List of mercenaries

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This is a list of mercenaries . It includes foreign volunteers, private military contractors, and other "soldiers of fortune".

Mercenary Soldier who fights for hire

A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is an individual who takes part in military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military. Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political interests. Beginning in the 20th century, mercenaries have increasingly come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. Indeed, the Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured soldiers of a regular army. In practice, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and political interests may overlap, as was often the case among Italian condottieri.

Contents

Ancient World

NameLifeYears activeAllegiance
(Organization)
Comments
Alexon 250 BC Carthaginian Empire Greek mercenary from Achaea who served in the Carthaginian garrison at Lilybaeum while it was besieged by the Romans during the First Punic War. Foiled a plot by Gallic mercenaries to surrender Lilybaeum to the enemy.
Autaritus d. 238 BC Carthaginian Empire Leader of the Gallic mercenaries in the Carthaginian army during the First Punic War. He turned against Carthage in the Mercenary War and was crucified by Hamilcar Barca after his capture.
Charidemus d. 333 BC367–333 BC Athens Greek mercenary leader who served Athens, Thrace and Rhodes.
Clearchus of Sparta 411–401 BCSpartan general and mercenary leader who joined Cyrus the Younger in his attempt to seize the Persian throne from Artaxerxes III.
Diogenes of Judea Hasmonean Kingdom Jewish soldier in the service of Alexander Jannaeus. In revenge for the support of certain Pharisees for Demetrius III of Syria's invasion of Judea, Diogenes advised Alexander to crucify 800 Pharisee scholars in front of their families.
Memnon of Rhodes 380–333 BC334–333 BC First Persian Empire Commander of the Greek mercenaries in the service of Darius III when Alexander the Great invaded Persia in 334 BC.
Mathos d. 237 BC241-237 BC Carthaginian Empire Berber mercenary leader who fought for Carthage in Sicily during the First Punic War. He later led a revolt against Carthage during the Mercenary War but was defeated by Hamilcar Barca and crucified.
Mentor of Rhodes 385–340 BC358–340 BCGreek mercenary who fought both for and against Artaxerxes III of Persia. He is also known as the first husband of Barsine, who later became mistress to Alexander the Great.
Naravas Carthaginian Empire Berber mercenary leader who served Carthage during the First Punic War. Unlike his fellow mercenaries, he remained loyal to Carthage during the Mercenary War and helped Hamilcar Barca crush the rebel leaders.
Phalaikos d. 343 BCDeposed ruler of Phocis who formed a mercenary army and fought for Knossos in Crete.
Proxenus of Boeotia 431–401 BC401 BC First Persian Empire A friend of Cyrus the Younger and Xenophon, he was one of the four ill-fated generals who accompanied Clearchus of Sparta to Tissaphernes.
Pythagoras the Spartan 401 BC First Persian Empire Spartan admiral hired to command the first fleet of Cyrus the Younger during his campaign to claim the Persian throne.
Socrates of Achaea 436–401 BC401 BCGreek mercenary general from Achaea who traveled to Persia to fight at the Battle of Cunaxa.
Xanthippus of Carthage 255–245 BC Carthaginian Empire Spartan mercenary general hired by the Carthaginians to aid in their war against the Romans during the First Punic War. Credited for developing military tactics used by Carthage, he led Carthaginian soldiers into the battle of Tunis where the Roman expeditionary force was routed and the Roman consul Marcus Atilius Regulus was captured.
Xenias of Arcadia First Persian Empire Greek commander of mercenaries in the service of Cyrus the Younger.
Xenophon 430–354 BC401–371 BC Peloponnesian League Athenian-born general who served Sparta during the Peloponnesian War.

