The Battle of Trafalgar was fought on October 21 1805 off Cape Trafalgar on the Spanish coast, between the combined fleets of Spain and France and the British Royal Navy. It was the last great sea action of the period and its significance to the outcome of the war in Europe is still debated by historians.
Nelson used a combination of strategy and practical management to help Britain survive the 22 year struggle with Revolutionary and Napoleonic France. He understood that the real threat was the destruction of her global commercial system. At the start of the battle, when the first British ships arrived, they were fighting a far greater number of enemy ships. They won the day because of their speed and flexibility. The real triumph was not of 27 ships against 33, but of 12 against 22.
Nelson was killed in this historic battle.
The 200th anniversary of Nelson's death takes place on October 21, 2005, with a VIP dinner on board Victory as well as by numerous events in the Portsmouth area. The event on October 23 will focus on Portsmouth where his flagship HMS Victory is based. There will be a review of vessels from 30 countries as well as a remembrance service at St Paul's Cathedral in London, where Nelson is buried.
Celebrations will also be held in Trafalgar Square under Nelson's column.
The Royal Navy fleet will be illuminated amid a firework display and there will be a theatrical illustration of a Napoleonic-era sea battle. Other celebrations included a son et lumiere (sound and light show) at Portsmouth in June. An International Drumhead Ceremony, to remember those who died in conflict was also held .