What does volcano have to do with Battle of Waterloo?

The Battle of Waterloo is the last major battle of French Emperor Napoleon I, and it left an indelible mark in the history and people’s minds. Five cities in the UK, one railway station, and 32 settlements in North America are named after it. The Battle of Waterloo is also reflected in art, as artists, writers and filmmakers have repeatedly turned to it, finding inspiration for their work. It’s no secret that Napoleon was very much let down by the weather. Not so long ago, historians discovered the cause of two months of heavy rains and found out what prevented the French army from getting reinforcement in time. Scientists say volcanic dust is to blame.
Let’s go back to 1815. Mount Tambora erupted on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa in April 1815. Up to this day, the eruption of Tambora is considered to be the largest in the history of mankind. It killed 70,000 people and caused climatic anomalies (in one of our previous posts, we described a ‘year without summer’, which was a consequence of the cataclysm) and catastrophic crop failures. Volcanic ash got into the upper atmosphere, the ionosphere, where clouds form. Electrified volcanic dust caused heavy rains in Europe. As a result, roads were washed out and transportation was disrupted. It did not allow Napoleon’s allies to come to the rescue in time and resulted in the crushing defeat of the French emperor.
The latest research conducted by scientists at Imperial College of London confirmed the theory of historians. Computer simulations have shown that during large eruptions (like that of Tambora in 1815), ash particles of at least 0.2 microns in size can rise 100km high due to the action of electrostatic forces and reach the ionosphere. For this reason, ash can affect the global climate. Well, maybe, Fortuna and Nature have their favorites. And no matter how much people rely on their strength and invincibility, these two ladies can change the course of history, making their adjustments.


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