Medieval

NameLifeYears activeAllegiance
(Organization)
Comments
Flag of France.svg Arnaud de Cervole 1300–1366French mercenary soldier and brigand of the Hundred Years' War. He was murdered by his own men while planning with Pope Urban V to lead a new Crusade to the Holy Land.
Banner of arms of Moravia.svg Bernard Szumborski d. 14701454–1470 Teutonic Knights Moravian knight and who led a mercenary army during the Thirteen Years' War. He was hired by the Teutonic Knights during the Battle of Chojnice and was later sent to relieve the besieged city three years later. Szumborski committed a number of atrocities during the conflict and was eventually poisoned.
Flag placeholder.svg Bolli Bollason Byzantine imperial flag, 14th century, square.svg  Byzantine Empire Viking mercenary who became the first-known West Norseman in the Varangian Guard.
Flag of Connacht.svg Domnall na Madhmann Mac Suibhne Gallowglass associate of Rath Glas.
Flag of France.svg Eustace the Monk 1170–12171205–1212Flag of England.svg  England French mercenary and pirate who raided the Normandy coast on behalf of King John of England until his defection to France in 1212. He supported the rebel faction during the First Barons' War and ferried Prince Louis across the English Channel in 1216. He was executed after his capture at the Battle of Sandwich the following year.
Flag of Spain.svg Frederick of Castile 1223–12771260–1270Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia After his exile from Castile, Frederick served under his brother Henry as a knight errant in the service of Tunisian emir al-Mustansir.
Flag of France.svg Gérard d'Athée 1211–1215Flag of England.svg  England French mercenary employed by King John of England to control southern Wales.
Flag of Spain.svg Henry of Castile the Senator 1230–13031259–1268Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia A son of Ferdinand III of Castile, Henry commanded Spanish knights in the service of Tunisian emir al-Mustansir. He also assisted his cousin, Charles of Anjou, becoming King of Sicily in 1266.
Flag of England.svg Hereward the Wake 1035–1072Flag of Flanders.svg  Flanders English rebel leader and outlaw who resisted the Norman conquest of England. Prior to the Norman invasion, Hereward was a mercenary in the service of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders.
Flag of Genoa.svg Isnardo Guarco 1380–1458Genoese politician and mercenary leader.
Flag placeholder.svg Lobar the Wolf Leader of Brabançon mercenaries that fought in numerous battles all across Europe in the latter half of the twelfth century.
Flag of Bavaria (lozengy).svg Martin Schwartz 1475–1487Germanic mercenary who fought for Lambert Simnel, a Yorkist pretender to the English throne.
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Owain Lawgoch 1330–13781369–1378Flag of France.svg  France Welsh soldier who served in Spain, France, Alsace, and Switzerland. He led a Free Company fighting for the French against the English in the Hundred Years' War.
Flag of Portugal.svg Peter I, Count of Urgell 1187–1258Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco Son of King Sancho I of Portugal who commanded a mercenary army of Christian exiles and adventurers in the service of Yusuf II, the Almohad Caliph of Morocco.
Flag of Normandie.svg Rainulf Drengot 1016–1045Norman adventurer and mercenary in southern Italy.
Flag of Normandie.svg Robert Guiscard 1015–10851047–1085Norman adventurer remembered for the conquest of southern Italy and Sicily.
Flag of Spain.svg Rodrigo de Villandrando 1410–1443Flag of Gascogne.svg  Gascony Spanish mercenary leader in Gascony during the final phase of the Hundred Years' War.
Flag of Spain.svg Roger Deslaur Spanish almogàver in the service of Walter V of Brienne. One of the few knights to survive the bloody Battle of Halmyros, he became a member of the Catalan Company after his capture.
Bandiera del Regno di Sicilia 4.svg Roger de Flor 1267–1305Byzantine imperial flag, 14th century, square.svg  Byzantine Empire Sicilian adventurer and condottiere active in Aragonese Sicily, Italy and the Byzantine Empire.
Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqara 1438–15061457–1470Timurid ruler of Herat. During Bayqara's exile from his homeland, he served as a mercenary soldier to Sultan Sanjar Mirza of Merv.
Flag of Scotland.svg Thomas of Galloway 1212–1228Flag of England.svg  England
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
Gall-Gaidhil prince and adventurer who was employed as an agent for his brother Alan of Galloway as well as English and Scottish kings.
Werner von Urslingen 1308–1354Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg  Holy Roman Empire Germanic mercenary in the service of the Holy Roman Empire.
Flag of Normandie.svg William Iron Arm 1035–1046Norman adventurer who was the founder of the Hauteville family.
Flag of Flanders.svg William of Ypres 1090–11641139–1154Flemish mercenary commander who served as Stephen of England's chief lieutenant during The Anarchy.

