The Battle of Waterloo
Napoleon Bonaparte is an iconic character, not only because he was short, wore a silly hat, and had enough pirate brothers to conquer most of Europe, but because he is the only person in history to meet his Waterloo actually at Waterloo. (The rest of us tend to meet it in boardrooms, law courts, amateur beard-growing competitions, and if you’re English, in Surrey.) Had Napoleon won the Battle of Waterloo, civilization would be quite different. For starters, there wouldn’t be 2,050,000 results on Google for the term “French surrender” (there would only be 2,049,999.) Also, we would all eat a lot more snails.
But Napoleon did not win the battle. Later his opponent, the Duke of Wellington (also famed for rendering beef completely inedible and known as “Sally” to his friends), described the fighting as: “The nearest run thing you ever saw in your life,” which was Sally’s way of saying Napoleon almost won. To add insult to injury, Napoleon’s famed Imperial Guard — the closest thing the French Army had to crack assault pirates — ran away: