The Argentinian dictator General Juan Manuel de Rosas (born 1793) came, with his wife and daughter, to live in Southampton in 1852 after being forced to leave his homeland by a political coup. He had ruled Argentina with great severity from 1835 until, defeated in battle, he was forced into exile in 1852. It is said that he put 15,000 people to death during his rule and tortured many more.

In Southampton, he lived at Rockstone House, Carlton Crescent (image 2) before purchasing the 400-acre Burgess Street Farm at Swaythling, which he worked until his death in 1877. He became a familiar figure in the town, riding through the streets on an imposing black horse and behaving with all the hauteur that had characterized his years as a dictator. He did not treat his farm workers very well, although he was said to have paid them more than the customary rates. He was buried along with his daughter in Southampton Old Cemetery. In 1989 the remains were exhumed and returned to Argentina for re-burial. A funeral monument remains in the cemetery (image 3)

1. Juan Manuel de Rosas

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Portrait, 1829

2. 8 Carlton Crescent

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Photograph, c.2000

3. Monument in the Old Cemetery

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Photograph, c.2000

Further reading:
Argentine Dictator, by John Lynch. (HS/t)
Juan Manuel de Rosas; the Ousted Dictator, by David Jacobs. (HS/t)
Southampton Occasional Notes 2nd Series, by ‘Townsman’, p57, 72, 73. (HS/h)
Southampton People, by John Edgar Mann, p76-77. (HS/t)


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