Arthur Colley Wellesley, 1.º Duque de Wellington, KG GCB GCH PC FRS (Dublin, 1 de maio de 1769 — Castelo de Walmer, 14 de setembro de 1852) foi um marechal e político britânico, primeiro-ministro do Reino Unido por duas vezes. Wellesley foi nomeado como alferes no exército britânico em 1787.
A comprehensive biography of the Anglo-Irish statesman, soldier, and British Tory politician who was one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain. He commanded the allied forces that defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815 and served twice as prime minister of the United Kingdom.
- Early life
- Victory in the Napoleonic Wars
Arthur Wellesley, 1st duke of Wellington (born May 1, 1769, Dublin, Ireland—died September 14, 1852, Walmer Castle, Kent, England) Irish-born commander of the British army during the Napoleonic Wars and later prime minister of Great Britain (1828–30). He first rose to military prominence in India, won successes in the Peninsular War in Spain (1808–14), and shared in the victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo (1815).
Wellington twice reached the zenith of fame with a period of unexampled odium intervening. By defeating Napoleon at Waterloo he became the conqueror of the world’s conqueror. After Waterloo he joined a repressive government, and later, as prime minister, he resisted pressure for constitutional reform. False pride, however, never prevented him from retreating either on the field or in Parliament, and for the country’s sake he supported policies that he personally disapproved. In old age he was idolized as an incomparable public servant—the Great Duke. Reaction came after his death. He has been rated an overcautious general and, once, Britain’s worst 19th-century prime minister. Today there is widespread appreciation of his military genius and of his character as an honest and selfless politician, uncorrupted by vast prestige.
Wesley (later, from 1798, Wellesley) was the fifth son of the 1st earl of Mornington. Too withdrawn to benefit from his Eton schooling, he was sent to a military academy in France, being, in his widowed mother’s words, “food for powder and nothing more.” At the age of 18 he was commissioned in the army and appointed aide-de-camp to the Irish viceroy. In 1790–97 he held the family seat of Trim in the Irish Parliament. At 24, though in debt, he proposed to Catherine (Kitty) Pakenham but was rejected. Arthur abandoned heavy gambling to concentrate on his profession. As lieutenant colonel of the 33rd Foot by purchase, he saw active service in Flanders (1794–95), learning from his superiors’ blunders. After failing to obtain civil employment, he was glad to be posted to India in 1796.
In India he adopted a regimen of abstemiousness and good humour. The arrival of his eldest brother, Richard, as viceroy enabled him to exploit his talents. He commanded a division against Tippu Sultan of Mysore (Mysuru) and became governor of Mysore (1799) and commander in chief against the Marathas. Victories, especially at Assaye (1803), resulted in a peace that he himself negotiated. All the successful qualities he later exhibited on European battlefields were developed in India: decision, common sense, and attention to detail; care of his soldiers and their supplies; and good relations with the civilian population. Napoleon was unwise in later writing him off as a mere “Sepoy general.” Wellesley returned to England in 1805 with a knighthood.
Wellesley did not intend to be “half beaten before the battle began”—the usual effect on continental armies of Napoleon’s supremacy. With “steady troops” he expected to master the French attack. His “thin red line” of British infantry did indeed defeat Gen. Andoche Junot’s columns at Vimeiro (August 21), but the arrival of two superior British officers prevented a pursuit because they preferred to sign the unpopular convention of Sintra, whereby Junot’s army was repatriated. Public outcry brought about the court-martial of Wellesley and his colleagues. Though acquitted, Wellesley returned to Ireland as chief secretary. After the British evacuated Spain, however, he persuaded the government to let him renew hostilities in 1809, arguing that Portugal could still be held, a decision that was crucial to Europe. Landing at Lisbon, he surprised Marshal Nicolas-Jean de Dieu Soult, captured Oporto, and chased the French back into Spain, but a joint Anglo-Spanish advance on Madrid failed despite a victory at Talavera (July 27–28). Though rewarded with a peerage for his offensive, Viscount Wellington retreated with his greatly outnumbered force to his Portuguese base, defeating Marshal André Masséna at Bussaco on the way (September 27, 1810). He had secretly fortified the famous “lines of Torres Vedras” across the Lisbon peninsula. Masséna’s evacuation of Portugal in the spring of 1811 and the loss of Fuentes de Oñoro (May 3–5) triumphantly justified Wellington’s defensive, scorched-earth policy and confirmed his soldiers’ trust in him. He was nicknamed “nosey” by his men, and “the beau” by his officers, for his slim five feet nine inches, the perfectly cut civilian clothes he preferred to wear, his wavy brown hair, and brilliant blue eyes.
Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content.
His slowly growing army was not strong enough to capture the Spanish fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz until 1812. Then, having defeated “40,000 Frenchmen in 40 minutes” at Salamanca (July 22), he entered Madrid (August 12). His siege of Burgos failed and his army retreated again to Portugal, from which it was launched for the last time into Spain in May 1813. After a dash across the peninsula, he brought the French to bay at Vitoria, routing them and capturing all their baggage (June 21). This glittering prize was too much for the victors, who let the French escape into the Pyrenees, while Wellington denounced his drunken troops as “the scum of the earth.” The victory at Vitoria gave impetus to the European alliance against Napoleon, and Soult’s initial success in the Pyrenees could not prevent Wellington from taking San Sebastián and Pamplona. When dry weather came, Wellington invaded France, crossing the river lines one after another until on April 10, 1814, he stormed into Toulouse, thus ending the Peninsular War. (Four days earlier Napoleon had abdicated.) Already marquess and field marshal, he was now created a duke, with the nation’s gift of £500,000 and later of Stratfield Saye in Hampshire to keep up his position.
Arthur Wellesley, duque de Wellington (retrato patente no Victoria and Albert Museum, em Londres) Napoleão Bonaparte, comandante cujas tropas foram derrotadas por Wellington em Waterloo Em vida e depois da sua morte, foram-lhe feitas inúmeras homenagens nacionais e dedicados monumentos.
Greelane, 31 de julho de 2021, thinkco.com/napoleonic-arthur-wellesley-duke-wellington-2360136. HICKMAN, Kennedy. (2021, 31 de julho). Guerras Napoleônicas: Arthur Wellesley, Duque de Wellington. Recuperado de https://www.thoughtco.com/napoleonic-arthur-wellesley-duke-wellington-2360136 Hickman, Kennedy.