As the American Revolution and the Latin American Wars of Independence occurred within about 30 years of each other, presumably some people with an appetite for liberating colonies participated in both.

I briefly looked the list of Founding Fathers and of Libertadores and saw no obvious overlap. So unless freedom fighting is strictly a young man's game, my question is:

Were there any people of note who participated in both the American Revolution and the Latin American Wars of Independence, on the side of the colonists?

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    There was no notable people, but it's highly likely that someone of a less defined status might have attended both, but I could find no such information. – Chantola Oct 18 '14 at 14:41
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    I took the liberty of adding a tag. Hope you don't mind. – Felix Goldberg Oct 18 '14 at 16:27
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    Mike Duncan's wonderful Revolutions Podcast is currently covering the Latin American Wars of Independence and the topic of the interactions with the United States comes up a number of times. – Gort the Robot Dec 15 '16 at 21:32

Henri Christophe might fit the bill, although he is not counted among the Libertadores and only had a bit part in the American Revolution.

As a drummer boy, he participated in the Chasseurs Volontaires de Saint Domingue. This was a group of at least 500 free black volunteers from the French colony of Saint-Domingue who fought in the Revolutionary War. Specifically they had a role in the siege that took the city of Savannah, Georgia from the British in 1779. The role of the Chasseurs Volontaires in the American Revolution is familiar to many Haitians today, and has been recently commemorated by a memorial in Savannah.

Their commander was Laurent François Le Noir de Rouvray--not a notable participant in the Haitian Revolution as far as I can tell, if he even survived that long. But Christophe went on to become a key leader in the Haitian Revolution, and was eventually named King Henri I.

(Thanks to T.E.D's answer for getting me thinking about Haiti.)


I seriously doubt you will find much overlap. The problem is, Haiti aside*, the first of the Latin American wars for Independence didn't really start until nearly 40 years after the American Revolution. Anybody old enough to be participating in the latter would have been elderly (by the standards of the day) by the time the former rolled around.

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* - The Haitian Revolution was a slave revolt, again making it rather unlikely much of anyone (from the winning side at least) participated in both.

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    Simon Bolivar, the South American "liberator," was born in 1783, the year America achieved her independence. There were no Latin American "Lafayettes." – Tom Au Oct 8 '15 at 22:46

Francisco de Miranda comes close. Born in 1750 in Caracas, Venezuela, he became an officer in the Spanish Army in 1773. In 1779, Spain signed the Treaty of Aranjuez and entered the American Revolutionary War as an ally of France; their ultimate goals were to regain Gibraltar, Florida, and Minorca from the British. As part of the campaign in Florida, Miranda participated in the Siege of Pensacola; his diary is one of the primary sources we now have concerning the siege.

The one caveat here is that the Siege of Pensacola did not involve any American units, nor was it fought on land that became part of the United States immediately after the Revolutionary War; so a less charitable interpretation might view this as an opportunistic land-grab by the Spanish & French, designed to stick a thumb in the eye of the British, and not part of the "true" war effort. But then, one could say much the same about the French involvement in the Revolutionary War, and nobody denies that they greatly assisted the cause.

Miranda's role in the Latin-American wars of liberation is less in debate. After the end of the Revolutionary War, Miranda was charged with being a spy for the British and went into exile, first in the United States (where he hobnobbed with the American Founding Fathers), then in the UK. In 1806 he returned to the USA and organized a filibustering expedition to try to liberate Venezuela from the Spanish; unfortunately, this first expedition failed and Miranda returned to the UK.

When Napoleon invaded Spain, the Spanish colonies gained de facto independence, and some established juntas to govern themselves. The Supreme Junta of Caracas sent a delegation to the UK, met with Miranda, and convinced him to return to Venezuela. Upon his return, he began agitating for independence, and the junta finally declared the First Republic of Venezuela in 1811. However, several provinces of Venezuela remained loyal to the rump Spanish royalist government in Cádiz, and civil war broke out. As the First Republic collapsed, Miranda was given sole command of its armies; but it was too late, and the armies of the First Republic were defeated. Some of the republican officers (including one Simon Bolívar) arrested Miranda and handed him over to the Spanish Royal Army. He died in prison in Cádiz five years later.

While Miranda was not involved in the later successful wars of Latin-American Independence, he gained the nickname El Precursor ("The Precursor") for being one of the first to agitate for independence. If nothing else, Bolívar learned a lot from Miranda's failures (see the Cartagena Manifesto.)

  • This answer was worth reading twice. – Aaron Brick Jan 8 '20 at 4:55

You forgot & disrespect Haitians fighting FOR USA at: - The Battle of Charleston, SC 1780 - The Battle of Pensacola, Fl in 1780, with Venezuelan independence leader Francisco Miranda - The Battle of Yorktown 1781, with Marquis de Lafayette standing next to his French comrades, Haitians included. Hatians were also included within Agenois, Gaitinois, Port-au-Prince, Cap Regiments. - 1814-15 Battle on New Orleans. Colonel Daquin became the highest-ever ranking Black Officer in US Army. Done by General Andrew Jackson on the field of Battle. That was the closing Battle in the War of American Independence.


  • The Haitian revolution is generally considered separate from the Latin American wars of independence. For one, it predated the Latin American revolution by decades. For another, Haiti isn't a Latin American country. – Gort the Robot Dec 15 '16 at 21:29

It is noteworthy that Simon Bolivar, the "liberator" of five South American countries, was born in 1783, the year America received its independence. His liberation wars began in the 1810s, the decade of America's War of 1812. So the question is like asking, "Were there any notable participants in both the American Revolution and the War of 1812?"

Unlike the case of Lafayette, who participated in both the American and French Revolutions, there were no South American Lafayettes. The actual Lafayette was 20 years old, basically "maximally young," when he joined the American army, and would have been 55 years old in 1812, which would have been "maximally old" (for his time).

Moreover, such a soldier would likely have to be bilingual English and Spanish (Brazil's revolution was "trivial"). Yes, Lafayette was bilingual English and French but he was Lafayette. Put another way, there were few Hispanic Americans who fought in the American Revolution.

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    many high officials and generals from the War of 1812 had distinguished themselves during the American Revolution. One example is William Hull, Governor of Michigan Territory, and Brigadier General in command of the Northwestern Army. Alas, he did not distinguish himself during the War of 1812: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hull – Peter Diehr Jul 21 '16 at 11:43
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    Were there any notable participants in both the American Revolution and the War of 1812? Andrew Jackson – KorvinStarmast Dec 15 '16 at 17:30

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