BECK index

Mexico & Independence 1768-1831

by Sanderson Beck

Mexico 1768-1809
Northern Mexico 1768-1809
California Missions 1768-1809
Mexico’s Struggle for Independence 1810-17
Mexican Independence & Iturbide 1817-23
Mexico of Victoria & Guerrero 1823-31
Mexican California 1810-31
North Mexico & Texas 1744-1817

This chapter has been published in the book Latin America & Canada to 1850. For ordering information please click here.

Mexico 1768-1809

Mexico to 1768

      Viceroy Antonio Maria de Bucarelli (1771-79) attended to military defense, promoted settlements in California, increased revenue without extra taxes, and developed education and hospitals for the poor. In 1774 Carlos III allowed free trade between New Spain, Peru, and New Granada. Bucarelli died of pleurisy and was loved for the peace of his government. Martin Mayorga was also a liberal viceroy. He was recalled in 1783 when Matias de Galvez, brother of Jose de Galvez, became the last viceroy to enter Mexico City on horseback. He died of illness seven months later and was eventually succeeded by his son Bernardo de Galvez in 1785. He once encountered three prisoners on the way to the scaffold and pardoned them, but he died of illness too in 1786. That was when two years of drought and frost devastated the corn crop and caused a famine. In Bajio about 85,000 people died of starvation. A shortage of mercury also depressed mining. As the Indian population increased, the level of wages decreased, increasing robbery.
      Viceroy Croix and Visitador Jose de Galvez had recommended in 1768 that the corrupt corregidores and alcaldes be replaced, and in 1786 New Spain and New Galicia were divided into the twelve intendencias of Mexico, Guadalajara, Zacatecas, Durango, Sonora, Puebla, Veracruz, Merida, Oaxaca, Valladolid, Guanajuato, and San Luis Potosi. Minors of Europeans had to get permission from their parents or guardians to marry. Dowries were increasingly used to get better marriages for Spanish women. Jacinto Martinez de la Concha and Manuel Antonio de Santa Maria (1782-1808) effectively presided over the tribunal of the Sacred Brotherhood which had existed for decades to suppress robbers.
      New Spain had about six million people, of which about one-fifth were Europeans, two-fifths were native, and two-fifths were mixed. The number of African slaves in Mexico was less than ten thousand, and they were mostly in Veracruz and Acapulco. Laws regulated their treatment, protecting the sick and those under seventeen or over seventy from forced labor. They could purchase their freedom but still had to pay tribute. In 1778 the crown attempted to extend its decree against miscegenation to the colonies, and in 1784 branding was abolished.
      When Juan Vicente de Güemes of Revillagigedo became viceroy in 1789, the year of another famine, the intendencia of Mexico had more than a million and a half people. He implemented many reforms including free trade in the empire, regulation of market-places, street lights, paved streets, better fire brigades, eliminating some feast days, reducing the militia, and making the police and justice systems more effective. He had a letter box placed in the palace so that he could receive direct criticism, which irritated some officials. Gardens were laid out; city drainage was improved; mills manufactured cotton, silk, hemp, and linen; bridges and roads were constructed and repaired; and mining and agriculture were promoted. The annual coinage went up more than twenty percent to 24 million pesos. As the poor crowded into cities, begging and vagrancy increased. To suppress the ideas of the French revolution Güemes prohibited books, pamphlets, and papers on religious or political freedom.
      In 1794 the Marques de Branciforte arrived to be viceroy with goods exempt from customs duties so that he could enrich himself. He confiscated all the possessions of the French in New Spain and Louisiana. In October 1795 he signed a friendship treaty with the United States that prohibited North Americans from entering New Spain. Godoy had made peace with France in July 1795, but that drew Spain into the war against England in August 1796, causing taxes to be raised. English residents of New Spain suffered the same treatment as the French had. In May 1798 Branciforte left for Spain with nearly five million pesos in gold and silver. The English blockaded Cadiz, and that year they captured 186 Spanish ships. Spain allowed its American colonies to trade with each other, but the King still collected duties and sold licenses.
      Viceroy Miguel Jose de Azanza began his administration in 1798 by working on the cases of 1,500 prisoners awaiting trial. He dismissed the military camps established by Branciforte that were costing more than 60,000 pesos per month. Many people resented how the Spanish officials exploited Mexico for Spain and for their own selfish interests. Less than ten percent of the Spaniards in Mexico were female. Juan Guerrero and others were arrested for treason in 1799, and after eight years of investigation they were exiled. Pedro Portilla and a dozen relatives and friends were imprisoned for the “machete conspiracy.” Some died in prison, and the others were released by Azanza’s successor.
      Viceroy Felix Berenguer de Marquina arrived in 1800; but he had been captured by the English during his voyage from Spain and was suspected of having made them promises. He had the English prisoners at Veracruz released. He was kind-hearted and forbade bull fights during his reception, which made him unpopular. Marquina discovered a conspiracy of natives in New Galicia that was led by Mariano, the son of Tlaxcala’s governor, who claimed to be Aztec royalty. More than a hundred people were arrested; but none were convicted, and many died in the hospital. The English fleet blockaded Veracruz, but one effect of the European wars was that New Spain became more independent. A papal bull granting indulgence from fasting during lent raised gold for Spain. Creoles were being heavily taxed and were denied positions of authority that were reserved for Spaniards.
