiment, now at Southampton, preparing to set sail for the West Indies. After seven weeks at sea, a storm forced the fleet back to Poole, England. Back in the 33rd Regiment, he was given time to convalesce and a few months later, Whitehall decided to send the regiment to India. Wellesley was promoted to colonel by seniority on May 3, 1796 and a few weeks later, he left for Calcutta with his regiment.


Arriving in Calcutta in February 1797, he spent several months there before being sent on a brief expedition to the Philippines, where he established a list of new hygiene precautions for his men to deal with the hostile climate. Returning in November to India, he learned that his older brother Richard, now known as Lord Mornington, had been appointed as the new Governor-General of British India.

In 1798, he changed the spelling of his last name to "Wellesley"; until this time he was still known as Wesley, which his older brother considered more appropriate as a spelling.

As part of the campaign to extend the dominance of the British East India Company, the Fourth Anglo-Maizor War broke out in 1798 against the Sultan of Maizor, Fateh Ali Tipu. Richard ordered an armed force to be sent to capture Seringapatan and defeat Tipu. Under the command of General Harris, about 24,000 troops were sent to Madras (to join an equal force to be sent from Bombay in the west). Arthur and the 33rd Regiment left to join them in August.

After extensive and careful logistical preparation (which would become one of Wellesley's main attributes) the 33rd departed with the main force in December and traveled 250 miles (402 km) through the jungle from Madras to Maiçor. On account of his brother, during the journey Wellesley was given an additional command, that of chief advisor to the Nizam of the Hyderabad army (sent to accompany the British force). This position caused friction among many of the senior officers (some of whom were more senior than Wellesley). Much of this friction was defused after the Battle of Mallavelly, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Seringapatan, in which Harris's army attacked a large part of the Sultan's army. During the battle, Wellesley led his men, in a two-row battle line, against the enemy on a gently sloping hill and gave the order to fire. After an extensive repetition of fire, followed by a bayonet charge, the 33rd Regiment, in conjunction with the rest of Harris' forces, forced Tipu's infantry to retreat.

Immediately after his arrival in Seringapatan on April 5, 1799, the Battle of Seringapatan began and Wellesley ordered a night attack on the village of Sultanpettah next to the fortress to clear the way for artillery. Because of strong defensive preparation by the enemy and darkness with the resulting confusion, the attack failed, with 25 casualties. Wellesley suffered a minor knee injury from a musket bullet. Although his subsequent attack was successful the next day, after having time to scout ahead of the enemy's positions, the affair had an impact on Wellesley. He resolved "never to attack an enemy who is preparing and strongly posted, and whose posts have not been recognized in daylight."

Lewin Bentham Bowring, a British civil servant in India, who served as Mayoral commissioner between 1862 and 1870, gives this alternative explanation:

One of these woods, called the Sultanpet Tope, was intercepted by deep ditches, watered by a running canal in an easterly direction about a mile from the fort. General Baird was directed to search this grove and dislodge the enemy, but in his advance with this object on the evening of the 5th, he found the tope unoccupied. The next day, however, Maiçor's troops again took possession of the land, and as it was absolutely necessary to drive them out, two columns were detached at sunset for this purpose. The first of these, under Colonel Shawe, got possession of a ruined village, which it successfully accomplished. The second column, under Colonel Wellesley, in the advance to the tope, was immediately attacked in the darkness of night by a tremendous fire of muskets and rockets. The men, struggling among the trees and watercourses, at last broke and fell in disorder, some being killed and some taken prisoner. In the confusion Colonel Wellesley himself was hit in the knee by a grazing bullet, and narrowly escaped falling into the hands of the enemy.

A few weeks later, after extensive artillery bombardment, a breach opened in the main walls of the Seringapatan fortress. An attack led by Major-General Baird secured the fortress. Wellesley secured the rear of the advance, posting guards in the breach and then stationing his regiment in the main palace. After news of Tipu Sultan's death, Wellesley was the first on the scene to confirm his death by checking his pulse. As the days passed, Wellesley's concern grew over the lack of discipline among his men, who were drinking and looting the fortress and the city. To restore order, several soldiers were flogged and four were hanged.

After the battle and the final outcome of the war, the main force under General Harris left Seringapatão and Wellesley, aged thirty, stayed behind to command the area as the new governor of Seringapatão and Maiçor. He was promoted to brigadier general on July 17, 1801. He took up residence inside the sultan's summer palace and reformed the tax and justice systems in his province to maintain order and prevent corruption. He also hunted down the mercenary 'King' Dhoondiah Waugh, who had escaped from prison in Seringapatan during the battle. Wellesley, with command of four regiments, defeated Dhoondiah's largest rebel force, along with Dhoondiah himself who was killed in the battle. He paid pension for the future upkeep of Dhoondiah's orphaned son.

While in India, Wellesley was ill for a considerable time, first with severe diarrhea from contaminated water and then with fever, followed by a severe skin infection caused by trichophyton. He received good news when, in September 1802, he learned that he had been promoted to the rank of major-general. Wellesley had been promoted on April 29, 1802, but the news took several months to reach him by sea. He remained on Mayor until November, when he was sent to command an army in the Second Anglo-Maratian War.

When he determined that a long defensive war would ruin his army, Wellesley decided to act boldly to defeat the numerically larger force of the Maratha Empire. With the logistical assembly of his army complete (24,000 men in total) he gave the order to raise camp and attack the nearest Maratha fort on August 8, 1803. The fort surrendered on August 12, after an infantry attack that had exploited a gap made by artillery in the wall. With the fort now in British control, Wellesley was able to extend control southward to the Godavari River.

