Before Waterloo: Imminent Danger

The British may have triumphed against Napoleon Bonaparte's forces on the fields of Waterloo in 1815, but prior to their success, anxiety pervaded the island nation.

This exhibit looks at reactions to Napoleon’s threatened land invasion of England. It begins from the vantage point of the diplomats and policy-makers who tried to broker peace and continues through the spate of nationalist sentiment expressed in popular publications and satires, the voluntary responses of citizens willing to form local defensive units, and finally some of the more grandiose, if improbable, strategies including the use of hot air balloons to convey troops across the Channel and analyzing Napoleon’s astrological chart as a way to forecast his downfall. 

Along with the companion exhibit, Waterloo@200: The Legacy, these exhibits mark the 200-year anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and highlight collection strengths in DePaul's Special Collections and Archives.

Credits

DePaul University, Special Collections and Archives.