Thursday, June 18, 2015

Three Fun Facts About The Battle Of Waterloo

The Battle of Waterloo
Two hundred years ago, this day, the Emperor Napoleon suffered a devastating loss against the Anglo-Prussio-Dutch-Hanoverian-Nassau-Brunswick armies (quite a mouthful, eh? But Napoleon wasn't a favorite among  non-French people...not that he was always a favorite amongst the French themselves either). The battle took place in Waterloo, a town just south of Brussels, in the then United Kingdom of the Netherlands.

In any case, I have a friend who's worked for a number of years at the Wellington Museum in Waterloo who knows quite a few interesting tidbits about the battle itself, and related facts. So, without further ado, here they are:

Napoleon on his white horse
(crossing the Alps, technically)
1. Napoleon wasn't actually present at the battle, but in the reenactments of the battle (which take place every five years), they have a Napoleon stand-in (played in the last several years by an American) overlooking the battle on his white horse in the middle of a field.

English soldier in Wellington's army
reloading his musket
2. Part of the reason why the British were able to withstand the French long enough for the Prussian army to arrive was that it took the British only 1 minute to reload their weapons, whereas it took the French 2. (As a side note, I think it's interesting to know that these muskets' range was about 20 meters--so being able to reload your weapon was extra crucial!)

Wrong period, but you get the gist.
All you needed were two serviceable teeth, one on top, the other right below.
3. Many people sought to avoid entering the army by pulling out their teeth. That's correct, ladies and gents, for without their teeth, they couldn't rip their paper cartridges open, rendering them rather useless.

See? Pretty interesting, don't you think? And now you can sound extra interesting at your next happy hour :)
The Waterloo Lion

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