Dividing his army into two forces, to pursue and locate the Marathas' main army, (the second force, commanded by Colonel Stevenson was much smaller) Wellesley was preparing to join his forces on September 24. His intelligence, however, informed him of the location of the main Maratha army, between two rivers near Assaye. If he waited for his second force to arrive, the maratas would be able to mount a retreat, so Wellesley decided to launch an attack immediately.

On September 23, Wellesley led his forces along a difficult stretch on the Kaitna River and the Battle of Assaye began. After crossing the stretch the infantry was reorganized into several lines and advanced against the marathon infantry. Wellesley ordered his cavalry to exploit the flank of the Marata army just near the village. During the battle Wellesley came under fire, two of his horses were shot under him and he had to ride a third. At a crucial moment, Wellesley regrouped his forces and ordered Colonel Maxwell (later killed in the attack) to attack the eastern end of the Marata position while Wellesley himself directed an infantry attack again against the center.

One officer in the attack wrote of the importance of Wellesley's personal leadership, "The general was in the thick of the action all the time.... I never saw a man so calm and calculating as he...though I can assure you that until our troops had the order to advance, the fate of the day seemed doubtful...." With some 6,000 Marathas killed or wounded, the enemy was defeated, although Wellesley's force was in no condition to proceed. British casualties were heavy: British losses were counted as 409 soldiers killed of whom 164 were European and the remaining 245 were Indian, another 1622 British soldiers were wounded, and 26 soldiers were reported missing (British casualty figures were taken from Wellesley by his own dispatch). Wellesley was concerned about the loss of men and commented that he "would not like to see such loss again as I suffered on September 23, even though I had such a gain." Years later, however, he noted that Assaye was the best battle he ever fought in.

Despite the damage done to the Maratha army, the battle did not end the war. A few months later, in November, Wellesley attacked a larger force near Argaum, leading his army to victory once again, with a staggering 5,000 enemies killed at the cost of only 361 British casualties. Another successful attack on the fortress of Gawilghur, combined with General Lake's victory at Delhi forced the Marathas to sign a peace agreement at Anjangaon (not concluded until a year later) called as the Treaty of Surji-Anjangaon.

Military historian Richard Holmes noted that Wellesley's experiences in India had a major influence on his personality and military tactics, teaching him much about military matters that would prove vital to his success in the Peninsular War. These included a strong sense of discipline through drill and order, the use of diplomacy to win allies, and the vital need for a secure supply line. He also established a high regard for gaining information through scouting and spying. His personal tastes also developed, including dressing in white pants, a dark tunic, with Hessian boots and black tricorn (which later became synonymous with his style).

Wellesley had grown weary of his time in India, remarking, "I have served in India as long as any man should serve anywhere else." In June 1804 he asked permission to return home, and as a reward for his service in India, he was made a Knight of Bath in September. While in India, Wellesley had amassed a fortune of £42,000 (a considerable sum at the time), consisting mainly of prize money from his campaign. When his brother's term as governor-general of British India ended in March 1805, the brothers returned together to England on HMS Howe. Arthur, by coincidence, stopped his voyage on the small island of St. Helena and stayed in the same building where Napoleon I was to be exiled.

Back to the UK

Wellesley then served in the abortive Anglo-Russian expedition in northern Germany in 1805, having a brigade from Elba. After this return from the campaign, Wellesley received some good news; because of his new title and status, Kitty Pakenham's family had consented to marry him. He then took a period of extended leave from the army and was elected member of parliament by the Tories for Rye in January 1806. A year later, he was elected MP for Newport on the Isle of Wight and was then appointed to serve as chief secretary for Ireland under the Duke of Richmond. At the same time, he was made a private counsel. While in Ireland, he gave a verbal promise that the remaining Penal Laws would be applied with great restraint, perhaps an indication of his willingness to later support Catholic Emancipation.

Wellesley was in Ireland in May 1807 when he heard of the British expedition to Denmark. He decided to go, declining his political commitments, and was appointed to command an infantry brigade at the Second Battle of Copenhagen, which took place in August. He fought at Køge, during which the men under his command took 1,500 prisoners, with Wellesley later present during the surrender.

On September 30, he returned to England and was raised to the rank of lieutenant general on April 25, 1808. In June 1808 he accepted command of an expedition of 9,000 men. Preparing to set out for an attack on the Spanish colonies in South America (to assist the Latin American patriot Francisco de Miranda) his force was ordered to sail for Portugal, to participate in the Peninsular Campaign and to rendezvous with 5,000 soldiers at Gibraltar.

Ready for battle, he left Cork on July 12, 1808 to take part in the war against French forces on the Iberian Peninsula, his skills as a commander tested and developed. According to historian Robin Neillands, "Wellesley was so far acquiring the experience on which his later successes were founded. He knew about command from scratch, about the importance of logistics, about campaigning in a hostile environment. He enjoyed political influence and realized the need to maintain support at home. Above all, he had gained a clear idea of how, by setting attainable goals and relying on his own strength and abilities, a campaign could be fought and won."

Peninsular War

Wellesley defeated the French at the Battle of Roliça and the Battle of Vimeiro in 1808 but was replaced in command immediately after the latter battle. General Dalrymple then signed the controversial Convention of Sintra, which stipulated that the British Royal Navy would transport the French army out of Lisbon with all its spoils, and insisted on the association of the only available government minister, Wellesley. Dalrymple and Wellesley were collected to Britain to face a Court of Inquiry. Wellesley had agreed to sign the preliminary armistice, but had not signed the convention and was released.