      Jose de Iturrigaray became the 56th viceroy of Mexico in 1803. He too brought cargo to sell at a profit, and he developed a system of selling offices and employment. Despite his enormous wealth his extravagant expenses exceeded his salary of 60,000 pesos. The smallpox vaccine invented by Jenner began reducing that disease in Mexico in 1804. By then Mexico was producing 67% of all the silver in America. On December 12, 1804 Spain declared war on Britain, and a royal decree of the Law of Consolidation sequestered all real estate owned by benevolent institutions that were mostly operated by clergy. To meet the crisis Viceroy Iturrigaray raised eighteen million pesos from corporations, clergy, and private persons. His commission was 500,000 pesos, and the money was not sent to Spain until 1808 after the war. The Viceroy also sold offices and military ranks and participated in smuggling. Two-thirds of the capital circulating in Mexico was borrowed from the Church at 3% interest. Godoy gave five million pesos to Napoleon. In time of war unmarried men between the ages of 14 and 40 were the first to be conscripted, followed by the married men. Viceroy Iturrigaray had about 28,000 troops he could put in the field. By 1808 the annual military budget was $4,000,000.
      Jose Antonio Alzate edited the monthly Gaceta de Literature from 1788 to 1795. The Creoles were better educated in America than the Spaniards were in Europe, and the writings of Rousseau and others were spread secretly. The Inquisition tried to suppress the libertinism of the romantic era, and Juan Antonio Olavarrieta was prosecuted and deported for having written Man and Beast that depicted a tyrant king, but he escaped during the voyage. In 1805 El Diario de Mexico edited by Carlos Maria de Bustamente became the first daily newspaper, but it was restricted by censorship. In 1807 Jose Roxas was imprisoned for several years by the holy office for having a volume of Rousseau. From 1690 through 1807 the coined gold and silver shipped to Spain amounted to $1,052,579,000, and of this $767,000,000 went into the royal treasury. Even as late as 1808 only one bishop in New Spain was not European. Melchor de Talamantes was a friar from Peru, and he wrote pamphlets advocating that the people should be sovereign. He proposed abolishing the Inquisition and removing special privileges of the clergy while promoting free trade, industry, and agriculture.
      In March 1808 soldiers forced King Carlos IV to abdicate in favor of his son Fernando VII, and Mexicans rejoiced at the fall of the powerful and avaricious Godoy. Napoleon Bonaparte’s French army occupied Spain on the pretext of attacking Portugal, and on May 6 Napoleon forced Fernando to abdicate to Joseph Bonaparte who assumed the crown of Spain. The news arrived in July, and on August 9 Viceroy Iturrigaray called a meeting and urged unity. He declared that Mexicans would never accept Joseph Bonaparte as sovereign, and he suspended the sequestration decree. The Ayuntamiento (City Council) of Mexico City proposed transferring the sovereignty abdicated by Fernando to the viceroyalty of New Spain and the cabildos and the Audiencia. Francisco Primo de Verdad suggested a national junta elected by the cabildos, cathedral chapters, and Indian communities. Iturrigaray  sent out circulars to the councils of Mexico’s main cities inviting them to send representatives to a provisional congress. Conservatives reacted by forming the Volunteers of Fernando VII, and Gabriel de Yermo, a wealthy sugar planter from Cuernavaca, led the revolt of the golpistas who seized Viceroy Iturrigaray on September 15, 1808 and sent him back to Spain where he faced trials for various charges until his death in 1815.
      The Audiencia chose the 80-year-old Field Marshal Pedro Garibay to be viceroy, and he signed whatever the Audiencia proposed. Primo de Verdad and Fray Melchor de Talamantes were imprisoned. Verdad was found dead on October 4, 1808, and Talmantes died of yellow fever five days later. Spanish merchants seized power in Oaxaca backed by their militia. Garibay pleased the conservatives by sending the creole militias out of the city, shipping money to the Junta of Seville, cancelling the tax on meat, and requiring residents to wear badges for Fernando VII. The Inquisition sent out detectives to arrest dissidents, and hand-operated printing presses were banned. Garibay set up a tribunal to try cases of sedition.
      The Law of Consolidation was not rescinded by the Supreme Junta in Seville until January 4, 1809. When the Junta of Aranjuez in Spain realized that Garibay was a puppet of the rich, they appointed Archbishop Francisco Javier de Lizana y Beaumont on July 19 to be the next viceroy of New Spain. He contributed his salary to help defend Spain and suppressed the conspiracy in Valladolid led by Jose Maria Obeso that was planning an uprising to begin on December 21. They were arrested by young Agustin de Iturbide and in their trial were defended by Carlos Maria de Bustamente who predicted that hanging the first insurgent would end Spain’s hope of keeping America. In October 1809 the Spanish Junta decreed that  colonists should have equal representation in the national Cortes, that they should have free trade, and that Americans should be eligible for state and church offices. These and other reforms were presented to the Mexican people on September 23, 1810, but by then it was too little too late.