Early modern

NameLifeYears activeAllegiance
(Organization)
Comments
Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg Selman Reis 1515–1538 Mamluk Sultanate Ottoman admiral and corsair who commanded a group of 2,000 armed Levantines for the Mamluk navy during the Portuguese–Mamluk naval war.
Flag of Switzerland.svg Arnold Winkelried d. 15221514–1522Flag of Milan.svg  Milan A notorious mercenary leader during the early 16th century, Winkelried was knighted by the Milanese duke Maximilian Sforza in 1514. He instigated by Cardinal Matthäus Schiner to engage in the skirmish that led to the disastrous Battle of Marignano that same year. Winkelried later entered French service and was killed in single combat by his former commander Georg von Frundsberg at the Battle of Bicocca.
Flag of Serbia.svg Sava Temišvarac 1594–1612Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg  Holy Roman Empire Serbian military commander in the service of the Transylvania and then the Holy Roman Empire during the Long Turkish War. He and Bishop Teodor of Vršac led the Uprising in Banat in 1594.
Flag of Norway.svg Enno Brandrøk 1538–15711557–1571Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark
Flag of England.svg  England
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Son of Norwegian-born privateer and admiral Kristoffer Trondson, Brandrøk served as a Landsknecht in Denmark, England, Scotland and Spain.
Flag placeholder.svg Migliorino Ubaldini Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Italian military engineer working in Scotland. He designed new fortifications at the entrances of Edinburgh Castle, Dunbar Castle, and possibly the walled town of Leith.
Flag of Hungary.svg György Dózsa 1470–1514Székely man-at-arms who led a peasants' revolt in the Kingdom of Hungary. Prior to the revolt, he was a soldier of fortune during the wars against the Ottoman Empire
Flag of Greece.svg Thomas of Argos 1545–1546Flag of England.svg  Kingdom of England Commanded a battalion of Albanian stratioti who served as mercenaries with the English army during Henry VIII's wars against Scotland.
Flag of Greece.svg Ioan Iacob Heraclid 1511–15631551–1561Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg  Holy Roman Empire A Greek soldier of fortune who fought in the Holy Roman Empire armies of Charles V in his war against Henry II of France. Heraclid seized the throne of Moldova while in the service of Voivode Alexandru Lăpușneanu and, as the Protestant monarch in Eastern Europe, ruled for two years before his murder by Ștefan Tomșa.
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Maarten Schenck van Nydeggen 1543–15891578–1589Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Dutch nobleman who left the Spanish Empire to join the Dutch Republic.
Götz von Berlichingen 1480–15621498–1544Imperial knight and mercenary active in numerous campaigns during a period of 47 years.
Ernst von Mansfeld 1580–1626A son of Count Peter Ernst von Mansfeld, Ernst von Mansfeld was a noted mercenary commander during the Thirty Years' War
Georg von Frundsberg 1473–15281492–1527 Landsknecht commander in the service of the Imperial House of Habsburg.
Flag of Naples.svg Giorgio Basta 1544–1607Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg  Holy Roman Empire Neapolitan general employed by the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II to command Habsburg forces in the Long War.
Flag of Veneto.svg Lucrezio Gravisi 1558–16131574–Flag of Prussia (1892-1918).svg  Prussia
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Venetian freelance soldier and knight who served in Muscovy, Prussia, Portugal and Spain.
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Roger Williams 1540–1595Welsh soldier of fortune and military theorist.
Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg Osman Pazvantoğlu 1758–1807Ottoman soldier who led a mercenary army against Sultan Selim III.
Flag of France.svg René Descartes 1596–1650Fought for both Protestant Maurice of Nassau and Catholic Maximilian I during the Thirty Years' War.
Flag of Switzerland.svg Sebastian Peregrin Zwyer 1597–16611612–1642Flag of Milan.svg  Milan
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
In his 30-year career, Zwyer served as a mercenary soldier in the service of Spain and Milan, the Habsburg emperors Ferdinand II and Ferdinand III during the Thirty Years' War, and in northern Italy.
Flag of Switzerland.svg Sigmund von Erlach 1614–1699Flag of France.svg  France Swiss mercenary commander in the services of Saxe-Weimar and France during the Thirty Years War.
Flag of Switzerland.svg Kaspar von Silenen 1506–1517First Commander of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.
Flag of Corsica.svg Sampiero Corso 1498–15671512–1567Flag of France.svg  France A condottiero mercenary at age 14, Corso served the Medici family and Pope Clement VII and the French House of Valois during the early 16th century.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Robert Murray d. 1719Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands Scottish soldier and son of Sir Robert Murray, Lord Provost of Edinburgh. A veteran of the Nine Years' War, Murray was an officer in a Scots regiment for the Dutch States Army.
Flag of the United States.svg John Parker Boyd 1764–18301793–1808A soldier of fortune who served in the army of the Nizam of Hyderabad in Central India.
Flag of the United States.svg George Rogers Clark 1752–18181793–1794Flag of France.svg  France Leader of the Kentucky militia during the American Revolutionary War. After the war, Clark offered his services to France and planned a campaign with ambassador Edmond-Charles Genêt to drive the Spanish out of the Mississippi Valley.
Flag of England.svg Rowland York d. 15881572–1588Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
English soldier of fortune who served under Humphrey Gilbert and Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester in the Spanish Netherlands during the Eighty Years' War. York later betrayed the Earl by turning over the Zutphen sconce to the enemy and accepting an offer to command lancers in Spanish service.
Flag of France.svg Pontus De la Gardie 1520–1585Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
French nobleman in the service of Denmark and Sweden.
Flag of England.svg Thomas Stukley 1520–15781551–1578Flag of France.svg  France English mercenary who fought in France, Ireland and Morocco.
Flag of England.svg Simon Harcourt 1603–16421619–1636Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands English soldier of fortune in the service of the Prince of Orange.
Flag of Scotland.svg John Ruthven 1627–1638Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
Scottish military officer who served in Denmark and Sweden during the Thirty Years' War.
Flag of Scotland.svg Patrick Ruthven, 1st Earl of Forth 1573–16511609–1637Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Scottish nobleman and diplomat who served Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years' War.
