Wavell, Arthur Goodall (1785-1860)

Grandfather of the famous World War II general and penultimate Viceroy of India (1943-1947) Sir Archibald Wavell, Arthur Goodall Wavell, known in the Hispanic world as Arturo Goodall Wavell was born in Edinburgh on 20 March 1785. He studied at Winchester College before joining the 8th Regiment East Indies with the rank of Major. In Spain, he supported the guerrilla at Casas Viejas and joined the Spanish Army as a volunteer in 1811 acting as  aide-de-camp to the mariscal de campo Pedro Sarsfield  At the end of that year he joined Samuel ‘Santiago’ Ford Wittingham on his project to raise two new Spanish divisions in Mallorca. He built a strong relationship with the Spanish, particularly after suffering the loss of the use of his right arm at the battle of Chiclana (1811) and fighting in the siege of Tarragona in 1813. He was awarded a number of military ranks in the Spanish army first that of capitan (1811), then teniente coronel (1811) and finally coronel (1817) in the Ultonia regiment . In that year, he was also awarded the Orden de Carlos III.

On 6 July 1820, however, he joined the Chilean army and served in that South American country  until 1822 when he was dispatched by the Chilean government as an official envoy to recognise Mexico’s independence. During his time in Mexico, he earned the confidence of Emperor Agustin de Iturbide, who gave him the rank of brigadier general in the Mexican army, and sent him back to Britain as a secret envoy to secure Mexico’s recognition as an independent state and to gain investments. Whilst in Mexico, he had met the fellow volunteer Daniel Robinson, who was then acting as surveyor for a British mining company. Eventually, Wavell decided to invest and promote ‘The Old Three Hundred’, an ill-fated colonization scheme in Texas (1823-1853). He died in London in 1860.

Sources: Graciela Iglesias-Rogers, British Liberators in the Age of Napoleon: Volunteering under the Spanish Flag in the Peninsular War, (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2014).

Author:  Graciela Iglesias-Rogers, assisted in the online edition by Adam Nour El-Din Hafez

How to cite:  To cite from this page, please use any style (Chicago, Harvard, etc). Our preferred citation form is: Iglesias-Rogers, Graciela, ‘Wavell, Arthur Goodall (1785-1860)’, The Hispanic-Anglosphere: transnational networks, global communities (late 18th to early 20th centuries), project funded by the AHRC and the University of Winchester in partnership with the National Trust, [https://hispanic-anglosphere.com/individuals/wavell-arthur-goodall-1785-1860/,  accessed – please add the date of your visit].

Thematic categories:

War and the Military ; Peace and Diplomacy ; Trade and Investment


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