How Well Do You Know the Battle of Waterloo?

By: John Miller

How Well Do You Know the Battle of Waterloo?
Image: Louis Dumoulin

About This Quiz

In early 19th-century Europe, France was ground zero for an empire spawned by Napoleon Bonaparte. With his military cunning and political savvy, Napoleon had quickly moved up through the ranks of the army during the French Revolution, becoming a general at the tender age of 24. From there, it was just a matter of time before he seized even more power in his home country. Do you think you know enough about his genius to beat our Battle of Waterloo quiz?

Napoleon roiled Europe with his warring ways. He wasn’t content to rule over France. He wanted other vast parts of the continent, too. For decades, he managed to get away with his power-hungry ways, but abruptly he was shoved from his violent path. Then, showing the tenacity of a true fanatic, he returned to power and set about building his army again. Do you know how he managed this miraculous feat?

With a retooled army and grim determination, Napoleon once again set fire to Europe. He had a dastardly plan in mind – divide the countries allied against him, conscript hundreds of thousands of soldiers, and put Europe in a death grip that it would never escape.

So, Napoleon and his men set off for war once again. This time, they were confronted at the Battle of Waterloo. An allied force of Europeans blocked the French path and refused to retreat, setting the stage for one of the most famous battles in history. Take our epic quiz and see if you know what really happened at the world-changing Battle of Waterloo!

The Battle of Waterloo was a fight that was part of which war?
The Crusades
World War I
Napoleonic Wars
The Battle of Waterloo was a major turning point of the Napoleonic Wars of the early 1800s. The wars tore apart Europe for about two decades.

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The Battle of Waterloo pitted a British-led alliance against ______.
the Spanish
the French
In 1815, a British-led coalition confronted a French army at the Battle of Waterloo. The fates of millions of Europeans were wrapped up in the battle's outcome.
the Americans

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Who was the famous commander of the French forces at this battle?
Napoleon Bonaparte
He's a man who is still regarded as one of the most powerful in world history: Napoleon Bonaparte. He had masterminded France's domination of Europe, and planned on yet another victory at Waterloo.
Charles de Gaulle
Joseph Joffee

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What was Napoleon's title in France?
emperor
Napoleon was a scrappy fighter and politician who pushed his way to the top of French society. In 1804, after a series of major military victories, he made himself emperor.
president
bloodthirsty tyrant

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What happened to Napoleon in 1814?
He was beheaded.
He was forced to leave the throne.
In 1814, an alliance of Russian, Swedish, Austrian and Prussian troops beat Napoleon's armies and captured Paris. The iconic leader was forced to leave his throne and was exiled to a small Mediterranean island off of the coast of Italy.
He contracted syphilis.

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In 1815, Napoleon escaped exile. Then what did he do?
He launched another military campaign.
After less than a year in exile, Napoleon escaped, seized control of his former armies, and began what was called the Hundred Days campaign. The mastermind was back in action and ready to rock Europe all over again.
He went to Disneyland.
He retired from politics.

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What did other European countries do when Napoleon returned to power?
They prepared for war.
The European alliance that ousted Napoleon in 1814 once again banded together, this time in hopes of permanently putting a stop to the power-hungry Frenchman's ways.
They surrendered.
They pleaded for mercy.

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What was the name of the European alliance that opposed Napoleon?
Seventh Coalition
The British-led Seventh Coalition stood in the way of French domination in Europe. Napoleon planned a preemptive strike to put down the allies and make the Coaltion surrender.
the Allies
the Cronies

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On March 25, 1815, Russia, Austria, Prussia and Great Britain all agreed to keep at least _____ troops at war until Napoleon was finally defeated.
30,000
150,000
Each of the four major powers committed to keeping 150,000 troops at the ready until their French nemesis was finally gone. In other words, Napoleon had to make his move or risk being annihilated.
9 million

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In June 1815, Napoleon marched his men into battle in ______ and won the fight.
New York
Belgium
Napoleon wasted no time attacking the Coalition. In June, he marched in to what's now called Belgium and defeated the Prussian army. The French general was back, and in a big way.
London

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Why was Napoleon so eager to take the fight to the Seventh Coalition instead of biding his time and rebuilding his armies?
He was mentally ill.
He was outnumbered.
Upon Napoleon's return to power, the Coalition commited hundreds of thousands of troops to oust the French leader. Napoleon knew he would be outnumbered, so he chose to strike first.
He was impatient.

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The Battle of Waterloo took place in which country?
Belgium
On June 18, 1815, British-led forces confronted the French army in what is now Belgium. If Napoleon won, he would have momentum in his return to power; lose, and his empire was on the ropes.
Germany
Slovakia

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How many armies of the Seventh Coalition clashed with Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo?
2
Two of the armies of the Coalition took the field. They were the Prussian army, led by Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Prince of Wahlstatt, and the British allies, under the command of the Duke of Wellington.
9
12

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True or false, did Napoleon's army actually outnumber the Coalition during this battle?
True
False
It's false, the French forces were outnumbered. Napoleon had just over 70,000 troops at his disposal, against nearly 120,000 Coalition troops.