Flag of Scotland.svg George Sinclair 1580–16121607–1612Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Scottish mercenary who fought for Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in the Kalmar War. He and his men were ambushed and killed by Norwegian peasant militia at the Battle of Kringen.
Flag of Scotland.svg William Baillie Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Scottish professional soldier who commanded a regiment under Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden.
Flag of Scotland.svg Mark Alexander Boyd 1562–16011587–Flag of France.svg  France Scottish poet and soldier of fortune who took part in the religious wars of France.
Flag of Scotland.svg Sir James Ramsay 1589–16381603–1638Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Scottish soldier, known as "Black Ramsay", who served Gustavus Adolphus, during the Thirty Years' War.
Flag of Bavaria (lozengy).svg Peter Hagendorf 1625–1649Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg  Holy Roman Empire German mercenary soldier in the Thirty Years' War. His wartime diary is credited for giving a unique historic record of the life in the contemporary army from the viewpoint of a simple Landsknecht.
Flag of Scotland.svg Paul Menesius 1637–16941658–1694Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg  Russian Empire Scottish soldier and diplomat in the service of the Tsar Alexis of Russia.
Flag of Scotland.svg Robert Douglas, Count of Skenninge 1611–16621627–1662Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Scottish cavalry general in Swedish service during the Thirty Years' War and Swedish-Polish wars.
Flag of Scotland.svg William Drummond, 1st Viscount Strathallan 1617–16881655–1665Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg  Russian Empire Scottish soldier and politician who served as Lieutenant-General in the Muscovite army.
Flag of Scotland.svg Patrick Gordon 1635–16991655–1699Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg  Russian Empire Scottish general and rear admiral in the service of Peter the Great.
Flag of Scotland.svg James Francis Edward Keith 1696–17581726–1758Flag of Prussia (1892-1918).svg  Prussia
Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg  Russian Empire
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Scottish Jacobite who became a mercenary after the failed attempt to restore the Stuart Monarchy in Britain. He initially fought for the Spanish and Russian Empires before serving in the Prussian army under Frederick the Great. He eventually rose to the rank of field marshal and was killed during the Seven Years' War at the Battle of Hochkirk.
Flag of Scotland.svg David Leslie, 1st Lord Newark 1600–16821630–1640Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Fought for the Swedish army of Gustavus Adolphus as a professional soldier during the Thirty Years' War.
Flag of Scotland.svg Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven 1582–16611605–1637Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
Scottish soldier in Dutch and Swedish service.
Flag of Scotland.svg James Lumsden 1598–16601632–1639Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Scottish soldier who served in the Swedish army of Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years' War.
Flag of Scotland.svg Anders Mowatt of Hugoland 1535–16111587–1610Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark Scottish merchant who served as an admiral in the Danish Navy under Christian IV of Denmark.
Flag of Scotland.svg Samuel Cockburn 1574–1621Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Scottish soldier who participated in the Swedish civil war between Sigismund Vasa and Duke Karl IX.
Flag of Scotland.svg Andrew Rutherford, 1st Earl of Teviot d. 1664Flag of France.svg  France Scottish soldier who served in the French army of Louis XIV during the Thirty Years' War.
Flagge Preussen - Provinz Hannover.svg Anthony Pohlmann Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Hanoverian soldier who served in the armies of the British East India Company and Daulat Scindia.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Donald Cameron of Lochiel 1700–1748Scottish Highland chieftain involved in the Jacobite rising of 1745.
Baron Munchausen 1720–17971735–1760Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg  Russian Empire Nobleman who fought for the Russian Empire in the Russo-Turkish War.
Flag of Ireland.svg Alejandro O'Reilly 1722–17941762–1794Flag of Spain.svg  Spain An Irish Jaboite who left Ireland during the Flight of the Wild Geese to fight in foreign Catholic armies. He entered Spanish service and rose to become a military reformer, brigadier general and governor of colonial Louisiana.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Robert Douglas 1727–18091778–1794Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands Scottish-born soldier who served as a major-general in Dutch service. He was governor of the garrison city 's-Hertogenbosch 1784 to 1794.
Flag of Ireland.svg John Sherlock 1705–17941727–1775Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Irish-born brigadier general of the Spanish Empire's Ultonia Regiment. He successfully defended Melilla during a 100-day siege by Moroccan troops.
Flag of Ireland.svg George Thomas 1756–18021781–1798Irish mercenary who was active in 18th-century India. From 1798 to 1801, he ruled a small kingdom in India, until his defeat and capture by Scindia's army under French general Pierre Cuillier-Perron.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg John Ross 1777–18561808–1812Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden British naval officer and Arctic explorer who served in the Swedish Navy.
Flag of France.svg Jean-François Allard 1785–18391815–1839Flag of Iran (1925).svg  Persia
Flag of Punjab.svg  Punjab
French soldier and adventurer in the service of the Abbas Mirza and Ranjit Singh.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Gregor MacGregor 1786–18451812–1819Scottish adventurer and confidence trickster attempted to draw British and French investors and settlers to "Poyais", a fictional Central American territory he claimed to rule as "Cazique".
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg John Mackenzie, Lord MacLeod 1727–17891750–1770Flag of Prussia (1892-1918).svg  Prussia
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
Scottish Jacobite and soldier of fortune in the service of Sweden and Prussia.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg John Forbes 1733–18081762–1808Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal Scottish general in Portuguese service.
Flag of France.svg Benoît de Boigne 1751–18301768–1796Flag of Punjab.svg  Punjab A military adventurer who made his fortune and name in India with the Marathas.
