The idea of going to a bar in a foreign country and meeting an exotic woman who offers him lodging and sex must have been familiar to many seafarers, and is obviously a male fantasy. The song was printed on broadsides in the mid 19th century, and versions have appeared throughout the English-speaking world. It is related to songs in the USA such as “The Little Mohee (Mohican)” and “The Lakes of Pontchartrain.” It sometimes appears as “The Young Spanish Lass”. In at least one version, the man returns home only to find that his love has been unfaithful (well, fancy that!) and so he returns to his Indian lass.