« Return to TeachersFirst Main Site

Dates That Matter

June 18, 1815

Napoleon Bonaparte is defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.

 Why does it matter?

Napoleon, who had declared himself Emperor of France in the years following the French Revolution, was determined to expand his territory. The leaders of England, Prussia, Austria and Russia were just as determined to contain him. The Battle of Waterloo was Napoleon's final battle, and took place in present-day Belgium. English troops under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and troops from Prussia, dealt Napoleon his final defeat. Following this defeat, Napoleon was exiled to St. Helena, where he died, and King Louis XVIII was restored to the throne of France.

Today, in popular culture, you might hear it said that someone has "met his Waterloo" meaning that he has been decisively and completely defeated.

For more information...

PBS: Napoleon
From a PBS series, a website focused on Napoleon. Special features include a Java-enabled battle simulation of Waterloo.

Battle of Waterloo, 1815
Extensive site detailing the battle from the perspectives of the combatants, with commentary and maps.

Letters of War
A number of eyewitness accounts of the Battle of Waterloo. Good primary source documents for students doing research.