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Jacob Van Braam 1729–17921741–1779Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom A Dutch sword master and mercenary in British service. An officer under Lawrence Washington, he is also credited with training his younger half-brother George Washington.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg George Hanger, 4th Baron Coleraine 1751–18241776–1780Flag of Hesse.svg Hesse-Kassel A British author and eccentric who served in the Hessian Jägers during the American Revolutionary War.
Flag of France.svg Claude Auguste Court 1793–18801827–1843Flag of Punjab.svg  Punjab French soldier and mercenary in the service of Ranjit Singh. Attaining the rank of general, Court was considered one of the leading European officers in the Punjab Army.
Flag of France.svg Pierre Cuillier-Perron 1755–18341780–1803Military adventurer in India who served under Benoît de Boigne. He succeeded De Boigne as commander-in-chief of Sindhia's army until the defeat of Ujjain in 1801. He defected to Great Britain during the Second Anglo-Maratha War after his forces were destroyed by Lord Lake and Sir Arthur Wellesley.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Sidney Smith 1764–18401790Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden British naval officer who served in the Royal Swedish Navy in the war between Sweden and Russia.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg John Robison 1778–18431802–1815Scottish inventor in the service of Nizam of Hyderabad.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Thomas Sutcliffe 1790–18491817–1838Flag of Chile.svg  Chile
Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
English soldier of fortune who served as an army officer in the service of Colombia and Chile.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg John Holmes 1829–1848 Sikh Empire Flag.png Sikh EmpireAnglo-Indian mercenary in the service of the Sikh Empire. He served with the Sikh Khalsa Army during the First Anglo-Sikh War.
Flag of Naples.svg Paolo Avitabile 1791–18501815–1824
1827–1843
Flag of Iran (1925).svg  Persia
Flag of Punjab.svg  Punjab
Neapolitan adventurer who served under Fath-Ali Shah Qajar, Ranjit Singh and Sher Singh in the years following the Napoleonic Wars.
Flag of Italy.svg Giuseppe Garibaldi 1807–18821833–1854Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay
One of the founders of modern Italy who led the Redshirts during the Risorgimento. As a youth, he served in military enterprises in Brazil, Uruguay and Europe.
Flag of Ireland.svg James Patrick Mahon 1800–18911852–1858
1861–1877
Irish journalist and mercenary who fought in Europe, South America and United States during the mid-to late 19th century.
Flag of Ireland.svg George Dawson Flinter d. 18381816–1838Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Irish adventurer and mercenary who left the British Army to become a staff officer in Spanish service and took part in the First Carlist War.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg John de Havilland 1826–1886Flag of Spain.svg  Spain English soldier of fortune who served in Spain under Don Carlos where he became a general in the Spanish Army. An officer of arms at the College of Arms, Havilland is one of two people born in the U.S. to have held that rank.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Stephen Bartlett Lakeman 1823–19001853–1856Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg  Ottoman Empire English adventurer and mercenary soldier who rose to become a general in the Ottoman Empire.
Flag of Italy.svg Camillo Ricchiardi 1865–19401899–1902Flag of Transvaal.svg  Transvaal Italian adventurer and journalist who commanded the Italian Volunteer Legion during the Second Boer War.
Flag of France.svg Prosper Giquel 1835–18861861–1885Flag of the Qing Dynasty (1889-1912).svg  China French naval officer who took part in the Taiping rebellion. His time with the Qing government played an important role in the modernization of 19th century China.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Harry Aubrey de Vere Maclean 1848–19201877–1908Flag of Morocco 1666 1915.svg  Morocco Scottish soldier who served Sultan Mulai Hassan and Moulay Abdelaziz as a military instructor to the Moroccan Army.
Flag of the United States.svg Frederick Townsend Ward 1831–18621852–1862Flag of the Qing Dynasty (1889-1912).svg  China American sailor and soldier of fortune known for his military service in Imperial China during the Taiping Rebellion. He was killed while leading Qing forces at the Battle of Cixi.
Flag of the United States.svg Ira Allen 1751–1814Flag of France.svg  France One of the founders of Vermont, Allen co-led the Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolutionary War. He went to France in 1795 seeking French army intervention for seizing Canada, to create an independent republic called United Columbia. He bought 20,000 muskets and 24 cannon, but was captured at sea, taken to England, placed on trial, charged with furnishing arms for Irish rebels.
Flag of the United States.svg Horace Bell 1830–19181859–1861Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
A founding member of the Los Angeles Rangers, Bell was a member of William Walker's filibustering expedition in Nicaragua and Benito Juárez's Army in Mexico during the Reform War.
Flag of the United States.svg Parker H. French 1826–18801855–1856Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua Adventurer and swindler who participated in William Walker's conquest of Nicaragua.
Flag of the United States.svg James Long 1793–18221819–1822A former US Army surgeon, Long was involved in two filibustering expeditions against the Spanish Empire. He led the ill-fated led Long Expedition to establish an independent republic in Spanish Texas.
Flag of the United States.svg Augustus Magee 1789–18131812–1813A former US Army officer who led a filibustering expedition of Spanish Texas in 1812.
Flag of the United States.svg George Mathews 1739–18121810–1812A Continental Army officer during the American Revolutionary War, Mathews was a key figure in an 1810-1812 filibuster expedition to capture Spanish Florida for the United States.
Flag of the United States.svg John A. Quitman 1798–18581849–1854As military governor of Mexico City, Quitman aided Venezuelan filibuster Narciso López's expedition to liberate Cuba from Spanish rule in 1850. He and Mansfield Lovell later attempted a filibustering expedition to Cuba in 1853, however, the plans were abandoned when President Franklin Pierce withdrew his support.
Flag of the United States.svg William Walker 1824–18601853–1860Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua Lawyer and journalist who led several filibustering expeditions into Latin America during the 1850s. He served as president of Nicaragua from 1856 to 1857 when he was defeated by a coalition of Central American armies.
Flag of the United States.svg Chatham Roberdeau Wheat 1826–18621849–1861Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico An American mercenary and filibusterer who took fought under Narciso López in Cuba and Juan Álvarez in Mexico. He was briefly a member of Giuseppe Garibaldi's Expedition of the Thousand but returned to the U.S. at the start of the American Civil War.

