The St. Patrick’s Battalion
On September 12, 1997, Mexico and Ireland made a joint stamp issue commemorating the 150 Anniversary of the Irish volunteers who fought for Mexico in the Mexican American War, 1846-1847.
It was a war that nowadays seems long-forgotten. Bearing in mind the great problem the United States has today regarding controlling its border with Mexico, with many Mexican citizens daily attempting to enter the U.S. illegally, it is difficult to imagine that the situation was exactly the opposite in 1827. In that year at least 12,000 U.S. citizens had entered Texas (then part of Mexico) and Mexico then issued laws to prohibit a further influx of immigrants from the U.S.
In 1999, the film “One Man’s Hero” was released. It was based on the true story of John Riley, a member of the St. Patrick’s Battalion, a group of Irish Catholic immigrants who deserted from the mostly Protestant American army to the mainly Catholic Mexican side during the Mexican-American War. The war lasted from 1846 until the official signing of the peace treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, whereby the United States of America compelled Mexico to sell half its territory for 15 million dollars.
Two books written on the subject are pictured here with a poster for the film. As in any historical event, there are conflicting interpretations as to the reasons for this group of volunteers and their participation. Much more information can be gained on the subject via the internet.
The photograph above shows a commemorative plaque placed at the San Jacinto Plaza in the district of San Angel in Mexico City in 1959, which, when translated reads: “In memory of the Irish soldiers of the heroic Batallon de San Patricio who gave their lives for the sake of Mexico during the unjust invasion by the North Americans in 1847 (followed by the names of 71 members of the unit). With the gratitude of Mexico 112 years after their sacrifice. September 1959.”
This is just one example of a joint issue of stamps that holds the potential for much interest and often a thread discovered in a certain subject can lead to other fascinating historical or geographical facts that can also be linked to philately. Happy hunting!
The stamps above were issued by Mexico in 1997 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of three important battles in the war.
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