Northern Mexico 1768-1809

      The missions declined after the Jesuits were expelled in 1767. Francisco Joaquin Valdez worked through the church at Torim for 23 years and promoted crafts, manufacturing, technical assistance, sheep raising, and cotton and indigo farming. He secured loans in 1774 and established a stocking factory at Potam. Only thirty of the fifty Jesuits expelled from Sonora reached Spain alive in 1769. Most of the missions in Sinaloa and Ostimuri were secularized, and those in Sonora were turned over to Franciscan friars. The Querétaro college provided fourteen friars to the missions in the Pimerias. In 1781 a royal decree made Sonora a bishopric that included Sinaloa and the Californias.
      New Mexico’s Governor Pedro Fermin de Mendinueta (1767-78) made a treaty with the Comanches in 1771. Although the goal was to bring peace to the frontier by converting the tribes, the new Regulation of 1772 called for constant warfare against hostile natives. Indians who made peace were given provisions worth fifteen to twenty pesos. Between 1775 and 1777 General Don Hugo O’Conor led the military campaigns to control the Apaches.
      After Juan Bautista de Anza became governor on 24 August 1777, he led 645 men north in 1778 and killed the Comanche chief Cuerno Verde and other prominent leaders. Comanches and other tribes had an annual summer fair on the plains of Taos, and hundreds of New Mexicans bartered for deer and buffalo skins that they could trade in the January fair at Chihuahua. Most of the pueblo Indians suffered under debt peonage to the settlers, who in turn were usually in debt to the merchants in Chihuahua. In 1779 Commandant General Teodoro de Croix ratified a peace treaty with four bands of Apache Mescaleros, but he still intended to destroy hostile Apaches. In the winter of 1781-82 eight Mescalero chiefs led raids that killed eighty people. Governor Anza with a display of soldiers persuaded the Navahos to make peace, and in 1785 the Navahos agreed to be allies in the campaign against the Gileños. That year Jacobo Ugarte y Loyola was appointed comandante general.
      In November 1785 the three top chiefs of the Comanches attended a council by the Arkansas River and decided to negotiate peace with Governor Anza. Chief Ecueracapa traveled to Santa Fe, and in February 1786 he made a peace pact with Anza that included reconciliation with the Utes. The Comanches agreed to restore all the captives from tribes friendly to the Spaniards. Anza made a preliminary peace alliance with the Navaho chiefs in March, and they agreed to submit to one elected chief. Later that year the Comanche nation elected Ecueracapa. General Ugarte authorized Anza to make peace with the Comanches, Utes, Navahos, and Jicarilla Apaches but not with any other Apaches.
      Before he died in November 1786, Viceroy Bernardo de Galvez instructed General Jacobo Ugarte to implement a new policy toward the Indians. In March 1787 Captain Domingo Diaz reported that eight Mescalero chiefs had brought their bands to El Norte, and they accepted eleven conditions for peace; but the next month Governor Juan de Ugalde of Coahuila attacked these Mescalero bands. After Governor Anza met with the Jupe, Yamparica, and Chuchantica chiefs, the final agreement with the Comanche nations was made in April. Already the Comanches had been fighting the enemy Apaches for a year. Ugarte urged Governor Fernando de la Concha of New Mexico to provide the cooperating Comanches with conveniences. The next month hundreds of Mimbreños revolted from the settlements at San Buenaventura, and in June most of the Chiricahuas deserted Bacoachi.