Industrial

NameLifeYears activeAllegiance
(Organization)
Comments
Flag of the United States.svg Frederick Russell Burnham 1861–19471893–1902Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom American scout and adventurer who served with the British South Africa Company and the British Army in colonial Africa.
Flag of the United States.svg Lee Christmas 1863–19241897–1923Flag of Honduras.svg  Honduras American mercenary who fought with rebel groups in Central America during the early 20th century. Initially employed as a railroad engineer in Honduras, he was kidnapped by rebels in 1897. Christmas eventually joined their cause and became a close associate of General Manuel Bonilla.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Morris Cohen 1887–19701922–1943Flag of the Republic of China.svg  China British adventurer who became aide-de-camp to Dr. Sun Yat-sen and a major-general in the Chinese National Revolutionary Army.
Flag of the United States.svg George Washington Dixon 1801–18611847American singer and stage actor best known as one of the earliest blackface performers. A controversial newspaper editor, Dixon took part in a failed filibustering expedition to the Yucatán in 1847.
Flag of the United States.svg Josiah Harlan 1799–18711824–1839Flag of Punjab.svg  Punjab
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
American adventurer who traveled to Afghanistan and Punjab with the intention of making himself a king. Rudyard Kipling's short story The Man Who Would Be King is partly based on his life.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Charles Frederick Henningsen 1815–18771834–1857Flag of New Spain.svg Carlists
Circassian flag.svg  Circassia
Civil Ensign of Hungary.svg  Hungary
Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua
Flag of the Confederate States of America (1865).svg  CSA
An English mercenary and munitions expert who fought in the First Carlist War, Russian-Circassian War, Hungarian Revolution of 1848, and the U.S. Civil War. Henningsen was involved in several filibustering expeditions during the 1850s including, most notably, William Walker's campaign in Nicaragua.
Flag of Russia.svg Emilio Kosterlitzky 1853–19281871–1913Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico Russian-born soldier of fortune, known as the "Mexican Cossack", who participated in the Mexican Apache Wars and Yaqui Wars. Imprisoned during the Mexican Revolution, Kosterlitzky was freed after the intervention of the U.S. in 1914.
Flag of the United States.svg Homer Lea 1876–19121899–1912Naval Jack of the Republic of China.svg Tongmenghui American adventurer involved with Chinese reform and revolutionary movements in the early twentieth century. A close associate of Dr. Sun Yat-sen during the 1911 Chinese Republican revolution.
Flag of the United States.svg Henry McIver 1841–19071857–1884American soldier of fortune who fought for 18 countries during his 27-year career.
Flag of the United States.svg Thaddeus P. Mott 1831–18941848–1857
1868–1879
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg  Ottoman Empire
American adventurer and ex-soldier who fought in Mexico, Italy, and Turkey. As an advisor to Sultan Abdülaziz I, Mott recruited former Union and Confederate soldiers for service in the Egyptian Army.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Carol Ap Rhys Pryce 1876–1955Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico Welsh soldier of fortune. Noted for his role in the 1911 Magonista rebellion in Baja California as an officer with the Mexican Foreign Legion.
Flag of Venezuela.svg Rafael de Nogales Méndez 1879–1936Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg  Ottoman Empire
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Venezuelan adventurer and writer who took part in the Russo-Japanese War, Spanish–American War and various uprisings in Latin America. Méndez served with the Ottoman Empire during World War I where he was a witness to the Armenian Genocide.
Flag of Senegal.svg Abdul Injai Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal Muslim Wolof mercenary in colonial Portuguese Guinea at the turn of the 20th century.
Flag of the United States.svg Frederic Ives Lord 1897–19671917–1919
1936–1945
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Royal Flying Corps flying ace during the First World War and Russian Civil War. He was also served as a military advisor to the Mexican air force during the Mexican Revolution.
Flag of Sweden.svg Carl Gustaf von Rosen 1909–19771936–1977Flag of Finland.svg  Finland
Flag of Biafra.svg  Biafra
A mercenary pilot for Finland during the Winter War and Nigeria during the Biafran War. A pioneer aviator, Rosen flew relief missions in a number of conflicts from the 1930s to 1970s.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Francis Arthur Sutton 1884–1944 Flag of Fengtian clique.svg Manchuria English adventurer, known as "One Arm Sutton", who served as a major general for Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin.
Flag of Sweden.svg Ivor Thord-Gray 1878–19641893–1919Swedish adventurer who participated in 13 different wars across several continents.
Flag of the United States.svg Frank Glasgow Tinker 1909–19391936–1937Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Mercenary fighter pilot and top American ace for the Spanish Republican Air Force during the Spanish Civil War.
Flag of Italy.svg Amleto Vespa 1888–19411922–1941 Flag of Fengtian clique.svg Manchuria Fascist mercenary, spy and weapons smuggler who worked for Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin and later for the Empire of Japan.
Flag of Poland.svg Jan Zumbach 1915–19861940–1967Flag of France.svg  France
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  UK
A Swiss-born Polish fighter pilot who served with the British, French and Polish Air Force during World War II. He also took part in the Congo Crisis and Nigerian Civil War as an air force commander during the 1960s.

