Scottish merchant in the West Indies; colonel in the ‘Colombian Army’ of Francisco de Miranda (1750-1816) from 1806 to 1808; Assistant Commissary in the British Army in Portugal (1808-1810). Joined guerrilla forces in skirmishes in the Spanish-Portuguese frontier and later at Badajoz (March to June 1810); colonel in the Spanish Army (July 1810); founder of the Legion of Extremadura (Legión de Extremadura, 1810) famous for fighting attired in sixteenth century garb recalling the deeds of the Extremadura-born conquistadors Francisco Pizarro and Hernán Cortés. Knighted in Britain by the Prince Regent (1813); the first full English translation of the Cadiz Constitution was dedicated to him by a fellow British volunteer under the pseudonym Philos Hispaniae; commander of the Alcazar, the royal and military fortress in Seville from 1814 until his death in 1826.
Sources (indicative): G. Iglesias-Rogers, British Liberators in the Age of Napoleon: Volunteering under the Spanish Flag in the Peninsular War (London: Bloomsbury, 2014), 2, 13, 36-40; 55-6; 104-12; 115; 120; 164-5; 180-7; Philos Hispaniae, The Political Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy proclaimed in Cadiz, 19th March, 1812 (London: J. Souter, 1813).
Posted by: Graciela Iglesias-Rogers
How to cite: To cite from this page, please use any style (Chicago, Harvard, etc). Our preferred citation form is: G. Iglesias-Rogers, ‘Downie, Sir John (1777-1826)’, The Hispanic-Anglosphere: transnational networks, global communities (late 18th to early 20th centuries), project funded by the AHRC and University of Winchester in partnership with the National Trust, [https://hispanic-anglosphere.com/downie-sir-john-1777-1826, accessed – please add date].