Waterloo: Myth and Reality

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But during the first days after the battle, other visitors arrived to remove other less obvious valuables from the corpses awaiting burial: their teeth!

With the introduction of sugar into Europe and with poor understanding of the need to clean teeth, tooth decay was rife, with most over the age of thirty requiring numerous tooth extractions and therefore dentures to hide the damage. Teeth had regularly been supplied by the body snatchers, but these teeth were often already in a poor state when removed from the corpses.

A better source of good quality teeth was from the young men killed in battle and so many were collected at Waterloo that they were carted away in huge oak barrels.

In the early nineteenth century it was discovered that bone was an excellent fertilizer and the great battlefields of Europe were dug up to extract the bones so that they could be ground up. Samson said in his role as Napoleon.

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With a touch of melancholy, he added that he would not try to rewrite history and would accept whatever fate awaited him at Waterloo. There, he and more than 5, war re-enactors and horses will, on Friday and Saturday, restage the climactic battle, an event billed as the biggest re-enactment ever held in Europe.

Harvesting Bones at Waterloo

Other Frenchmen have insisted that Napoleon actually won. She also put out pots planted with what she had hoped would be flowers in the colors of France — blue, white and red — but which turned out to be purple, white and brown. Coulon said. While Britain and the Netherlands, two of the principal victors in , are sending members of their royal families to Belgium for the Waterloo commemorations, France is sending only its ambassador in Brussels.

The real reason for his defeat, Mr. Once the battle was over, however, Napoleon quickly got the upper hand in rewriting history.


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While Wellington went into politics, becoming a deeply conservative and highly unpopular prime minister in London, Napoleon used his exile on St. Helena to work on his memoir with a French historian, a vast self-serving work that became an international best seller. White said.