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An English hero: Admiral Nelson


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An English hero: Admiral Nelson

Admiral Nelson was a man who made history. With his controversial decisions he won important battles against the French under Napoleon. Lord Nelson is still a British folk hero, famous for his victories and fearless fight to the death.

Joined the Navy at the age of twelve!

Horatio Nelson was born on September 29th, 1758 as the third son of a clergyman in Norfolk, England. At the age of twelve he joined the British Navy under the care of his uncle. Instead of playing, the boy learned seafaring, but also war schemes and tactics. At the age of 19, Nelson served in the Caribbean and the American War of Independence. The ambitious young man quickly made a career: in 1778 he became commander and only a year later he became captain.

In 1793 the British war against revolutionizing France began. Nelson was appointed commander of the Agamemnon and sent to the Mediterranean. He took part in the British occupation of the city of Toulon.

Lady Hamilton

While he was in Naples, from where he was to escort troops to Toulon, Nelson met the wife of the British ambassador, Lady Hamilton, a fateful encounter. She became his lover, later even gave him a daughter and remained his lover until his death - a scandalous relationship at the time. Nelson was only able to maintain his social position despite this relationship through his great military successes.

The turning point in naval warfare

After the British troops withdrew from Toulon, they occupied Corsica. Nelson lost an eye in the fighting.

Nelson celebrated his first success in 1797. At that time he played a decisive role in the victory of the British over the Spanish fleet, which at that time supported the French, off Cape St. Vincent in Portugal. Resolutely defying his admiral's orders, he ran from the battle line and captured several Spanish ships. The British fleet won through his maneuver. This action would have cost him his career if it had failed. So she helped him to be knighted (lord) and promotion to rear admiral.

The battle of Abukir

In the same year Nelson also carried out a hasty attack on Tenerife in which he lost his right arm. But only a year later, in 1798, Nelson returned to service and now he was chasing Napoleon's French Mediterranean fleet, which had broken out of Toulon, even more doggedly.

On August 1st he tracked down the 17 ships off Abukir. Napoleon wanted to conquer Egypt and then attack the British in India. Nelson attacked the ships in the bay. The battle, in which Nelson demonstrated his tactical skill and fearlessness, lasted into the night. In the end, the French were defeated and only four of their ships were not sunk. This battle on the Nile made Nelson famous and earned him the title of baron.

In 1801 Nelson was made a vice admiral. His area of ‚Äč‚Äčoperation was now the Baltic Sea, where he should fight the Danes. After a hard fight with high losses, he succeeded in victory.

The Battle of Trafalgar

The peace of Amiens briefly ended the war between France and England.
In 1803 the Kreig broke out again and Nelson became Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean. He blocked a French naval formation in Toulon. When the French broke through the blockade, Nelson pursued the allied French-Spanish fleet with his ships as far as the Caribbean and back to Europe.

The French, under the command of the French Vice Admiral Pierre Charles de Villeneuve, sailed for Spain and sought refuge in Cadiz. The British blocked the city. The French broke the blockade and sailed to the Spanish Cape of Trafalgar. There it came to the decisive battle on October 21, 1805. It ended with a devastating defeat for the Franco-Spanish fleet: 20 ships captured or destroyed. On the other hand, not a single ship was lost on the British side.

Nelson's end

Shortly after the battle began, a bullet struck the admiral. Nelson received the successful outcome of the battle, but died shortly afterwards. Due to his successful efforts, Napoleon's plans to take India were finally ruined. Nelson received a pompous state funeral and is still revered as a hero in England today. When you come to London, you can still see for yourself: In Trafalgar Square, a square in the heart of the British capital, you will find Nelson's Column, in honor of Admiral Nelson and his historic victory over the French at Trafalgar.

-from-29.09.03 text / photos: see

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