Portrait of Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), Baron Nelson (1798), 1st Viscount Nelson (1801), Duke of Bronté in the Kingdom of Sicily (1799), Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet (1803-1805), Rear Admiral of the Red (1799), Vice Admiral of the Blue (1801), Vice Admiral of the White (1804), 1800
Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805) was a British flag officer in the Royal Navy. He was noted for his inspirational leadership, grasp of strategy, and unconventional tactics, which together resulted in a number of decisive British naval victories, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was wounded several times in combat, losing the sight in one eye in Corsica and most of one arm in the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Santa Cruz de Tenerife. He was shot and killed during his final victory at the Battle of Trafalgar near the port city of Cádiz in 1805. Nelson was born into a moderately prosperous Norfolk family and joined the navy through the influence of his uncle, Maurice Suckling, a high-ranking naval officer himself. He rose rapidly through the ranks and served with leading naval commanders of the period before obtaining his own command in 1778. In 1797, he distinguished himself while in command of HMS Captain at the Battle of Cape St Vincent. Shortly after the battle, Nelson took part in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where his attack was defeated and he was badly wounded, losing his right arm, and was forced to return to England to recuperate. The following year, he won a decisive victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile and remained in the Mediterranean to support the Kingdom of Naples against a French invasion. In 1801, he was dispatched to the Baltic and won another victory, this time over the Danes at the Battle of Copenhagen. He subsequently commanded the blockade of the French and Spanish fleets at Toulon and, after their escape, chased them to the West Indies and back but failed to bring them to battle. After a brief return to England, he took over the Cádiz blockade in 1805. On 21 October 1805, the Franco-Spanish fleet came out of port, and Nelson's fleet engaged them at the Battle of Trafalgar. The battle was Britain's greatest naval victory, but during the action, Nelson, aboard HMS Victory, was fatally wounded by a French sharpshooter. His body was brought back to England where he was accorded a state funeral.
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