Modern

NameLifeYears activeAllegiance
(Organization)
Comments
Flag of the United States.svg Joseph Adams (fl. 1970s &'80s)Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua Bodyguard and military adviser of Adolfo Calero, one of the leaders of the Contra rebellion in Nicaragua.
Flag of the United States.svg George Bacon 1946–19761975–1976Flag of Angola.svg  Angola A former Green Beret and CIA operative, Bacon served with the National Liberation Front of Angola during the Angolan Civil War.
Flag of the United States.svg Frank Camper 1946–Flag of El Salvador.svg  El Salvador
Flag of Guatemala.svg  Guatemala
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
Flag of Yemen.svg  Yemen
A Vietnam War veteran and Defense Intelligence Agency employee who operated as a freelance mercenary in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Yemen. He later operated the Recondo mercenary training school near Dolomite, Alabama. According to the FBI, Camper was personally responsible for saving the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's life in 1985.
Flag of the United States.svg Thomas W. Chittum Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia
Flag of Rhodesia (1968-1979).svg  Rhodesia
An ex-Vietnam War veteran who fought in the Rhodesian War and Croatian War of Independence.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Charlie Christodoulou 1951–19761975–1976Flag of Angola.svg  Angola Greek Cypriot-born British mercenary killed in an ambush in Angola during the Angolan War of Independence.
Flag of the United States.svg Andrew J. Moonen 1980–2006–2007Flag of Iraq.svg  Iraq Former employee of Blackwater Security, accused by the Iraq government of murdering Raheem Khalif, a security guard of the Iraqi Vice-president, Adel Abdul Mahdi.
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Yves Debay 1954–2013Flag of Rhodesia (1968-1979).svg  Rhodesia
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa
French-Belgian mercenary who served in the Rhodesian Bush War and South African Border War. He became war correspondent in 1986 and covered wars in Afghanistan, both Iraq wars, Lebanon, the Balkans, Libya and Syria. Debay was the first Belgian journalist killed during the Syrian civil war.
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Jean Schramme 1929–19881961–1968Belgian planter who turned mercenary during the Congo Crisis and led the 1967 uprising in Katanga against Colonel Mobutu Sese Seko.
Flag of the United States.svg Russell “Texas” Bentley1960-2014–Flag of Donetsk People's Republic.svg  Donetsk People's Republic An unidentified American fighting alongside pro-Moscow forces in the War in Ukraine. He is the only American fighting alongside the pro-Russian separatists.
Flag of the United States.svg Tex O'Reilly 1880–1946Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico An American adventurer and soldier of fortune who participated in the Banana Wars, Mexican Revolution and the Rif War during the early 20th century.
Flag of the United States.svg Robert C. MacKenzie 1948–19951970–1985Flag of Rhodesia (1968-1979).svg  Rhodesia
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa
Flag of Transkei.svg  Transkei
An ex-Vietnam War veteran who served as an officer with the Rhodesian Special Air Service, South African Defence Force, and Transkei Defense Force. He was later a contributing editor for Soldier of Fortune and covered conflicts around the globe.
Flag of the United States.svg Dean Ivan Lamb 1886–19561912–1923Flag of Honduras.svg  Honduras
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
Flag of Paraguay.svg  Paraguay
A mercenary fighter pilot who took part in the Mexican Revolution, World War I and the First Paraguayan Civil War. He also helped to establish the Honduran Air Force in 1921.
Flag of Palestine.svg Abu Nidal 1937–20021967–2002Founder of the Abu Nidal Organization.
Flag of the United States.svg Bruce Conde 1913–19921962–1970Flag of North Yemen.svg  North Yemen Stamp collector and royal impostor who served as a general with Royalist forces in the North Yemen Civil War.
Flag of the United States.svg Harold Edward Dahl 1909–19561936–1945Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Mercenary pilot who was a member of Andrés García La Calle's "American Patrol" group during the Spanish Civil War.
Flag of the United States.svg Sam Dreben 1878–19251907–1917Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico A World War I war hero popularly known as "The Fighting Jew". He also fought as a mercenary during the Banana Wars and Mexican Revolution.
Flag of the United States.svg Sam Hall 1937–2014Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua One time U.S. Olympian who fought on the side of anti-communist forces as a military advisor to the Nicaraguan Contras.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Peter McAleese Flag of Angola.svg  Angola
Flag of Rhodesia (1968-1979).svg  Rhodesia
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa
An ex-Special Air Service officer who served with the FNLA, Rhodesian SAS and the 44 Parachute Brigade.
Flag of France.svg Bob Denard 1929–20071961–1995French soldier and mercenary who operated in many African countries during the Cold War.
Flag of France.svg Dominique Borella 1927–19751945–1975French soldier and mercenary who fought in the Algerian War, Cambodian Civil War and the Lebanese Civil War.
Flag of Germany.svg Rolf Steiner 1933–1950–1971Flag of Biafra.svg  Biafra Soldier of fortune who led the 4th Commando Brigade in the Biafran Army during the Nigerian Civil War, and later served with the Anyanya rebels in southern Sudan.
Flag of Ireland.svg Mike Hoare 1919–1960–1983An Irish mercenary leader known for military activities in Africa and his attempt to conduct a coup d'état in the Seychelles.
Flag of Germany.svg Siegfried Müller 1920–19831962–1965A former Wehrmacht officer-candidate who fought as a mercenary under Major Mike Hoare in the Congo Crisis.
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Lynn Garrison 1937–1967–1970Flew as a combat pilot in various conflicts, most notably the Nigerian Civil War, and later acted as a military and political advisor, allegedly with the support of a number of US Government agencies and various U.S. senators.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Fred Marafano 1940–20131984–2006Flag of Sierra Leone.svg  Sierra Leone Fijian-born British Special Air Service operative turned mercenary who fought in the Sierra Leone civil war as a member of Executive Outcomes.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Costas Georgiou 1951–19761975–1976Flag of Angola.svg  Angola Greek Cypriot-born British mercenary executed in Angola following the Luanda Trial for activities during the civil war phase of the Angolan War of Independence.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Philip Sessarego 1952–2008Flag of Afghanistan.svg  Afghanistan A soldier of fortune involved in a failed coup in the Maldives and trained Mujahideen in Afghanistan before faking his own death in 1993.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Simon Mann 1952–1993–2004Flag of Equatorial Guinea.svg  Equatorial Guinea Former British Army officer who was imprisoned in Equatorial Guinea for his role in a failed coup d'état in 2004.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Tim Spicer 1952–1994–A British Army officer turned military contractor. He served as CEO of Sandline International from 1995 to 2000 before co-founding Aegis Defence Services.
Flag of Hungary.svg Eduardo Rózsa-Flores 1960–20091991–1994Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia A war correspondent for La Vanguardia and the Spanish unit of the BBC World Service, Rózsa-Flores joined the Croatian National Guard during the Croatian War of Independence. As the group's first foreign volunteer, he helped form the Croatian army's First International Unit. Rózsa-Flores was later killed in a police raid during a meeting to allegedly plan the assassination of Bolivian president Evo Morales.
Flag of Israel.svg Yair Klein A former Israeli Army officer who founded the private mercenary company Spearhead Ltd. The organization provided arms and training to armed forces in South America, Lebanon, and Sierra Leone.
Flag of South Africa.svg Nick du Toit South African arms dealer and mercenary implicated in the 2004 plot to overthrow Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea.
Flag of Italy.svg Tullio Moneta 1937–1964–1981Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa Italian-born South African mercenary who served under Mike Hoare in the Congo. He was second-in-command to Hoare during the failed 1981 coup at Mahe Airport in the Seychelles. Moneta was sentenced to five years in prison.
Flag of South Africa.svg Neall Ellis 1949–1996–2004Flag of Sierra Leone.svg  Sierra Leone An ex-South African Air Force pilot, Ellis later contracted for various private military corporations including Executive Outcomes and Sandline International. During the civil war in Sierra Leone, he and his crew held off Revolutionary United Front forces almost single-handedly before the capital was overrun.
Flag of Sweden.svg Bertil Wedin 1940–1982–1986Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa A former Swedish secret service agent, Wedin was an alleged member of an apartheid South African death squad. He was acquitted in the 1982 burglary of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) office in London, the 1986 bombing the ANC office in Stockholm, and assassination of Swedish premier Olof Palme.
Flag of South Africa.svg Taffy Williams 1933–19961960–1970Flag of Biafra.svg  Biafra Welsh-born mercenary who served in Biafra and the Congo with Mike Hoare and 5 Commando Congo.
Flag of New Zealand.svg Kelvyn Alp 1971–1996–2002Founder of the New Zealand Armed Intervention Force. Though founded as a mercenary organisation, it was referred to in the media as a Māori separatist group.
Flag of Sweden.svg Jackie Arklöv 1973–1992–1999Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Liberian-born Swedish mercenary who took part in Yugoslav Wars. He was imprisoned for war crimes in Bosnia but eventually returned to Sweden in a prisoner exchange. Arklöv later joined the neo-Nazi group led by Tony Olsson and participated in their 1999 crime spree that led to the deaths of two police officers.
Flag of the United States.svg Mitchell WerBell III 1918–19831950–1973Flag of Cuba.svg  Cuba
Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg  Dominican Republic
An ex-Office of Strategic Services guerrilla operative, arms dealer and weapons designer who served as a security advisor to Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo and to the Batista regime in Cuba during the 1950s. Also involved with various rebel groups in the Caribbean and Central America during the Cold War.