Meanwhile, Napoleon himself brought his veteran troops into Spain to put down the revolt; the new commander of the British forces on the Peninsula, Sir John Moore, died during the battle of La Coruña in January 1809.

Although in general the war on land with France was not going well from the British point of view, the Peninsula was the theater, where, with the Portuguese, it had provided a strong resistance against France and its allies. This was in contrast to Walcheren's disastrous expedition, which was typical of the poorly managed British operations of the time. Wellesley presented a memorandum to Lord Castlereagh in defense of Portugal. He highlighted its mountainous borders and advocated Lisbon as the main base because the Royal Navy could help defend it. Castlereagh and the cabinet approved the memorandum, appointing him head of all British forces in Portugal.

Wellesley arrived in Lisbon on April 22, 1809 aboard the HMS Surveillante, after escaping a shipwreck. Reinforced, he went on the offensive. At the Second Battle of Porto he crossed the Douro River during the day in coup de main and met Marshal Soult's French troops at Porto.

With Portugal secured, Wellesley advanced into Spain to unite with General Cuesta's forces. The combined allied force prepared for an assault on Victor's I Corps at Talavera de la Reina on July 23. Cuesta, however, was reluctant to agree, and was not convinced to advance until the next day. The delay allowed the French to withdraw, but Cuesta sent his army out to hunt for Victor, and found himself confronted by almost the entire French army in New Castile - Victor had been reinforced by the garrisons of Toledo and Madrid. The Spanish withdrew hastily, necessitating the advance of the two British divisions to cover the retreat.

The next day, July 27, at the Battle of Talavera the French advance occurred in three columns being repulsed several times throughout the day by Wellesley, but at a heavy cost to the British force. Following this, it was discovered that Marshal Soult's army was advancing south, threatening to cut Wellesley out of Portugal. Wellesley moved east on August 3 to blockade it, leaving 1,500 wounded in the care of the Spanish, intending to confront Soult before discovering that the French were, in fact, 30,000 men strong. The British commander sent a Light Brigade on a run to hold the bridge over the Tagus River at Almaraz. With communications and supplies from Lisbon secured for the time being, Wellesley considered teaming up with Cuesta again, but found that his Spanish ally had abandoned the wounded British to the French and was completely stubborn, arrogant, and then refused to supply the British forces, aggravating Wellesley's situation and causing friction between the British and their Spanish allies. The lack of supplies, along with the threat of French reinforcement (including the possible inclusion of Napoleon himself) in the spring, led to the British deciding to withdraw to Portugal.

In 1810, a large new French army under Marshal André Masséna invaded Portugal. British opinion both at home and in the army was negative and there were suggestions that they should evacuate Portugal. Instead, Wellington first delayed the French while still in Buçaco; he then prevented them from taking the Lisbon peninsula by building their huge earthwork, the Lines of Torres Vedras, which had been set up in complete secrecy and had flanks guarded by the Royal Navy. The French invasion forces were baffled and hungry, retreating after six months. Wellington's quest was thwarted by a series of setbacks inflicted by Marshal Ney in a much-lauded rearguard campaign.

In 1811, Masséna returned to Portugal to surrender Almeida; Wellington strictly controlled the French at the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro. At the same time, his subordinate, Viscount Beresford, fought Soult's "Army of the South," leading to a mutual bloody battle at the Battle of Albuera in May. Wellington was promoted to general on July 31 for his services. The French abandoned Almeida, escaping British pursuit, but retained the twin Spanish fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, the 'keys' guarding the roads through the mountains for passage to Portugal. For his actions for the Portuguese cause, Wellesley was conferred the title of Count of Vimeiro in the Pariate of Portugal.

In 1812, Wellington finally captured Ciudad Rodrigo with a quick move; as the French entered winter quarters, he attacked them before they could react. He then moved south quickly, surrounded the fortress of Badajoz for a month, and captured it during a bloody night. In the after view of the Badajoz attack, Wellington lost his composure and wept as he saw the bloody carnage.

His army was now a veteran British force reinforced by retrenched Portuguese Army units. In the campaign in Spain, he defeated the French at the Battle of Salamanca, taking advantage of a smaller, demobilized French army. The victory liberated the Spanish capital, Madrid. As a reward, he was created "Count" and "Marquis of Wellington" and given command of all the allied armies in Spain. He was also created Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo and appointed Grand of Spain by King Ferdinand VII of Spain. Wellington attempted to take the vital fortress of Burgos, which connected Madrid with France. But failure, partly due to a lack of siege weapons, forced him into a hasty retreat with the loss of over 2,000 casualties.

The French abandoned Andalusia and combined the troops of Soult and Marmont. Thus combined, the French put the British at a numerical disadvantage, putting the British forces in a precarious position. Wellington withdrew his army and, joining with the smaller corps commanded by Rowland Hill, began to retreat to Portugal. Marshal Soult refused to attack.

In 1812, Wellesley was awarded the titles of Marquis of Torres Vedras and Duke of Victory, both of the Portuguese nobility, by decree of Queen Maria I of Portugal, for his actions on behalf of the nation. At this time, the Portuguese court was safely in Rio de Janeiro, on the other side of the Atlantic.

