Battle of Waterloo, Belgium. The bones of fallen soldiers are dug up and used to make sugar

Studies have shown that the bones of soldiers who fought at Waterloo were used to make sugar years ago. This explains the difficulty of finding them, even if the battlefield near this Belgian city turned into a bloody graveyard. Bernard Wilkin, head of operations at the State Archives, said the bones were “excavated by local farmers to sell to regional industry”. It took scientists years of research to unravel this two-hundred-year-old mystery.

The Battle of Waterloo, Belgium, on June 18, 1815, was one of the bloodiest battles of the 19th century. It claimed at least twenty thousand lives. Although Waterloo has become a large cemetery, it is not easy to find the bones of soldiers today. Why? The answer to this can be found in the State Archives Belgium.

Waterloo in BelgiumGoogle Maps

Bernard Wilkin, head of work at the State Archives, explained that “the bones of those who died on the battlefield of Waterloo were dug up by local farmers to be sold to the regional industry”. — Probably sugar manufacturers France – added. It took an expert years of research to unravel this two-hundred-year-old mystery.

In the early 19th century, the sugar industry flourished. However, an element was needed to make sugar – animal carbon or bones. Although this coal is banned in industry today, it was not in the past.

Demand explodes, people buy sugar everywhere, and it becomes a common commodity. But you need bones to make cattle charcoal, and there’s a great desire to look for bones in places other than slaughterhouses, Wilkin explained. When witnesses accused farmers of excavating remains from the battlefield, they claimed they were digging up only horse bones.

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Archaeologists examine the bones of soldiers killed in the Battle of Waterloo Chris Van Houts / Waterloo Revealed

“The people who collected these bones were poor or homeless,” said historian Robin Shaffer. They were mostly Waterloo workers or farmers, he explained.

Does it cannibalize us? Perhaps, according to Bernard Wilkin.

The Battle of Waterloo took place near Brussels, Belgium, June 1815. This was the last battle fought by Napoleon Bonaparte. The French army was defeated by the British forces led by the Duke of Wellington, who joined the Prussian army under the command of Field Marshal Gebhardt von Blücher.

Historians describe the battle as a turning point in European history, ending Napoleon’s ambition to rule much of Europe. It also changed the relationship between Great Britain and the rest of the continent.

Main photo source: Chris Van Houts / Waterloo Revealed

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