Database of Volunteers in Gran Colombia (c. 1810-c.1830)

Access this Research Database of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and other European Adventurers in Gran Colombia (modern day Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Venezuela) during and after the Latin American Wars of Independence (c.1810-c.1830). There are 3,000 men and women listed!  Click HERE to access the file in pdf (be sure of zooming to at least 100% view)  – under all circumstances please, first read the text below.

This electronic database features the names of over three thousand British, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and other European Adventurers who lived in or travelled to Gran Colombia (modern day Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Venezuela) during and after the Wars of Independence. The first arrived in Venezuela in 1811; the last died in Ecuador in 1890. Over half were Irish. Several thousand died quickly upon arrival, or returned home just as soon; several hundred stayed and settled in Gran Colombia.

The database was constructed by Prof.  Matthew Brown as part of the research for his book Adventuring through Spanish colonies: Simón Bolívar, Foreign Mercenaries and the Birth of New Nations, Liverpool University Press, 2006; translated into Spanish by Katia Urteaga Villanueva and published by La Carreta Editores as Aventureros, mercenarios y legionarios extranjeros en la independencia de Colombia, 2010. It contains information relating to the adventurers’ dates of birth and death, nationality, occupation and military service, amongst other information. It may be of use or of interest to social, cultural or military historians of Latin America and Europe, and to family historians more generally.

The database includes many individuals whose presence in Gran Colombia is not widely known, alongside more celebrated/notorious individuals including:

Gregor MacGregor, a Scotsman who in 1819 declared himself ‘Inca of New Granada’;

Daniel O’Leary, an Irishman who served as Simón Bolívar’s assistant for many years and later became British ambassador in Colombia and an important historian;

James Rooke, who died of the wounds he received in the battle of Pantano de Vargas (1819), and whose last words were ‘Long Live the Land Which Will Bury Me!’

Where a name is known to refer to a woman it is marked F in the column M/F. Otherwise the gender should be apparent from the context, or is presumed to be male.

Dates are given in the following format: October 1820 is 1820.10 ; 15 October 1820 is 1820.10.15

A glossary of Spanish terms used can be found in Adventuring through Spanish colonies: Simón Bolívar, Foreign Mercenaries and the Birth of New Nations, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2006, pp. 221-222. This is a closed and abbreviated database, which was produced between 2000 and 2006 drawing on the sources cited in the bibliography of the book, which includes a wide range of published sources, as well as archival material in Colombia, Ecuador, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain and Venezuela. For reasons of space and clarity, this database is an abbreviated version of the full database, which in addition to the information given here contains fields relating to rank, campaigns, marriage, place settled, documents produced and published, religion, place of birth and place and manner of birth. Prof. Matthew Brown is happy to provide all the information he has relating to individuals featured here – please just send him an email. He is always interested in learning new stories of individuals who feature in the database, or who served alongside them. For further information or inquiries on this database, please contact Professor Brown at or on social media @mateobrown.

For information regarding British volunteers who fought in the Peninsular War (1808-1814) prior to engaging in the wars of independence in Spanish America, check the work of Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers available in the page of Individuals and under War and the Military in the Networks & Communities area of this site.

How to cite:  To cite from the database, please use any style (Chicago, Harvard, etc). Our preferred citation form is: Matthew Brown,  ‘Database Volunteers in Gran Colombia (c. 1810-c.1830)’,  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, [, accessed – please add date].


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