Napoleon's Waterloo Didn't Come at Waterloo

Braine-l’Alleud would finally like some credit
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2015 4:29 PM CDT
Napoleon's Waterloo Didn't Come at Waterloo

History buffs—and tourists with money to spend—will be swarming on Waterloo, Belgium, next week to mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's famous last battle. The nearby town of Braine-l’Alleud isn't too thrilled about it, however. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the Battle of Waterloo didn't actually take place in Waterloo. A Belgian historian's research shows that three of the key fights were in Braine-l’Alleud and two more were in Plancenoit—but because a duke filed his dispatch from his headquarters in Waterloo, that name has gotten all the glory. “Nobody will ever call it the ‘Battle of Braine-l’Alleud.’ That would be completely ridiculous, and that’s not our goal at all,” says the town’s mayor. "But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to correct errors that were made.”

Among other things, the town is suing Michelin over a tour guide that it says doesn't give Braine-l’Alleud its due. This isn't the only Waterloo-related disagreement related to the anniversary. Belgium has minted coins worth 2.50 euros to commemorate the defeat of the French emperor, and France is a little miffed. First, it blocked Belgium from issuing coins worth 2 euros that would be legal tender throughout the EU, a move that meant 180,000 coins had to be melted down, reports CNN. But then "Belgium resorted to a cunning ruse de guerre to outflank the French," reports the Financial Times. Taking advantage of an obscure clause, it minted the non-standard 2.50 coin, which can be used only in Belgium itself. (The first full skeleton from the Battle of Waterloo has been identified as that of a German hunchback.)

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