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Encyclopedia > Filibuster (military)

A filibuster is a private individual who engages in unauthorized warfare against a foreign country, often with the intent of overthrowing the existing government. By extention the term also refers to the actions undertaken by a filibuster. The term filibuster and the variant "freebooter" are also applied more generally to individuals who attack foreign lands or interests for financial gain, without authority from their own government.

The term came into English from the Spanish filibustero (meaning pirate or buccaneer, and ultimately coming from the Dutch vrijbuiter) and was first applied to persons raiding Spanish colonies and ships in the West Indies, the most famous of which was Sir Francis Drake with his 1573 raid on Nombre de Dios. With the end of the era of Caribbean piracy in the early 18th century the term fell out of general currency. A pirate digging…perhaps to bury treasure, perhaps a grave. ... The Caribbean or the West Indies is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. ... Sir Francis Drake, c. ... Events January - articles of Warsaw Confederation signed, sanctioning religious freedom in Poland. ... Nombre de Dios (Spanish: Name of God) is a town on the Atlantic coast of Panama, near the mouth of the Río Chagres. ... The great era of piracy in the Caribbean extends from around 1560 up until the 1720s. ... (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ...

The term was revived in the mid 19th century to describe the actions of Anglo-American adventurers who tried to take control of various Caribbean and Mexican territories by force of arms. The filibustering of Texas was accomplished by gradual settlement over more than three decades, during which Texas was a part of the Spanish Empire and later of Mexico. It culminated in the successful Texas Revolution of 1836 and the subsequent Texas Annexation to the United States. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... See Anglo-America for the term denoting mixed English and American influence or heritage or those parts of (or groups within) America which have a tie to or which are influenced by England or simply English-speaking America. ... ... The long, convoluted period of expansion of the Christian kingdoms, beginning in 722, only eleven years after the Moorish invasion, is called the Reconquista. ... The Texas Revolution was a war fought from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836 between Mexico and the Tejas portion of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas. ... 1836 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Republic of Texas The Texas Annexation of 1845 was the annexation of Texas by the United States of America as the 28th state. ...

Later in the 1850s, William Walker attempted to duplicate the success of the Texans with a strategy involving his leading a private mercenary army. In 1853, he unsuccessfully attempted to stage an insurrection in the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California. Later, when a path through Lake Nicaragua was being considered as the possible site of a canal through Central America, he was hired as a mercenary by one of the factions in a civil war in Nicaragua. In 1856 he declared himself commander of the country's army and soon after President of the Republic. After attempting to take control of the rest of Central America and receiving no support from the U.S. government, he was defeated and eventually executed. // Events and Trends Technology Production of steel revolutionised by invention of the Bessemer process Benjamin Silliman fractionates petroleum by distillation for the first time First transatlantic telegraph cable laid First safety elevator installed by Elisha Otis Science Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species, putting forward the theory of evolution... William Walker William Walker (May 8, 1824 - September 12, 1860) was a U.S. physician, lawyer, journalist, adventurer, and soldier of fortune who attempted to conquer several Latin American countries in the mid-19th century. ... 1853 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Sonora is a state in northwestern Mexico, bordering the states of Chihuahua to the east, Sinaloa to the south, and Baja California to the northwest. ... Baja California is the northernmost state of Mexico; it is mostly located on the northern half of the Baja California peninsula. ... Lake Nicaragua or Lake Cocibolca is a fresh-water lake in Nicaragua. ... Commonly, Central America is the region of North America located between the southern border of Mexico and the northwest border of Colombia, in South America. ... A mercenary is a soldier who fights, or engages in warfare primarily for private gain, usually with little regard for ideological, national or political considerations. ... A civil war is a war in which the competing parties are segments of the same country or empire. ... 1856 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...

The three most prominent filibusters of that era were Walker, Narcisco Lopez, and John Quitman. Some would also apply the term to the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Narcisco Lopez was a Cuban born soldier of fortune. ... John Anthony Quitman (September 1, 1798–July 17, 1858) was an American politician. ... The history of HawaiÊ»i involves phases of early Polynesian settlement, Euro-American and Asian immigration, takeover of control by immigrants whose economic interests seemed likely to advance under US control, and formal integration by stages into the United States. ...

The actions of the filibusters is what led to the name being applied figuratively to the political act of filibustering in the U.S. Senate. In a legislature or other decision making body, a filibuster is an attempt to obstruct a particular decision from being taken by using up the time available, typically through an extremely long speech. ... Seal of the Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the Congress of the United States, the other being the House of Representatives. ...


  • Brown, Charles H. Agents of Manifest Destiny: The Lives and Times of the Filibusters. University of North Carolina Press, 1980. ISBN 0807813613.
  • May, Robert E. "Manifest Destiny's Filibusters" in Sam W. Haynes and Christopher Morris, eds. Manifest Destiny and Empire: American Antebellum Expansionism. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 1997. ISBN 0890967563.
  • ———. Manifest Destiny's Underworld: Filibustering in Antebellum America. University of North Carolina Press, 2002. ISBN 0807827037.

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