By Philip Guedalla
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), was the outstanding soldier of his age. After great military and administrative success, he was knighted in 1805, and in 1809 this ‘sepoy general’ took command of British, Spanish and Portuguese forces in the Iberian peninsula to fight the French. Over five years, in a series of brilliant campaigns, Wellington defeated Napoleon’s best armies. Wellington went on to be one of Europe’s most influential statesmen and one of Britain’s most reactionary Prime Ministers, yet when he died he had become the country’s most respected elder statesman. Here is his story.