Admiral Brown of Foxford and Argentina

Statue of Admiral William Brown, of the Argentine navy in Foxford, County Mayo, Ireland Statue of Admiral William Brown, of the Argentine navy in Foxford, County Mayo, Ireland

It isn't well known but the founder of Argentina's navy was an Irishman, and not a descendent of Irish immigrants to the South American country but he left Foxford in rural County Mayo in Ireland's west when he was just nine years old in 1786.

After many years at sea on the US Atlantic coast, he worked up to the rank of captain before being press-ganged by the British Royal Navy who were engaged in attempts to block the USA from trading with France with whom the British were at war.

Held prisoner of war by the French for some time, he escaped and after this went to Uruguay and then to Argentina where he ran shipping operations between those two countries before being given a commission in the Argentinian navy in 1814. He won many battles against Spain including ending their blockade of Buenos Aires; later against Brazil and other enemies of the recently independent nation.

It's interesting, I have read a completely different account of his early life that involves his having joined the Royal Navy, both seem like credible sources so maybe more investigation is required.

He became governor of Buenos Aires and is buried in Recoleta and in Argentina was known as Almirante Brown, one of the country's heroes.

It was on this week in 2013 that I last visited Foxford, a nice town on the River Moy and visited the statue of this impressive but not so famous Irishman who is better known in Argentina than Ireland. 

Coincidentally, it was this week that the funeral and burial took place of Laura Bernal, the Argentinian Ambassador to Ireland who died during the Coronavirus / COVID19 outbreak and whose family wanted her to buried in the country she so loved and in this part of Ireland, Foxford, that has such strong connections with Argentina.

I will definitely have to revisit this part of Ireland and find out more after lockdown ends, if you want to keep up to date with news on this and other subjects including photography and Ireland then subscribe to the newsletter or send me an email to say hello.


Last modified on Sunday, 17 May 2020 01:49
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