A Blupete Biography Page


Arthur Wellesley, The Duke of Wellington
(1769-1852):

To confess an interest in the history of these times, obliges one to take into account, "The Iron Duke."

He was born in Ireland, the fourth son to a poor, tough, aristocratic family. The family somehow managed to send young Arthur off to Eton, from there to a French military school at Angers for a year. The young Wellesley was not a good student, but he changed himself around when he joined the British army; he seriously set himself about the business of becoming a proper "Regimental Officer." In 1787, Wellesley received an ensign's commission; he soon achieved captain. He "learned how things should not be done, and he carefully took note of the lesson."1

In 1797, Wellington went with his regiment to India, where both the English and the French were pushing one another around to determine just who owned what. Having proven himself to be a superior officer and a diplomat when dealing with the various Indian factions, Wellington returned home in 1805. In 1806 he married and shortly after that became a member of parliament.

In support of a Spanish rising, in July, 1808, Wellington was called to duty and the "Sepoy General," as his detractors called him, led the first small British force of 9000 men into the Peninsula of Portugal/Spain; a gate into the hostile fortress of Napoleonic Europe. Eventually, Wellington and his soldiers did something not one European army had been able to do since the beginning of the war in 1793: they beat Napoleon. Wellington drove the French army out of Spain and brought them to submission at Toulouse in 1814.

With the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 bringing the war to a final end, Wellington became much fĂȘted. Both his own government and foreign governments -- so thankful they were to be rid of Napoleon -- hung many ribbons and labels on him. After the war, the Duke turned to politics. He was active in a number of administrations culminating in him becoming the Prime Minister in 1827.

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NOTES:

1 Chambers.

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Peter Landry
(1997-2006)