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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Admiral Nelson in letters

This year, on 21 October, marks the 210th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. This naval battle was between the British Royal Navy, led by Admiral Lord Nelson, and the combined French and Spanish fleets led by French Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve. The most decisive victory of the Napoleonic Wars, this battle ensured Nelson’s place as one of Britain’s greatest war heroes. However, it was also to be his last. Nelson was fatally shot by a sharpshooter whilst standing on the deck of his ship, dying shortly after hearing the news that the enemy had surrendered.

We take a look back at his lifetime through a less conventional route – reading the letters that were sent about him. Through these letters we can see what people might have thought of him, from his war record to his affair with Emma Hamilton.

Featured image credit: Nelson Silhouette by Garry Knight. CC-BY 2.0 via Flickr.

Timeline background image credit: Trafalgar Battle – 21st of October 1805 – Situation at 17h by unknown. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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