In 1813, Wellington led a new offensive, this time against the French line of communications. He struck through the hills north of Burgos, Trás-os Montes and moved his supply line from Portugal to Santander on the northern coast of Spain, which caused the French to abandon Madrid and Burgos. Continuing to flank the French lines, Wellington encountered and crushed King Joseph Bonaparte's army at the Battle of Victoria, for which he was promoted to field marshal on June 21. He personally led a column against the French center, while other columns were commanded by Sir Thomas Graham, Rowland Hill, and the Earl of Dalhousie around the French right and left (this battle became the theme of Beethoven's opera 91, "Wellington's Victory," for orchestra). British troops broke ranks to loot abandoned French wagons instead of pursuing the defeated enemy. This brutal abandonment of discipline caused Wellington to become infuriated, leading him to write a famous expedient to Earl Bathurst, saying that "we have in the service the scum of the earth as common soldiers."

Although later, when his temper had cooled, he extended his comment to praise the men under his command saying that although many of the men were "the scum of the earth, what is really wonderful is that we must have made them good fellows, such as they are."

After taking out the small fortresses of Pamplona, Wellington invested in San Sebastian, but was thwarted by the stubborn French garrison, losing 693 killed and 316 captured in a failed attack and suspended the siege in late July. Soult's relief attempt was blocked by the Spanish army in Galicia at San Marcial, allowing the allies to consolidate their position and tighten the ring around the city, which fell in September after a brave second defense. Wellington then forced Soult's demoralized and battered army into a fighting retreat into France, marked by battles in the Pyrenees, Wellington invaded the French southwest, winning at Nive and Orthez. Wellington's final battle against his rival Soult took place at Toulouse, where the Allied divisions came under heavy attack from French strongholds, losing some 4,600 men. Despite this momentary victory, news of Napoleon's defeat and abdication arrived and Soult, seeing no reason to continue the fight, agrees to a ceasefire with Wellington, allowing Soult to evacuate the city.

Hailed as the hero of the conquest by the British, Wellington was created "Duke of Wellington," a title still held by his descendants (as he did not return to England until the Peninsular War was over, he was awarded all his ranks of nobility in a single, full-day ceremony). Although Wellesley spent nearly six years fighting the French army from Spain and removed Joseph Bonaparte from the Spanish throne, he received little recognition in Spain: history, as taught in Spanish schools, minimizes his contribution and that of the British and Portuguese soldiers who fought with him. He did receive some recognition during his lifetime (the title "Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo") and the Spanish King Ferdinand VII allowed him to keep some of the artwork in the Royal Collection, which he had recovered from the French. His equestrian portrait featured in the Monument to the Battle of Vitoria, in present-day Vitoria-Gasteiz.

His popularity in the United Kingdom was due to his image and his appearance, as well as his military triumphs. His victory fit well with the passion and intensity of the Romantic movement, with its emphasis on individuality. His personal style had an impact on fashion in Britain at the time: his tall, slim figure and his black feathered hat and still classic uniform and white pants became very popular.

He was appointed ambassador to France, then took Lord Castlereagh's place as first plenipotentiary at the Congress of Vienna, where he strongly advocated that France maintain its place in the European balance of power. On January 2, 1815, his title of Knight of the Bath was converted to Knight of the Grand Cross on the expansion of that order.

Waterloo Campaign

On February 26, 1815, Napoleon escaped from Elba and returned to France. He regained control of the country in May and faced a renewed alliance against him. Wellington left Vienna for what became known as the Waterloo Campaign. He arrived in Belgium to take command of the British-German army and its Belgian-Dutch allies, all stationed alongside Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher's Prussian forces.

Napoleon's strategy was to isolate the Allies and Prussian armies, and annihilate each of them separately before the Austrians and Russians arrived. In doing so, the Coalition's great superiority in numbers would be greatly diminished. He would then seek the possibility of a peace with Austria and Russia.

The French invaded Belgium, defeated the Prussians at Ligny, and fought an indecisive battle with Wellington at the Battle of Quatre Bras. These events led the Anglo-Allied army to retreat to a ridge on the Brussels road, south of the small town of Waterloo. On June 17, a torrential rain hampered the movement. The next day, on June 18, the Battle of Waterloo was fought. This was the first time Wellington had met Napoleon, and he commanded an Anglo-German-Dutch army, which consisted of about 73,000 soldiers, 26,000 (36 percent) of whom were British.

The battle of Waterloo began with a diversionary attack at Hougoumont by a division of French soldiers. After a barrage of 80 cannon the first French infantry attack was launched by Comte D'Erlon's I Corps. D'Erlon's troops advanced through the Allied center, resulting in Allied troops in front of the ridge retreating in disorder through the main position. I Corps attacked the most fortified Allied position, La Haye Sainte, but failed to take it. An allied division under Thomas Picton met the remainder of D'Erlon's troops, engaging them in an infantry duel in which Picton fell. During this fight Lord Uxbridge launched two of his cavalry brigades against the enemy, taking the French infantry by surprise, driving them deep into the hillside, and capturing two French Imperial Eagles. The charge, however, hit itself and the British cavalry, overwhelmed by French horsemen thrown at them by Napoleon, were repulsed, suffering heavy losses.

Just before 4 p.m., Marshal Ney observed an apparent exodus from the center of Wellington. He mistook the movement of casualties to the rear for the beginning of a retreat, and sought to exploit it. Ney at this time had few infantry reserves for the left, as most of the infantry had been attacked, either by the futile attack at Hougoumont or for the defense of the French right. Therefore, Ney attempted to break Wellington's center with a lone cavalry charge.

