Horatio Nelson (01:48)
Lord Nelson was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar, sealing his reputation as a British naval hero. Nine years after his death, a series of his letters were published showing his efforts to achieve greatness.
Nelson's Early Life (02:43)
Nelson was born in Norfolk in 1758 to a poor family. After his mother died, Nelson grew close to his uncle Morris Suckling, a Navy captain, and began working on his ship; Nelson was made a captain at age 21.
Nelson's Early Fame (04:53)
War with the French Republic gave Nelson a chance to proof himself. He led an attack against three Spanish ships at the Cape of St. Vincent. He wrote a detailed report of the attack, which was published in multiple newspapers.
Nelson's Setback (03:36)
Nelson's fleet was eventually defeated by the Spanish and he was shot in the right arm. As Nelson dealt with his injury, Britain's national morale was low due to repeated naval defeats. Prime Minister William Pitt sent Nelson to the Mediterranean to destroy a fleet.
Nelson Against Napoleon (04:04)
Nelson's fleet spent weeks searching for Napoleon's fleet with no luck. After meeting with his captains, he realized the French were heading for India and would go through the Cape of Alexandria. They destroyed the French fleet in Aboukir Bay.
Nelson in Naples (06:39)
Two months after defeating Napoleon in Egypt, Nelson, now an admiral, and his fleet arrived to a hero's welcome. He became close to William Hamilton and his wife Emma. Nelson was told to remain in Naples, but he grew frustrated.
Nelson and Emma (06:11)
Nelson struggled to navigate the politics in Naples and received help from Emma Hamilton. Emma treated Nelson like the hero he wished everyone saw him as and they fell in love. Civil war erupted in Naples and Nelson fought for the loyalists per the queen's request.
Nelson's Social Status (02:08)
Back in England, Nelson struggled to maintain his marriage to Fanny Nisbet as his affair with Emma became known. He publicly left Nisbet after he learned Emma was pregnant. Despite the ongoing war, the navy was reluctant to put him in command.
Nelson's Insecurity (05:19)
Nelson was placed under the command of a less experienced admiral in the Baltic Fleet. He questioned whether Emma would risk societal backlash and leave her husband. After defeating a Danish fleet at the Battle of Copenhagen, he asked for dismissal but was denied.
Nelson at Merton (04:31)
Emma named her daughter after Nelson and wrote to him about a home she had found near London. He arrived at Merton in 1801 and was satisfied with the life he began to build with Emma.
Nelson's Command (04:18)
After a year at Merton, Nelson was made commander in chief of the Mediterranean fleet. He spent over two years at sea, writing numerous letters to Emma, including one shortly before he attacked the French fleet near the Cape of Trafalgar.
Nelson's Death (05:05)
Nelson was shot in the chest during the Battle of Trafalgar and died. Over 9,000 people attended his funeral in London. He was almost instantly mythologized to inspire British forces, the publication of his letters to Emma tarnished his image.
Credits: Nelson - In His Own Words (00:30)
Credits: Nelson - In His Own Words
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