Where was Napolean's Waterloo?

I am tutoring a boy in World History, and his book is ambiguous about in which country was Waterloo located when Napolean was defeated for the final time? The text book’s map shows Waterloo in France, but the text below says “Austrian Netherlands”. Which was it?

Extra Credit: After first being defeated in Moscow, leading to his exile to Elba, how did Napolean manage to make a comeback and fight once more only to be defeated (once and for all) at Waterloo? The textbook is very poorly written watering everything down and oversimplifying everything…making it all clear as mud. (And why was there a Louis XVIII, but no XVII?)


  • Jinx

Waterloo is in Belgium, approx 10 miles south of Brussels. Napoleon escaped from Elba with a small band of soldiers. The(reinstated) king of France sent soldiers to meet him and Napoleon (allegedly) said, ‘if any of you will shoot your emperor, do it now’, they declined and marched with him. The king fled. Napoleon was back. the rest of Europe said ‘uh oh’, formed a coalition and they all fought at Waterloo. Napoleon was banished to St Helena in the S. Atlantic to guarantee no 2nd comeback. Basically.

As noted, Waterloo is in what’s presently Belgium, was prior to the French Revolutionary Wars part of the Spanish and then the Austrian Netherlands, became part of Greater France during the wars prior to and including Napoleon’s campaigns, and was included after the Congress of Vienna in the Kingdom of the Netherlands (for about 15 years, declaring its independence as the Kingdom of Belgium in 1830 and making it stick in 1839). At the time of the Battle of Waterloo, the area that became Belgium was something of a disputed territory – Austrian by pre-war definitions, conquered by France, claimed by the Netherlands, and pretty much up for grabs. Obvious solution to your map problem is that one map shows pre-war conditions as if post-Napoleon they had been reverted to, the other shows what France had conquered in the 1790s.

Louis XVII was the (non-lost) Dauphin, who statutorily succeeded to the throne of France when his father was beheaded in 1792 but died in prison.

And Belgium, of course, was formerly the “Austrian Netherlands” ( formerly from the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 until 1795 ), having previously been the Spanish Netherlands" since 1555. It was annexed by France from 1795-1815 ( so it was technically French at the time of Waterloo ), then was annexed by the Netherlands proper 1815-1830, until breaking away to form an independent kingdom in 1830.

As for Louis XVII, he died a prisoner in France of tuberculosis in 1795. He was declared king in 1793 by his exiled uncle, who later became Louis XVIII, hence the numbering scheme, even though Louis XVII never sat on a throne.

  • Tamerlane

Argh! Pre-empted again :).

  • Tamerlane