Around 4:30 pm, the first Prussian corps arrived. Commanded by Freiherr von Bülow, the IV Corps arrived with the French cavalry attack in a full avalanche. Bülow sent the 15th Brigade to link up with Wellington's left flank in the Frichermont-La Haie area while the brigade's horse artillery battery and additional brigade artillery deployed to his left in support. Napoleon sent Lobau's troop to intercept the rest of Bülow's IV Corps leaving Plancenoit. The 15th Brigade of Lobau's troops retreated to the Plancenoit area. Von Hiller's 16th Brigade also pushed forward, with six battalions against Plancenoit. Napoleon had dispatched all eight battalions of the Young Guard to reinforce Lobau, which was now under serious pressure from the enemy. Napoleon's Young Guard counterattacked and, after a very hard fight, secured Plancenoit, but they themselves were counterattacked and driven out. Napoleon then resorted to sending two battalions of the Half and Old Guard into Plancenoit and after a fierce fight, they recaptured the village.

French cavalry attacked the British infantry squares many times, each at heavy cost to the French, but with few British casualties. Ney himself was displaced from his horse four times. Eventually it became obvious, even to Ney, that cavalry alone was achieving few results. Late in the day, he organized a combined arms attack, using Bachelu's division and Foy's division regiment of Reille's II Corps plus the French cavalry that remained in a fit state to fight from Tissot. This attack was directed along much of the same route as the previous heavy cavalry attacks.

Meanwhile, in about the same time as Ney's combined arms attack on the center-right of Wellington's line, Napoleon ordered Ney to capture La Haye Sainte at any cost. Ney accomplished this with what remained of D'Erlon's troop just after 6 pm. Ney then moved from horse artillery towards the center of Wellington and began destroying the short-range infantry squares with machine gun fire. This attack destroyed the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment, and the 30th and 73rd Regiments suffered heavy losses that they had to combine to form a viable square. Wellington's center was now on the verge of collapse and open for a French attack. Fortunately for Wellington, Pirch and Zieten's troops from the Prussian army were now close at hand. Zieten's troops allowed the two new cavalry brigades of Vivian and Vandeleur on Wellington's far left to be moved and placed behind the depleted center. Pirch's troop then moved to support Billow and together they regained possession of Plancenoit, and once again the Charleroi road was swept by Prussian bullets. The value of this reinforcement at this particular moment can hardly be overestimated.

The French army now fiercely attacked the coalition across the line with the climax being reached when Napoleon sent forward the Imperial Guards at 7:30 pm. The Imperial Guard attack was mounted by five battalions of the Half Guard, not the Grenadiers or Chasseurs of the Old Guard. Marching through a hail of machine gun and skirmishing fire and severely outnumbered, the 3,000 or less of the Half Guard advanced west of La Haye Sainte and began to separate into three distinct attack forces. One of them, consisting of two grenadier battalions, defeated the first line of the coalition and marched forward. Chassé's relatively new Dutch division was sent against them and Allied artillery fired on the grenadiers' flank. This still could not stop the advance of the guard, so Chassé ordered his first brigade to charge on the French numerical disadvantage, which faltered and broke.

Further west, 1,500 British Foot Guards under Maitland's command were ducked to protect themselves from French artillery. As two battalions of Chasseurs approached, the second front of the Imperial Guard attack, Maitland's Guards rose up and devastated them with direct bursts. The Chasseurs developed the counterattack, but began to falter. A bayonet charge from the Foot Guards broke them. The third group, a fresh Chasseur battalion, now came in support. The British Guards withdrew with the Chasseurs in pursuit, but the latter were interrupted by the 52nd Light Infantry, who turned in line on their flank and poured devastating fire into them and then attacked. Under this attack they also broke.

The last guard retreated precipitously. A wave of panic swept through the French lines as the startling news spread: "La Garde recule. Sauve qui peut!" ("The Guard has retreated. Save yourself if you can!"). Wellington then mounted and waved his hat in the air to signal an advance of the Allied line, so the Prussians were storming the French positions to the east. What was left of the French army then left the field in disarray. Wellington and Blücher met at the La Belle Alliance farm inn on the north-south road that divided the battlefield, and it was agreed that the Prussians should pursue the French army by forcing their retreat back into France. The Treaty of Paris was signed on November 20, 1815.

Many historical discussions have been made about Napoleon's decision to send 33,000 troops under Marshal Grouchy to intercept the Prussians, but after defeating Blücher at Ligny on June 16 and forcing the allies to retreat in divergent directions, Napoleon may have been strategically astute in a judgment that he would not have been able to defeat the combined allied forces on a battlefield. A comparable strategic gamble was Wellington's in leaving 17,000 troops and artillery, mainly Dutch and Belgian, 8.1 miles (13 km) away at Halle, northwest of Mont-Saint-Jean, in case of a French advance to the Mons-Hal-Brussels road.

Wellington entered politics again, when he was appointed Master-General of the Ordnance in Lord Liverpool's Tory government on December 26, 1818. He also became governor of Plymouth on October 9, 1819. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the British army on January 22, 1827 and Constable of the Tower of London on February 5, 1827.

Prime Minister

Along with Robert Peel, Wellington became an increasingly influential member of the Tory party, and in 1828 he resigned as commander-in-chief and became the prime minister of the United Kingdom.

