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Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769–1852)

The Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815) marked the end of a campaign by allied armies under Britain's Duke of Wellington and Prussia's Field Marshal Blücher to stop Napoleon Bonaparte's final bid for European domination. A milestone in European history, Waterloo ended 23 years of conflict and heralded a new political structure on the continent.

Wellington was one of 17 serving parliamentarians present at the battle. Born Arthur Wellesley, he had joined the British Army in 1787 and quickly risen up the ranks. After making his name in India, he commanded forces against Napoleon in Portugal and Spain during the Peninsular War (1808–14) and was promoted to Field Marshal in 1813.

For his triumphs against the French, Wellesley was made a Peer in 1809. A national hero by 1814, he was generously rewarded by Parliament and took his seat in the House of Lords as the 1st Duke of Wellington. The Battle of Waterloo the following year sealed his military reputation.