Detailed Information

AE-HN138 - Latin America and the Irish Diaspora

There are an estimated 80 million people worldwide who claim some form of Irish descent. While much work has been done to assess Irish immigration and its historical impact, much of this has focused on immigration to North America, Britain, and Australia. Comparatively, the importance of Irish immigration to Latin America has been overlooked.

This course addresses this historiographically understudied subject by examining the relationship between Ireland and Latin America, from the earliest discoveries in the New World to the present. It focuses on Irish immigration to Spanish and Portuguese territories, and considers the extent to which these immigrants shaped politics, society and culture, from Mexico to Patagonia. It examines their role in colonial and frontier society, the Latin American Wars of Independence and revolution, and assesses how Irish immigration has shaped the modern Latin American republics.

It will study, among others, various aspects of Irish participation in navigation, trade, labour, slavery, war, and religion.

Prior knowledge of this topic, or of Latin American history, is not required for participation. In addition to the role and influence of the Irish, this course will provide the necessary background information on the history of Portuguese and Spanish exploration and settlement in America in each lecture, as well as the development of distinct colonial Latin American societies, and their emergence as independent, modern political entities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Tutor Dates Schedule Time Venue/Location Fee €

Edward Collins

12 Oct 2017 to 14 Dec 2017 Sessions: 8
National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street
8 Thursdays 2.00pm - 4.30pm
Oct 12, 19, Nov 2, 9, 16, 23, Dec 7, 14
14:00 National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street


  • Ireland and Iberia: background
  • The beginnings of Portuguese and Spanish exploration in America
  • Irish participation in Iberian discoveries
  • Immigration from Ireland
  • Colonial Latin American society
  • Key Irish figures in Latin American history
  • Latin American Wars of Independence
  • Immigrants, war, and revolution
  • Irish diaspora in modern Latin America

National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street

 8 Thursdays                   2.00pm - 4.30pm

 Oct 12, 19, Nov 2, 9, 16, 23, Dec 7, 14 

At the end of this course, a student should be able to : 

-       Understand the scope and complexity of Latin American history and society

-       Assess the importance of Irish immigration to Iberia and Iberian America in the early modern era

-       Examine the validity of traditional narratives of Irish participation in Iberian American society

-       Understand the transition of America from a handful of Iberian settlements to complex colonial       societies, and the role of the Irish in helping to establish independent American polities in the nineteenth century

Dr. Edward Collins teaches Latin American history and History of Science at University College Dublin. Dr. Collins received his PhD in history from NUI Galway in 2010, and was an Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellow at Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville, and University College Dublin from 2011 to 2015. His main areas of research are Portuguse and Spanish imperial history and Iberian history of science in the early modern era.

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