Yesterday, July 14, may have been France’s big day, Bastille Day, but today is the anniversary of the end of the road for French tyrant Napoleon Bonaparte who, on July 15 1815, demanded political asylum from the British aboard HMS Bellerophon. He was exiled to the island of Saint Helena, and it is the Saint Helena flag I am flying today.
Saint Helena is an island of volcanic origin and a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. The territory of Saint Helena consists of both the island of Saint Helena, and also the dependencies of Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.
Battle of Waterloo
Sunday 18 June 1815, near Waterloo, Belgium: Forces of the French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte were defeated by those of the Seventh Coalition, including an Anglo-Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington and a Prussian army. It was the decisive battle of the Waterloo Campaign and Bonaparte's last. The defeat at Waterloo put an end to Napoleon's rule as the French emperor, and marked the end of Napoleon's Hundred Days of return from exile in Elba.
Duke of Wellington at Waterloo
According to Wellington, the battle was "the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life."
Duke of Wellington
Napoleon delayed giving battle until noon on 18 June to allow the ground to dry. Wellington's army, positioned across the Brussels road on the Mont St Jean escarpment, withstood repeated attacks by the French, until, in the evening, the Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon's right flank. At that moment, Wellington's Anglo-allied army counter-attacked and drove the French army in disorder from the field. Pursuing Coalition forces entered France and restored Louis XVIII to the French throne. Napoleon abdicated, surrendering to the British aboard HMS Bellerophon