This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, an epic battle and turning point in world history. The battle shares its namesake with London RIB Voyages HQ, situated in the heart of London's Waterloo, but the battle itself was fought near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. [caption id="attachment_952" align="aligncenter" width="640"] The strategic situation in Western Europe in 1815: 250,000 Frenchmen faced a coalition of about 850,000 soldiers on four fronts. Napoleon was forced to leave 20,000 men in Western France to reduce a royalist insurrection.[/caption] Many recognisable names, such as Napoleon and Wellington, are associated with the battle, but few are familiar with the significance of these historic figures. Waterloo was one of the most important military battles of the 19th century involving at least four armies, 200,000 soldiers, 12,000 dead and 35,000 wounded, with all sides showing a high degree of military leadership, courage and bravery. For Great Britain, it was the culmination of a long campaign, fought in Portugal, Spain, France and finally in Belgium (as well as in many other parts of the world), involving many nations in a struggle against the tyranny of imposed regimes and for the preservation of personal liberties that had their origin in the Magna Carta. An official charity, Waterloo 200,has been set up by the UK government to support the commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo during its bicentenary in 2015. Waterloo 200 is supporting a diverse range of activities, from a service of commemoration at St Paul's Cathedral to the restoration of Hougoumont Chateau on the Waterloo battlefield in Belgium. To find out how you can get involved in the bicentenary celebrations view the full events listings here, there are exhibitions and events happening around the country.
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