- Waterloo is located in Wallonia in the province of Walloon Brabant about 17 km (10 mi.) south of Brussels. The village grew slowly from the 15th to the 17th centuries. Allied forces numbering 69,000 under the command of Arthur Wellesley, the duke of Wellington, prevented Napoléon Bonaparte's advance on Brussels by defeating his army of 72,000 at a site south of the village on 18 June 1815. Trapped by Wellington's army of British, Belgian, Dutch, and Hanoverian troops and a Prussian army of 117,000 under Field-Marshall Prince Blücher Van Wahlstatt advancing from the hamlet of Plancenoit, the French fell victim to the union of the two Allied forces. Here on the outskirts of Brussels, 23 years of warfare in Europe came to an end. By nightfall, approximately 10,813 lay dead and 36,195 wounded. Brussels became a vast ward for the injured and dying, sheltering 20,000 in hospitals, barracks, churches, and homes.The Butte de Lion, the most prominent monument among many on the battlefield, rises 40.5 m (132 ft.) high. It was built in 1824-1826 on the spot where the prince of Orange was wounded while fighting Napoleon's Old Guard. The cast-iron lion, forged at the Cockerill foundry in Seraing, was inaugurated on 26 August 1826. Elaborate commemorative festivities were held at Waterloo on the first anniversary of the battle and on the 100th, when the Germans held a grand military revue in June 1915. Reenactments of the battle by costumed players are held here today.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.