During his first seven months as prime minister, he chose not to live in the official residence at 10 Downing Street, finding it too small. He moved only because his own home, Apsley House, needed necessary renovations. During this time he was largely instrumental in the founding of King's College London. On January 20, 1829, Wellington was appointed Lord Keeper of the Cinque Ports. As Prime Minister, Wellington was conservative, fearing that the anarchy of the French Revolution would spread to the United Kingdom.

Catholic Emancipation

The highlight of his tenure was Catholic Emancipation, the granting of almost complete civil rights for Catholics in the United Kingdom. The move was prompted by the overwhelming victory in the by-election of Daniel O'Connell, an Irish Catholic proponent of emancipation, who was elected despite not being legally allowed to sit in parliament.

In the House of Lords, facing strong opposition, Wellington spoke up for Catholic Emancipation, making one of the best speeches of his career. He was Irish, and later governed the country, so he had some understanding of the grievances of the Catholic communities there, as General Secretary, he had given a commitment that the remaining criminal laws would only be enforced as "lightly" as possible. The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 was passed with a majority of 105. Many conservatives voted against the bill, and it passed only with the help of the Whigs. Wellington threatened to resign as prime minister if King George IV did not give his royal approval.

The Earl of Winchilsea accused the duke for "an insidious design for the violation of our liberties and the introduction of the papacy into every department of the state." Wellington immediately responded by challenging Winchilsea to a duel. On March 21, 1829, Wellington and Winchilsea met on the fields of Battersea. When it was time to fire, the Duke aimed and Winchilsea kept his arm down. The Duke shot far to the right. Chronicles differ as to whether he missed on purpose; Wellington, known for his poor marksmanship, claimed that he did so, other reports more sympathetic to Winchilsea claim that he had shot to kill. Winchilsea did not shoot, a plan he and his aide almost certainly decided on before the duel. Honor was saved and Winchilsea wrote an apology to Wellington.

The nickname "Iron Duke" originates from this period, when he experienced a high degree of personal and political unpopularity. Its repeated use in the Freeman's Journal throughout June 1830 seems to have reference to his firm political will, with tinges of disapproval from his Irish editors. His residence in Apsley House was shot at by a mob of protesters on April 27, 1831 and again on October 12, leaving the windows broken. Iron shutters were installed in June 1832 to prevent further damage by angry mobs over the rejection of the Reform Bill, which he had always opposed.

Wellington's government fell in 1830. In the summer and fall of the same year, a wave of riots swept the country. The Whigs had been out of power for most years since the 1770s, and said political reform would be the answer to the unrest as the key to their return. Wellington stuck to the Tory policy of no reform and no expansion of suffrage, and as a result lost a vote of confidence on November 15, 1830.

The law of Reform

The Whigs introduced the first Reform Bill, while Wellington and the Tories worked to prevent its passage. The bill passed in the British House of Commons, but was defeated in the House of Lords. An election followed and in response the Whigs regained power with an even larger majority. A second Reform Act was introduced and defeated in the same way, and another wave of insurrection swept the country. During this time, Wellington was greeted by a hostile reaction from the crowds at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The Whig government fell in 1832 and Wellington was unable to form a Tory government, partly because of a run on the Bank of England. This left King William IV no choice but to restore Earl Grey to the Cabinet. So the bill was passed by the House of Lords after the king threatened to fill the House with newly created Whig peers if it was not. Wellington never adapted to this change; when parliament for the first time after the first election under the reform, Wellington is reported to have said, "I never saw so many shocking stirrings in my life."

Jewish Emancipation

During the debate on the Jewish Civil Disabilities Repeal Bill, Wellington, who opposed the bill, stated in Parliament on August 1, 1833: "... this is a Christian country and a Christian legislature, and that the effect of this measure would be to take away that peculiar character." And "I see no basis whatsoever for passing the bill, and must therefore vote against it." The bill was defeated, with 104 votes against and 54 in favor.

Conservative government

Wellington was gradually replaced as leader of the Tories by Robert Peel, while the party evolved into the Conservatives. When the Tories returned to power in 1834, Wellington refused to become prime minister and Peel was chosen in his place. However, Peel was in Italy at the time, and for three weeks in November and December 1834, Wellington acted as interim leader, having the responsibilities of prime minister and most other ministries. In Peel's first government (1834-1835), Wellington became foreign minister, while in the second (1841-1846) he was a minister without portfolio and leader of the House of Lords. Wellington was also re-elected commander-in-chief of the British Army on August 15, 1842 after Lord Hill's resignation.

Wellesley and Kitty Pakenham were married in Dublin on April 10, 1806. The marriage would prove unsatisfactory and the two would spend years apart while Wellesley was on campaign. From that relationship they had two children:

Wellington retired from political life in 1846, although he remained commander in chief, and came quickly back into the limelight in 1848, when he helped organize a military force to protect London during that year of revolutions in Europe.

The Conservative Party had split over the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, with Wellington and most of the old cabinet still supporting Robert Peel, but most of the MPs led by Lord Derby supported a protectionist stance. In early 1852 Wellington, then very deaf, gave Derby's first government its nickname, shouting, "Who? Who?" when the list of inexperienced cabinet ministers was read out in the House of Lords.

Wellesley became Chief Ranger and Keeper of Hyde Park and St. James's Park on August 31, 1850. He had also been Colonel of the 33rd Regiment of Foot since February 1, 1806 and Colonel of the Grenadier Guards since January 22, 1827.

Kitty died of cancer in 1831; despite his unhappy relations, Wellington was saddened by her death, it is reported. He found solace for his unhappy marriage in his warm friendship with the diarist Harriet Arbuthnot, wife of his colleague Charles Arbuthnot. Harriet's death in the cholera epidemic of 1834 was almost as big a blow to Wellington as it was to her husband. The two widowers spent their last years together at Aspley House.

