Horatio Nelson - Years of war,Nelsons birth and early career referat





Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson had a passionate belief in his ability to become a hero. His famous naval career began in 1771 when he was only twelve years old, and ended with his death at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805. His victories and great courage caught the public imagination, and he was indeed considered a hero, both in his own lifetime and in the Victorian period following his death.

Almost 200 years later, he is still a character that arouses great interest. Nelson himself, his family and friends, left a great many letters, diaries and other materials that give us the evidence on which to base a study of his life.




The period of Nelson's lifetime was one in which agricultural and industrial revolution and population growth led to enormous economic and social changes. The tremendous expansion of manufacture was to provide the impetus for British expansion into the world in a search for markets in which to trade its goods. The Royal Navy would thus assume a vital role in protecting British ships trading throughout the world, to the Baltic, India, the North American colonies and the West Indies.

Although overall a time of economic growth, there were also periodic slumps linked to the effects of war, harvest failure, and unemployment which led to social unrest and protest. Amongst the establishment there was therefore a great fear of the spread of ideas such as those of the French Revolution

Years of war  

The period of Nelson's lifetime was one of many wars. He was born during the Seven Years War (1756-63) between Britain and France. The alliance of the French with America in the War of American Independence (1775-82) led to further war between the two countries. The Revolutionary Wars (1793-1801) marked a renewal of hostilities. The Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) followed the French attempt to extend their revolution across Europe. Britain was thus at war again, at times with Spain as well as France. These events provide the setting for the powerful hostility felt by Nelson towards the French throughout his lifetime

Nelson's birth and early career

Horatio was born in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, close to the North Sea coast, on 29th September 1758. He was the son of the Reverend Edmund Nelson. His mother was Catherine Suckling, who came from a far more influential family than her husband. Her grandmother had been the sister of George II's powerful minister Sir Robert Walpole.



Mourning for Nelson

In 1771, Horatio joined the HMS Raisonnable, a ship commanded by his uncle Captain Maurice Suckling, as a midshipman. As a twelve year old boy, he thus began what was to prove a lifetime's experience at sea. By the time he was twenty, his ships had taken him to the Arctic, the East Indies and the Caribbean. These early experiences laid the foundation for his subsequent successful career in the navy and great victories against France, Spain and the Netherlands.

In January 1806, after Nelson's body had lain in state in the Painted Hall of Greenwich Hospital, it was carried by barge up the Thames. An extraordinary state funeral, celebrated with enormous solemnity and grief, was held in St Paul's Cathedral. Nelson's elaborate tomb can still be seen in the crypt below the dome. His flagship, the Victory is also preserved at Portsmouth.

Many other commemorative projects ensured lasting national fame for Nelson. Although the kind of sainthood claimed for him in the immediate period after his death may have faded, his strengths, such as his bravery, and his ability to inspire loyalty, confidence and enthusiasm in others are still remembered.












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