1798 veteran from Wexford features in new book

bY DAVID TUCKER

Published 17/09/2016 | 00:00

paisanos - tim fanning
paisanos - tim fanning

A WEXFORD veteran of the 1798 Rebellion features in a new book detailing the extraordinary tales of romance, adventure, war and rebellion of the forgotten Irish men and women who changed the face of Latin America.

Paisanos, by Tim Fanning, tells how 'the roguish' veteran John Devereux, from Taghmon, and many other Irish men and women helped fashion the New World and sowed the seeds of Ireland's revolutions to follow.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, thousands of Irish people arrived in Mexico and South America lured by the promise of adventure, fame and fortune.

They were soldiers, spies, sailors, merchants and diplomats, and they and their children fought for independence and helped shape modern Latin America.

Today, the names of streets, towns, schools, and football teams on the continent bear witness to their influence.

They include John Devereux who founded the Irish Legion which fought for the patriots against the Spanish in the wars of independence in the early 19th century. The men of the Irish Legion suffered from tropical disease and shortages of food and water on the Caribbean island of Margarita before going into battle in Colombia in 1820.

Paisanos features the stories of armed revolutionaries such as William Brown and Bernardo O'Higgins, and trailblazing women like Camila O'Gorman and Eliza Lynch, the County Cork woman who became the mistress of the Paraguayan dictator Francisco Solano López. Reviled by Paraguay's enemies for her role in the War of the Triple Alliance, Lynch became a national heroine.

Fanning also documents the rise of Ambrose O'Higgins, a Sligo-born clerk who went on to hold the most powerful and prestigious office in Spanish America, The Viceroy of Peru.

Paisanos is published by Gill Books and is priced at €24.99.

Tim Fanning is an author and researcher based in Dublin. In addition to working for a number of Irish and Spanish publications, he is the author of The Fethard-On-Sea Boycott (2010).

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