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St. Patrick’s Battalion in Mexico

By Tribune Travel

March 17, 2022

The world will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the patron saint of Ireland, on March 17 with green clothes, beer consumption, and spectacular events such as turning rivers green. St. Patrick’s Battalion is important in Mexico’s history.

This holiday has a historical connection to one of the nineteenth-century wars in Mexico. Back then, a group of Irish immigrants joined the Mexican military ranks to oppose the US Army. It invaded Mexican territory between 1846 and 1848 to fulfill the US government’s expansionist goals.

John Riley, a young Irishman in a US commando, began to sympathize with the Mexicans harassed by US soldiers.

Riley, tired of the insults directed at the Irish and Mexicans, deserted with other members to establish the St. Patrick’s Battalion. The namecame after Ireland’s patron saint. Then, this military force assisted the Mexican army in preventing an invasion of the United States.


The San Patricio Battalion gradually grew to include more than 800 men of different backgrounds. It included Scots, Poles, French, Germans, and English, all under Riley’s direction. The Battalion’s first battle was on September 21, 1846, at the Battle of Monterrey. With a green banner bearing the inscription Erin Go Bragh (Ireland forever), the squad blazed a trail in the war and in Mexican history.

The Battle of Churubusco, one of the bloodiest of the conflict, took place on August 20, 1847. It was here that the San Patricio Battalion fought its final battle. Riley’s weakened force fought alongside the Mexicans for hours.

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The US Army apprehended Riley the following year. While he was not convicted to death, he was subjected to harsh labor and torture. Riley was released after a year and left no trace. However, some documents show he died in 1850.

The Mexican government installed a plaque at San Jacinto Plaza to commemorate the brave acts of the San Patricio Battalion. Furthermore, they have two days to commemorate their role in the Mexican-American War: March 17 and September 12.

There are many theories as to why the Irish deserted the United States Army to join the Mexican army. The most popular are the influence of the Catholic religion, which identified the Irish with the Mexicans. Also, the unjust war waged against Mexico, in which the Mexican heritage and culture were attacked. That was just what England did with Ireland in the past.

Some surviving soldiers were able to claim the property offered to them by the Mexican army. While many were unable to see it, the San Patricio Battalion went down in Mexican history as a vital component of the War of Intervention, forging friendship links with Ireland. Both Mexico and Ireland have memorial plaques and statues to the departed.

St. Patrick’s Day is an important international holiday whose history has transcended barriers and cultures. For some, it is synonymous with Irish food and drinking a lot of beer, even green beer. For others, green means celebrating an ancient celebration that has taken its culture, history, and tradition all over world.






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