Arthur Wesley, later Wellesley, was born in
Ireland on 1st May 1769. He was the sixth child of the Count of Wesley,
Lord of Ireland, and destined by his family to follow a military
He began this military career with the Dutch
Campaign of 1794 against the French republicans. He was then a
lieutenant in the 33rd Infantry. As colonel in 1797 his regiment was
sent to India to return only in 1805, by which time he had reached the
grade of major general.
In 1808 as Lieutenant General he commanded the
troops in Portugal and defeated Junot's army in the Battle of Vimero,
to the north of Lisbon.
Following his victory at Talavera (28th July
1809), he was given the titles Viscount Wellington of Talavera and
Baron Douro of Welleslie.
It was only in May 1814, in other words after
the abdication of Napoleon, that he would receive the title of Duke of
Wellington. This general never knew defeat.
British envoy to the Congress of Vienna, victor
at Waterloo, general-in-chief of the European occupying forces in
France, Wellington would give up his military career in 1818 and devote
himself to the politics of his country.
Several times Prime Minister in an England of
increasing mechanisation and religious dissent, he assembled the
Conference of European powers in London in 1830, a conference that made
the independence of Belgium possible.
He died in Walmer, nearby Dover on 14th September 1852, respected and venerated by a whole nation.