Popham, Home Riggs (1762–1820)

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Popham, Home Riggs (1762–1820)

Home Riggs Popham (b. 12 October 1762; d. 10 September 1820), British admiral who led an ill-fated invasion of the Río de la Plata region by British troops in 1806. The son of a diplomat, Popham was born in Morocco and attended Cambridge University before joining the British navy in 1778. He served in the Napoleonic wars and the colonial government in India as well as in Parliament. While in Capetown, South Africa, Popham became aware of growing discontent toward the Spanish throne among the people of the viceroyalty of Río de la Plata. Though lacking official orders, he left Africa in 1806, along with about fifteen hundred men under the command of William Carr Beresford, with the intention of capitalizing on the rebelliousness of the Spanish colonies in Latin America.

For two years, British troops mounted invasions of the Río de la Plata, Montevideo, and Buenos Aires before being driven from the region by the Spanish, whose rebelliousness he had seriously misjudged. Popham returned to England to stand trial for mounting the invasion without prior approval. He was cleared of all charges and continued his naval career, achieving the rank of rear admiral in 1814.

See alsoBritish in Argentina; Río de la Plata, Viceroyalty of.


Henry S. Ferns, Britain and Argentina in the Nineteenth Century (1960).

Additional Bibliography

Elliott, J. H. Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in the Americas, 1492–1830. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.

                                             John Dudley