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Trinity College Dublin

The Irish in the Habsburg and Bourbon Naval World, 1580-1815
Director: Professor Ciaran Brady e-mail
Researcher: Dr Oscar Morales e-mail

This project, which is funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, will build upon two remarkably successful research studies conducted through the PRTLI-funded Centre for Irish-Scottish and Comparative Studies. This earlier research has uncovered very large numbers of Irish in the Habsburg and Bourbon armed forces of Spain and France in the early modern period. During these projects it became clear that there was also a substantial and hitherto unrecognized Irish contribution to the maritime forces of Habsburg and Bourbon Spain and Bourbon France during the same period.

The objectives of this project are threefold. One, we propose to establish a comprehensive online database of the Irish presence in the naval services of Spain and France between the late sixteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. This will build upon and greatly develop work already done on the Irish in Western European armies and work currently in progress concerning Irish involvement in European trading networks. The database will be designed to the highest specifications allowing end users to manipulate the data in multiple ways. The technology will be designed as an efficient analytical tool to facilitate further historical research. The researchers will, in the first instance, design an MS Access template for the archival material. This will subsequently be migrated to an XML format in preparation for use as the final web-accessible database.

Secondly, the database and the project will be designed to be compatible with existing databases on the Irish in the French and Spanish early modern armies (supported by The Irish in Europe project at NUI Maynooth) and other databases in the process of construction through the FASTI network and through the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NUI Galway).
Thirdly, the new perspectives derived from the database will form the basis of a series of academic monographs, articles in international journals, editions of important documents and conference proceedings.

It is envisaged that evidence for the recovery of these maritime migrants will be discovered in the following archives.

  • Spain: the Archivo del Museo Naval (Madrid), the Historical Navy Archive Álvaro de Bazán (El Viso del Marqués, Ciudad Real) and the Archivo General de Indias (Seville) contain  rich and hitherto untouched sources pertaining to Irish involvement in the Spanish navy from the late sixteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century.
  • France: the Archives Nationales (Paris) and various sites of the Service Historique de la Marine (Vincennes, Lorient, Cherbourg, Rochefort, Toulon and Brest) possess equally rich materials

Our principle aim is to build towards a complete picture of the Irish contribution to the military and naval powers of western Europe in the early modern period. We believe also that the recovery of the sea-going element in the Irish western European diaspora will greatly advance our knowledge of the Irish diaspora in the commercial and business networks of early modern Europe as a whole and of the Irish role in providing a bridge between the public world of the early modern state and the private world of business and mercantile affairs.

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Contact: CISS Last updated: Feb 13 2008.