The Life and Times of Juan Bautista Azopardo – Mark Camilleri




This is the incredible story of a Maltese corsair who ended up fighting for Argentina and building its first navy. Juan Bautista Azopardo was born in the port town of Senglea in Malta, but as a teenager, he grew up in Toulon, learning shipwrightery and the art of naval warfare. He fought in the French Revolution on the side of the revolutionaries and was promoted to the rank of officer and given French citizenship. He opted to continue his privateering career with the legendary French corsair Hipólito Mordeille until he ended up in Buenos Aires fighting alongside the locals against a British invasion. Victorious and successful, he was promoted again and given a new home country. A Francophile and a Republican, Juan Bautista Azopardo supported Argentinas May Revolution and, being close to the militarys top brass, convinced his superiors to hand him the responsibility for building Argentinas first ever navy. The end result was catastrophic for Juan, but his name remains embedded in Argentinas hall of heroes.


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