Death and burial

Wellington died on September 14, 1852, at the age of 83, as a result of a stroke that culminated in a series of epileptic seizures. Although in life he hated train travel (after witnessing the death of William Huskisson, one of the first victims of train accidents), his body was taken by rail to London, where it was given a state funeral, in which only a handful of British subjects were honored in this way (other examples are Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill) and the last heraldic state funeral held in Britain. The funeral took place on November 18, 1852. At his funeral there was almost no room to stand because of the number of people present, and the effusive praise given to him in Tennyson's "Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington" attests to his stature at the time of his death. He was buried in a luxulianite sarcophagus in St. Paul's Cathedral alongside Lord Nelson.

Wellington's coffin was decorated with the flags that were made for his funeral. Originally, there was one from Prussia, which was removed during World War I and never reinstated.

The bulk of A Biographical Sketch of the Military and Political Career of the Late Duke of Wellington by Weymouth newspaper proprietor Joseph Drew is a detailed contemporary account of his death and funeral.

After his death Irish and English newspapers argued over whether Wellington was born an Irishman or an Englishman. During his lifetime he openly disliked being referred to as an "Irishman".

Because of his connections with Wellington, as a former commander and colonel of the regiment, the name "33rd (The Duke of Wellington's) Regiment" was given to the 33rd Regiment of Foot on June 18, 1853 (the 38th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo) by Queen Victoria.

At his funeral Wellesley's style was thus proclaimed (in English, set out in the following order and format in the London Gazette):

Wellington always got up at dawn; he "could not bear to stay awake in bed," even if the army was not on the march. Even when he returned to civilian life after 1815, he slept in a camp bed - reflecting his lack of regard for comfort - which remains on display at Walmer Castle. General Miguel Ricardo de Álava complained that Wellington said so often that the army would march "at dawn" and dine on "cold meat" that he began to dread those two phrases. While on campaign, he rarely ate anything between breakfast and dinner. During the retreat to Portugal in 1811, he subsisted, to the dismay of his staff who dined with him, on "cold meat and bread." He was, however, recognized for the quality of the wine he drank and served. He often drank a bottle with his dinner, which was not a large quantity by the standards of his time.

He rarely showed emotion in public, and often appeared condescending to those less competent or less well-born than himself (which was almost everyone). However, Álava was witness to an incident shortly before the Battle of Salamanca. Wellington was eating a chicken thigh, watching the maneuvers of the French army with a bezel. He spotted an exaggerated extension on the French left flank, and realized that he could launch a successful attack there. He threw his drumstick into the air and shouted "Les français sont perdus!" ("The French are lost!"). On another occasion, after the Battle of Toulouse, when an aide brought him the news of Napoleon's abdication, he did an impromptu flamenco dance, spinning on his heels and snapping his fingers.

Despite his famously stern countenance and iron discipline (he frowned on soldiers cheering for "an almost expression of opinion"), Wellesley cared for his men; he refused to pursue the French after the battles of Porto and Salamanca, foreseeing an inevitable cost to his army in pursuing a diminutive enemy through rough terrain. The only time he showed sadness in public was after the taking of Badajoz, when he wept at the sight of the British dead in the breaches. In this context, his famous expression after the Battle of Vitoria calling some of his soldiers "scum of the earth" can be seen as fueled as much by disappointment with his breaking ranks as by anger. He expressed his grief openly the night after Waterloo earlier with his personal physician, and later with his family; reluctant to congratulations on his victory, he fell into tears, his fighting spirit diminished by the high cost of battle and great personal loss.

Viva Montgomerie, niece of the 3rd Duke of Wellington, relates an anecdote that Holman, the duke's valet, often recalled how his master never spoke to officials unless he was required to, preferring to write his orders on a notepad on his dressing table. Holman, in fact, said that this reminded him a lot of Napoleon.

In 1822 he had an operation to improve the hearing in his left ear. The result, however, was that he became permanently deaf on that side. It is claimed that he "...never got well again."

In 1824 Wellington received a letter, with an offer from a publisher to refrain from issuing an edition of the most racy memoirs of one of his mistresses, Harriette Wilson, in exchange for financial compensation. The duke is said to have promptly returned the missive, after scribbling on it, "publish it and you will be damned." However, Hibbert notes in his biography that the letter can be found among the duke's papers, with nothing written on it. That Wellington responded is certain, and the tone of a new letter from the editor, quoted by Longford, suggests that he refused, in stronger language, to submit to blackmail.

He was also an extremely practical man who spoke concisely. In 1851, when it was discovered that there were large numbers of sparrows flying over The Crystal Palace, just before the Great Exhibition opened, his advice to Queen Victoria was "Sparrowhawks, ma'am" ("Sparrows, ma'am").

Wellington was often portrayed as a defensive general, although many, perhaps most, of his battles were offensive (Argaum, Assaye, Porto, Salamanca, Vitoria, Toulouse). But in most of the Peninsular War, where he gained his fame, his troops did not have the numbers for an attack.

