Adventuring Through Spanish Colonies

BookAdventuring Through Spanish Colonies

Adventuring Through Spanish Colonies

Simon Bolivar, Foreign Mercenaries and the Birth of New Nations

Liverpool Latin American Studies, 8


November 1st, 2006

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Between 1810 and 1825, 7,000 English, Scottish and Irish mercenaries sailed to Gran Colombia to fight against Spanish colonial rule under the rebel forces of Simón Bolívar. Their motives were mixed. Some travelled for money, others travelled for honour. Adventuring Through Spanish Colonies explores the lives of these men – their encounters with other soldiers, indigenous people, local women and slaves – as recounted in documents that fall outside the usual remit of military, political and economic historians. Matthew Brown considers the social and cultural aspects of the presence of these ‘foreigners’, and shows how they were an essential part of the revolution which eventually gave South America its freedom. Using archival research from England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia, Adventuring Through Spanish Colonies clearly shows the active role that these mercenaries, informal outriders of the British Empire, played in the creation of Latin America as we know it today.

This is a very enjoyable book to read, full of surprising and suggestive insights. Perhaps most importantly, it is an interpretation that adds complexity, and nuances, to long-standing historiographical views of British involvement in the Spanish American Wars of Independence, of early Spanish American concepts of nationhood and ethnicity, and of the impact these adventurers' actions had in the region. ... this is a noteworthy contribution

Latin American Studies, Vol 40

Many people have tried to write this book, but Matthew Brown finally has done it properly. It is a work of astonishing ambition and considerable labor and, through his new methodology, the author arrived at some surprising conclusions. Adventuring through Spanish colonies is an ambitious and successful book. In short, this book is a much needed corrective to earlier, more speculative accounts of the British and Irish recruits in Gran Colombia's independence armies.

Irish Migration Studies in Latin America

Author Information

Matthew Brown is a Lecturer in Latin American Studies, University of Bristol.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
Table of Contents8
Figures, Maps and Tables9
Chapter 1. The Context for Adventure28
Chapter 2. The Terrain of Adventure in Gran Colombia54
Chapter 3. The Practicalities of Adventure76
Chapter 4. Negotiating Honour96
Chapter 5. Nations and Armies125
Chapter 6. Race, Slavery and Abolitionism148
Chapter 7. Veteran Soldiers and the State171
Chapter 8. Settling In188
Chapter 9. After Adventure217