World History 1815

About the history of the world in 1815, Napoleon attacks in the Battle of Waterloo and is exiled.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1815

* John L. McAdam, "colossus of roads," deciding to remedy the wretched state of English roads, invented the durable macadam road, made of layers of small interlocking stones over a prepared bed. His road revolutionized transportation.

Jan. 8 Ignorant of a peace treaty signed two weeks earlier, Gen. Andrew Jackson became a national hero when, aided by pirate Jean Laffite, he shattered the attacking British at the Battle of New Orleans.

Feb. 26 Napoleon, convinced that France would welcome him from exile, left Elba with an army 1,000 strong to begin the Hundred Days' return to power. He succeeded in raising and equipping an army of 300,000 men.

June 18 At Waterloo in eastern Belgium, Napoleon was crushed by Allied armies under Wellington and Blucher in nine hours of fighting that killed almost 50,000 men. Initially certain of victory, he lost through adverse circumstances which included misinterpreted orders, untimely rains, and painful hemorrhoids.

July 15 A hunted fugitive, Napoleon surrendered to the British navy at Rochefort after a British blockade prevented his escape to America.

Oct. 15 Napoleon arrived at his final place of exile, St. Helena, a gloomy rock 1,200 mi. off the west coast of Africa. Violent winds, fog, high humidity, and extreme temperature changes made the tiny British island a living hell. In a converted farmhouse, with a small company of faithful retainers, his domain bounded by a 4-mi. wall, the man whose word had been law throughout Europe and who for years had met the most strenuous physical and intellectual challenges, found that worse than isolation and debilitating climate was the need to adapt himself to boredom. He suffered petty indignities from the governor, Sir Hudson Lowe, an inflexible man without tact or sympathy, and was perpetually guarded by redcoats fearful he might escape. He once remarked irritably that they treated him "like a Botany Bay convict." Inactive, he put on weight and spent his days gardening, studying a thousand subjects, dictating his memoirs, playing chess (badly, and prone to cheat), and reading aloud to a captive audience.

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