The Battle of Waterloo — which marked the final defeat of Napoleon and the end of the Napoleonic Wars — took place on June 18, 1815, near the village of Waterloo (located south of Brussels).
Fighting against Napoleon were two forces: a British-led coalition that included Germans, Belgians, and Dutch (all under the Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley) and an army from Prussia (under Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher).
Hundreds of babies were given the name “Waterloo” — typically as a middle — during the second half of the 1810s. Most of them were baby boys born in England, but some were girls, and some were born elsewhere in the British Empire (and beyond).
- William Wellington Waterloo Humbley*, b. 1815, in England
- Isabella Fleura Waterloo Deacon †, b. 1815, Belgium
- John Waterloo Todd, b. 1815, England
- Fredrick Waterloo Collins, b. 1815, Wales
- Jubilee Waterloo Reeves (née Davis), b. 1815, England
- Her first name may refer to the Grand Jubilee of 1814.
- Dent Waterloo Ditchburn, b. 1815, England
- Joseph Waterloo Hart, b. 1815, England
- Henry Waterloo Nickels, b. 1815, England
- Sophia Waterloo Mills, b. 1815, England
- Henry Waterloo Prescott, b. 1815, England
- Richard Waterloo Renny, b. 1815, England
- John Waterloo Posthumous Brittany, b. circa 1815, England
- Charlotte Waterloo Grapes, b. circa 1815, England
- Louisa Waterloo France, b. circa 1815, Belgium
- James Waterloo Clark, b. 1816, England
- Henry Waterloo Johnson, b. 1816, England
- George Waterloo Holland, b. 1816, England
- Charles Waterloo Wallett, b. 1816, England
- John Waterloo Wilson, b. circa 1816, Belgium
- Frederick Waterloo Jennings, b. 1817, England
- William Waterloo Horford, b. 1817, England
- George Mark Waterloo Smith, b. 1817, England
- Edward Waterloo Lane, b. 1817, England
- Robert Waterloo Cook, b. 1817, England
- Eleanor Waterloo Whiteman, b. 1817, England
- Ann Waterloo Barlow, b. 1818, England
- Wellington Waterloo Teanby, b. circa 1818, England
- William Wellington Waterloo Jackson, b. circa 1819, England
Interestingly, babies were still being named Waterloo long after the battle was over. Many more Waterloos were born from the 1820s onward:
- Capt. John Worsley Waterloo Costley, b. 1825, Ireland
- Charles Waterloo Hutchinson, b. 1825, Scotland
- William Waterloo Palmer, b. 1833, England
- George Waterloo Wakefield, b. 1837, England
- Malcolm Waterloo McPhaden, b. 1839, Canada
- His father was born in Scotland in 1807.
- Arthur Fanshaw Waterloo Royle, b. 1845, England
- Wellington Waterloo Kennedy, b. 1853, Scotland
- Wellington Waterloo O’Fallin, b. 1864, U.S.
- His father was born in Ireland in 1810.
- Henry Waterloo Hanks, b. 1865, Wales
- William Waterloo Wellington Rolleston Napoleon Buonaparte Guelph Saunders, b. 1867, England
The place-name Waterloo is made up of a pair of Middle Dutch words that, together, mean “watery meadow.” Since the battle, though, the word Waterloo has also been used to refer to “a decisive or final defeat or setback.” (It’s used this way in the 1974 Abba song “Waterloo” [vid], for instance.)
The Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) followed the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-c.1802), which followed the French Revolution (1789-1799), which gave rise to a number of revolutionary baby names in France.
- Battle of Waterloo – Wikipedia
- Blackie, Christina. Geographical Etymology: A Dictionary of Place-names. 3rd ed. London: John Murray, 1887.
- The Humbley Siblings: Named for Victory – All Things Georgian
- Two ‘Waterloo Children’ – All Things Georgian
- Waterloo – Wiktionary
- Waterloo – Merriam-Webster
*William Wellington Waterloo Humbley was born on the day of the battle (while his father, an army officer, was abroad taking part). He was baptized the following summer, and the Duke of Wellington himself stood godfather. Several years after that, in 1819, his parents welcomed daughter Vimiera Violetta Vittoria Humbley — named after the battles of Vimeiro (1808) and Vitoria (1813).
† Isabella Fleura Waterloo Deacon’s father, Thomas, had been wounded in the previous battle (Quatre Bras, on the 16th). Her mother, Martha — who was traveling with the army — searched the battlefield for him all night. Eventually she discovered that he’d been transported to Brussels, some 20 miles away, so she walked there with her three young children. (Through a 10-hour thunderstorm, no less.) She reached Brussels on the morning of the 18th, located her husband, and gave birth to Isabella on the 19th.