Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was born 1769 in Dublin. He got his education at Eton and the Military Academy of Angers in France and enrolled in the British army at nineteen years of age. With the aid of his brother, Richard Colley Wellesley (later to become Marquess Wellesley), he climbed the ranks. In 1796 he went to India, where he receceived his first independent command. His brother was appointed Governor-General of India in 1797, and Arthur served him as military and civil advisor. He also participated in several campaigns, such as the subjugation of the Marathas, which he defeated in surprise attack with 10.000 men against 40.000.

In 1805 he returned to England, receiving a knighthood as a reward for his services to the Empire. Having already been a member of the Irish parliament he was now elected to the British parliament for the Tory Party in 1806. The following year he was appointed Irish secretary as well.

Arthur fought Napoleon Bonaparte both in Hannover and Denmark, and when the French army threatened Portugal he led the British Expeditionary Force there in 1808. Although he defeated the French at Vimeiro he was superseeded in command and briefly forced to return home to face criticism of the peace made with the enemy.

When the conflict evolved into the Peninsular War, Arthur assumed command of the allied British, Portugese and Spanish forces. He managed to drive the enemy out of Spain and in turn invaded the south of France and had gotten as far as Toulouse when Napoleon abdicated in 1814. When Napoleon returned from Elba the year after, Arthur once again commanded the allied forces. Together with the Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher he utterly crushed the enemy at Waterloo; this is perhaps his most famous victory.

For smiting the French Emperor, Arthur Wellesley was made the 1st Duke of Wellington. His steadfastness and uncompromising nature earned him the nickname 'The Iron Duke'.

He now reentered the Tory cabinet, and at the insistence of King George IV became prime minister in 1828. He was not as sucessful a politician as he was a warrior however, and was forced to resign two years later. He did serve as foreign secretary and minister without portfolio in the cabinet of Sir Robert Peel, though. In 1842 he was again made commander in chief of the British army, a title he held until his death in 1852. His body lies buried in St. Paul's Cathedral in London.