Wellesley, Arthur


Wellesley, Arthur
Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of
(1769–1852)
   With the possible exception of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, the Duke of Wellington was Britain’s greatest general, with an almost uninterrupted string of battlefield successes, most notably at Waterloo in 1815, in the Iberian Peninsula and southern France (1808–1814) during the Napoleonic Wars. Wellington made his name first in India in 1797–1805 where he won two notable victories against the Mahrathas before serving briefly as chief secretary of Ireland in 1807–1809. In 1808, he was sent to Portugal and the next year became commander-in-chief of Allied forces in the peninsula. He successively drove back the French, most notably at Salamanca on July 22, 1812, and Vitoria on June 21, 1813, demonstrating a masterful use of tactics and topography while almost always commanding a numerically inferior force. After Waterloo he became ambassador to France and later served briefly as prime minister from 1828–1830, during which time he brought in the bill for Catholic emancipation.
   See also <>; <>; <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Guedalla, Philip. The Duke. London: Wordsworth Editions, 1997;
    Holmes, Richard. Wellington: The Iron Duke. London: HarperCollins, 2003;
    James, Lawrence. The Iron Duke: A Military Biography of Wellington. London: Pimlico, 2002;
    Longford, Elizabeth. Wellington: Pillar of State. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1972;
    Longford, Elizabeth. Wellington: The Years of the Sword. London: HarperCollins, 1971;
    Shaw, Matthew. The Duke of Wellington. London: British Library Publishing Division, 2005.
   GREGORY FREMONT-BARNES

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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