In September 1805, then Major-General Wellesley, recently returned from his campaigns in India and not yet particularly well known to the public, reported to the Secretary of War's office to request a new assignment. In the waiting room, he met Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, already a legendary figure after his victories at the Nile and Copenhagen, and who was quickly in England after months of chasing the French fleet from Toulon to the West Indies and coasts. Some 30 years later, Wellington recalled from a conversation Nelson began with him that Wellesley found "almost everyone beside him in such a futile and foolish style that it surprised me and almost causes me disgust." Nelson left the room to find out who the young general was and went on to meet him, changing to a very different tone, discussing the war, the state of the colonies, and the geopolitical situation as between equals. In this second discussion Wellington recalled, "I don't know that I had a conversation that interested me more." This was the only time the two men met, as Nelson was killed in his great victory at Trafalgar only seven weeks later.

The first mention of the "Welles-lieghs" dates back to 1180, around a settlement still known as Wellesley Farm. To the family had been granted land south of Wells, Somerset for their "passive acceptance of the Norman conquest of England of 1066." A former member of the family moved to Ireland during 1171 in the role of a standard-bearer for Henry II. The surname "Wesley" was adopted from a wealthy childless cousin, Garret Wesley. In 1728, Wellington's paternal grandfather, Richard Colley, a landowner who lived in Rahin, near Carbury, County Kildare, changed his surname to Wesley.

The Colley or Cowley family had lived in that part of Kildare since the time of an ancestor of Wellington, Sir Henry Colley or Cowley, who died before October 2, 1584. Sir Henry in his lifetime owned Carbury Castle in northwest Kildare, beginning with a 21-year lease in 1554.

Colley is a surname of English origin. However, Colley or Cowley is also an Anglicism from Mac Amhalghaidh, a family from which came the lords of Chalaid Calraighe in what is now County Westmeath. This family claimed descent from a 5th century Irish king, Nell Noigiallaigh, and had the following genealogy ("m" indicates "son of"):

Amlaibh m Amlaibh m Muircertaigh m Aedha Finn m Maghnusa m Muircertaigh m Domnaill m Floinn m Aedha m Amhlaibh m Fergail m Con Coiccriche m Forannain m Suibhne m Domnaill m Ruairc m Cathusaigh m Aedha m Cuinn m Maoil Fhothaid m Criomthainn m Brenainn m Briainn m Maine m Nell Noigiallaigh.

The strongest evidence is that Wellington's family originated in Rutland and came to Ireland around 1500. Robert Cowley, who became Master of the Rolls in Ireland died in 1546 leaving a son, Walter Cowley, Principal Solicitor for Ireland, who appears to have been Sir Henry's father. Henry Colley married Catherine Cusack, daughter of Sir Thomas Cusack, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, which began the Colley-Wellesley connection, since Sir Thomas was the son of Alison of Wellesley.


Wellington's arms have an augmentation of honor of the United Kingdom's badge of union to commemorate his services. He bore, by quartiles, I and IV in gules, a cross argent, on each of these quartiles five plates per inner quartile; II and III, in or, a lion rampant gules, with a ducal crown on his neck, armed and sole in azure. By augmentation, a shield borne with the crosses of St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick combined, being the badge of union of the United Kingdom.

Titles, honors, and styles

His brother William chose the name Wellington because of its similarity to the family surname of Wellesley, which derives from the village of Wellesley in Somerset, not far from Wellington.

The Duke of Wellington was one of the godfathers of Queen Victoria's seventh son, Prince Arthur, in 1850. Arthur was also born on the first of May, and as a child the young prince was encouraged to remind people that the Duke of Wellington was his godfather.

The nations of Austria, Hanover, the Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Russia and Spain gave him their highest military rank:

Each nation presented him with a stick as a symbol of his position.


Wellington died in 1852 and the following year Queen Victoria, in recognition of the 33rd Foot Regiment's long ties with him, ordered its name changed to Duke of Wellington's Regiment, now known as 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's), based at Battlesbury Barracks, Warminster.

HMS Duke of Wellington, a 131-gun first class liner was named after the 1st Duke of Wellington. HMS Iron Duke, also named for Wellington, was Admiral Sir John Jellicoe's flagship at the Battle of Jutland in World War I, one of three so named in the Royal Navy.

Wellington is the only person to have the honor of having not one, but two Royal Air Force bombers named in his honor - the Vickers Wellesley and the Vickers Wellington, and at a time when the convention for British bombers was to have names of landlocked cities.

The Great Western Railway's "Iron Duke" class of train locomotives was so named to honor Wellington, including an 1847 original that was named "Iron Duke" and lent its name to the class. It was retired in 1871, and a replica was built in 1985 for the National Railway Museum for display.

The image of the Duke of Wellington is featured on the reverse of the £5 (five pound) D-series (Pictoral Series) notes issued by the Bank of England (November 11, 1971 - November 29, 1991), along with a scene from the Battle of Waterloo.

Beef Wellington was named after the general and prime minister. Ironically, his favorite meat was mutton.

Wellington's countenance appears on the labels of beer brewed by Wellington Brewery in Guelph, Ontario. The beer named "Iron Duke Strong Ale" is also a tribute to him.

The Duke of Wellington received a number of nicknames or nicknames over time.

The Iron Duke

This commonly used nickname originally related to his consistent political will rather than any particular incident. In several cases its editorial use appeared to be derogatory. It is likely that its use became more widespread after an incident in 1832 in which he installed metal shutters to prevent protesters from breaking the windows of Apsley House. The term may have been made increasingly popular by the Punch cartoons published in 1844-45.

Wellington has had several other nicknames or nicknames:


His name was given to Wellington boots, after the custom-made boots he wore instead of traditional Hessian boots.


  1. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
  2. Arthur Wellesley, 1.º Duque de Wellington

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