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Mobutu Sese Seko President of Zaïre

Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga was a Congolese politician and military officer who was the military dictator and President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1965 to 1997. He also served as Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity from 1967 to 1968. During the Congo Crisis, Mobutu, serving as Chief of Staff of the Army and supported by Belgium and the United States, deposed the nationalist democratically elected government of Patrice Lumumba in 1960. Mobutu installed a government that arranged for Lumumba's execution in 1961, and continued to lead the country's armed forces until he took power directly in a second coup in 1965.

Thomas Michael "Mad Mike" Hoare is a British mercenary leader and adventurer known for military activities in Africa and his attempt to conduct a coup d'état in the Seychelles. He turned 100 years old in 2019, despite his lifelong philosophy that 'you get more out of life by living dangerously'.

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Congo Crisis 1960–1965 war fought in the Congo

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Charles 'Charlie' Christodoulou was a British soldier in the Parachute Regiment who later served as a foreign mercenary during the Angolan War of Independence of the 1970s. Known as 'Shotgun Charlie' as he was seldom without one in his hands in Angola, he was involved in the murder of 167 civilians during that conflict.

Michael Scott Neiberg is an American historian, who specializes in 20th-century military history.

References

Michael Lee Lanning United States Army officer

Michael Lee Lanning is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and the author of military non-fiction.

Further reading

Ancient World

Matthew Freeman Trundle was a British-born New Zealand academic. He was a professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Auckland from 2012 until his death in 2019.

Medieval
International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Early modern
Industrial
Modern

Robert Young Pelton is a Canadian-American author, journalist, and documentary filmmaker. Pelton's work usually consists of conflict reporting and interviews with military and political figures in war zones. His career is notable because of the number of conflict zones from which he has reported and the breadth of important figures he has interviewed. His reputation is built on his history of entering forbidden, deadly, and violent places.