Friday, 6 January 2012

Volunteers, Mercenaries and Adventurers in Gran Colombia: Books Published 2006-2011

This post discusses books published since 2006 on the subject of the foreign volunteers who served under Bolívar. 

Moises Enrique Rodriguez's two-volume compendium and narrative Freedom's Mercenaries: British Volunteers in the Wars of Independence of Latin America (2006) should be the first port-of-call for genealogists with a suspicion that their ancestor might have served in South America. It pulls together all the known information about the volunteers/mercenaries, and presents it in a clear and accessible manner. Both volumes (I: Northern South America, II: Southern South America) have indices. It is a very impressive piece of work, a labour of love.

Readers seeking dash and vim for the subject should head to Ben Hughes' Conquer or Die! Wellington's Veterans and the Liberation of the New World (2010), which provides a page-turning account from recruitment through to the Battle of Carabobo. Uniforms, weapons and the mapping of military strategy are the subject of John Fletcher's Adventures of the British and Irish Legions in South America 1817-1824 (2011), which combines an engaging account of campaigning with attention-grabbing illustrations.

Finally, readers of Spanish can turn to Edgardo Mondolfi Gudat's new monograph focusing on Venezuela, El lado oscuro de una epopeya: los legionarios británicos en Venezuela (2011).

If I have missed any publications, please let me know!

In a future post I'll look at the articles that have been published on the subject in the last five years, including Gabriel Paquette on the intellectual dimensions and Karen Racine on British cultural influence during Latin American independence.


  1. Hi Matthew,

    Congratulations on setting up this site and thanks for the mention. Hope all is going well,


  2. Thanks, Ben - any suggestions for future posts v.welcome, Matthew