Horatio Nelson was born at England, on September 29, 1758, to Reverend Edmund Nelson and Catherine Nelson. He was the sixth of eleven children.
Nelson married Frances Nisbet in 1787, while stationed in the Caribbean. The two did not produce any children and the relationship cooled.
In 1799, Nelson met Emma Hamilton, the wife of the British ambassador to Naples. The two fell in love and, despite the scandal, lived openly together for the remainder of Nelson’s life. They had one child, a daughter named Horatia.
Entering the Royal Navy in 1771, Nelson swiftly rose through the ranks achieving the rank of captain by the time he was twenty. In 1797, he won great acclaim for his performance at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent where his audacious disobeying of orders led to a stunning British victory over the French. Later that year, he participated in an attack on Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands and was wounded in the right arm, forcing its amputation.
In 1798, Nelson, now a rear admiral, was given a fleet of fifteen ships and sent to destroy the French fleet supporting Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt. After weeks of searching, he found the French at anchor in Aboukir Bay near Alexandria. Sailing into uncharted waters at night, Nelson’s squadron attacked and annihilated the French fleet, destroying all but two of their ships.
After this triumph, Nelson sailed for the Mediterranean where he over saw the blockade of the French coast.
In 1805, after a brief rest ashore, Nelson returned to sea after hearing that the French and Spanish fleets were concentrating at Cádiz. On October 21, the combined French and Spanish fleet was spotted off Cape Trafalgar. Using revolutionary new tactics that he had devised, the Nelson’s fleet engaged the enemy and was in the process of achieving his greatest triumph when he was shot by a French marine. The bullet entered his left shoulder and pierced the lung, before lodging against his spine. Four hours later, the admiral died, just as his fleet was completing the victory.
Nelson held the rank of Vice Admiral of the White in the Royal Navy, as well as the titles of 1st Viscount Nelson of the Nile and Duke of Bronte.