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What was the condition of the Prussian army at the beginning of the battle?
It was rather inexperienced.
The Prussian army was made up of tens of thousands of conscripts, and many of them had never been in battle. Napoleon knew that he could knock the Prussians out of the war if he struck decisively.
It had many elite soldiers.
Most men didn't even have guns.

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Napoleon was so skilled as a field general that he was often called which nickname?
"God of War"
Napoleon's domination of his foes left him with a formidable reputation … and a nickname: "God of War." At the Battle of Waterloo, many Coalition troops undoubtedly figured they would be heading to early graves.
"Old Blood and Guts"
"The Mountain"

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What was the weather like the night before the battle?
clear and cool
rainy
The night before the battle, troops slumbered under cloudy skies and heavy rain, an element that would eventually play a role in the battle's outcome.
white-out blizzard

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Coalition commander Wellington knew battle was imminent on June 18. He knew that he needed ______.
more troops
Wellington led the British portion of the army and knew that the French were coming. He knew that the Prussians were still some ways off, and that he would need their help to defeat Napoleon.
more food
more gold

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How did both armies know a battle was brewing?
They staged dog fights the night before.
They were camped right next to each other.
The French and the allies camped just 1,500 yards from each other the night of June 17. The next day, they all knew, the bullets would be flying.
The Internet said so.

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Before the battle began, what was Napoleon's objective?
He wanted to eat the Duke of Wellington.
He wanted to capture Brussels.
Napoleon wanted to capture the city of Brussels. His idea was to split the alliance, consolidate his territory and weather the storm while building a bigger and better army.
He wanted the battle to end before dinnertime.

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On the morning of June 18, Napoleon decided to delay his advance. Why?
to let the ground dry out a little
The previous night's rain had saturated the ground. Napoleon delayed his advance to let the water dissipate a little, but that simple decision wound up having a major impact on the ensuing battle.
he didn't sleep very well
so he could savor the moment

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How did Napoleon plan to attack the Coalition at the beginning of the battle?
air assault
envelopment
Napoleon loved to sweep his foes' flanks with envelopment attacks. And that was exactly his plan as the battle began around midday on June 18.
full frontal attack

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As the battle began, which force was rushing to help the Coalition?
Norwegians
Prussians
As Napoleon belatedly started his attack at midday, the Prussians were on the march to assist the Coalition. If they arrived too late, the French would probably have already earned their triumph.
Americans

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The British held a fortified area near La Haye Sainte. What happened at this garrison?
The French overran the Coalition.
At La Haye Sainte, the French found their momentum, crushing the allies and pushing them back. Now, French artillery could launch their shells into the center of Coalition positions. The situation was indeed dire.
The British slaughtered every last French soldier.
Fighting halted for an afternoon snack.

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As the French advanced through the front lines, what surprise did Wellington have in store for them?
hidden troops
Using the rolling terrain and tall grasses, Wellington concealed his reinforcements. As Napoleon's troops quickly advanced, the Coalition men stood and fired at almost point-blank range.
an army of rabid raccoons
nuclear bombs

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As Wellington's men attacked, what else happened?
Napoleon suffered cardiac arrest.
The Prussians arrived.
Just as Wellington's men shattered the French assault, the Prussian army arrived on the scene. What had moments before been a French rout suddenly began a Coalition counteroffensive. The French were defeated.
George Washington strode onto the battlefield with his sword drawn.

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The Coalition won the battle, but many people were hurt. How many TOTAL combined casualities were there during this one-day battle?
around 12,000
around 65,000
The Battle of Waterloo was a bloody affair, especially considering that it lasted just a day. By the end, around 65,000 men were dead, wounded, missing or captured. But Napoleon's bloodthirsty reign was over.
around 1 million

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Four days after his defeat at Waterloo, what did Napoleon do?
He left his throne for good.
Four days after the battle, Napoleon left his throne for good. After 23 years, it was the long-anticipated end of the Napoleonic Wars.
He committed suicide.
He vacationed in the Bahamas.

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What happened to Napoleon, anyway?
He took up golf.
He became a hedge fund manager.
He died in exile.
Once again, Napoleon was exiled, to a remote island in the South Atlantic. This time, there would be no escape. He died in 1821 at age 51, probably from cancer.

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If an unstoppable force is miraculously halted, it is said to have _______.
met its Waterloo
Ever since Napoleon's miraculous defeat, the Battle of Waterloo has come to symbolize David vs. Goliath-type odds. If someone "meets his Waterloo," he's been defeated … even though he should have won.
visited with Lucifer
been French fried

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