      In April 1788 Mescaleros abandoned their reservation, killed soldiers, and raided ranches. The same month Viceroy Manuel Antonio Flores ordered General Ugarte to nullify the Mescalero peace and expel them from New Vizcaya. While governing Rio de la Plata and New Granada, Flores had become convinced that he could not trust peace pacts with savages, and he urged Ugarte to wage war against all the Apaches. When the Compa and others surrendered, Ugarte told Anza to make an exception to the Viceroy’s policy so as not to alienate the Chiricahuas. Flores put Governor Ugalde in charge of the eastern provinces in October, leaving Ugarte only the western half. Later that month Ugalde accepted the capitulation of eight Mescalero chiefs by the Sabine River. Ugarte disagreed with the policies of Flores and wrote a memorial to King Carlos IV in May 1789. He hoped to gain the Mescalero Apaches in the east as allies to help fight the Gila Apaches and the Mimbreños. Flores became ill and retired in October. Viceroy Revilla Gigedo II ordered Ugalde to return from his offensive campaign and surrender his command of the eastern provinces to Ugarte. General Ugarte sent Captain Diaz to negotiate with the Mescaleros, and they agreed to fight with the Spaniards against the hostile Gila Apaches. Ugarte renewed the Mescalero peace in June 1790, and peace was nearly concluded with the alienated Lipanes by the time Ugarte had turned over his command to Pedro de Nava at the end of the year. Ugarte also maintained the alliance with the Comanches, improved relations with the Chiricahuas, and accepted the surrender of several hundred Mimbreños.
      The Navahos remained at peace with the Spaniards until 1796 when they joined the Gileños in some raids. Some hostile Navahos tried to survive in the canyon of Chelly in 1803, but Governor José Chacon’s expeditions persuaded them to submit in 1805.
      Texas had many wild cattle, and the early settlers had more influence than the missionaries with the government. France ceded Louisiana to Spain in 1763 to keep it from the British, but in 1800 they ceded it back to France in exchange for Tuscany. After Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States in 1803, its western border was in dispute. Viceroy Iturrigaray fortified San Antonio and Nacogdoches with 1,500 soldiers, and he planned to defend the Arroyo Hondo as the border. By 1800 San Antonio de Béjar was the largest town in Texas with about 2,000 people, and the first port at Bahia de San Bernardo opened in 1805. The next year Governor Juan Bautista Guazabal was succeeded by Antonio Cordero.
      One of the first settlers from the northeast was the Irishman Philip Nolan who had been trying to engage in illegal trade between San Antonio and Natchez since 1785. He and twenty others in 1800 left Natchez to capture wild horses and built an enclosure by the Brazos River. In March 1801 they were attacked by 150 Spanish soldiers, and Nolan was killed. The Americans signed a treaty, but they were put in irons and taken to San Luis Potosi. Nine men were tried, and after five years one was hanged. In 1806 Simon Herrera led 1,300 troops across the Sabine River. The United States considered this the temporary border, and Governor Claiborne called out the Louisiana militia. General James Wilkinson negotiated, and the agreement recognized the territory between the Sabine and the Arroyo Hondo as neutral ground. Both governments agreed, but as a result this territory was used by outlaws and marauders.
      In 1805 General Wilkinson ordered Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike to find the source of the Mississippi River. In the summer of 1806 Pike’s expedition entered Spanish territory and was followed by Spaniards led by Melgares. Pike went up the Arkansas River and in November discovered the peak named after him in Colorado. After wandering into New Mexico and building a blockhouse near the mouth of the Rio Conejos on the Rio Grande, Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish authorities on 26 February  11807. They were taken to Governor Manuel Maria de Salcedo in Santa Fe and were eventually escorted to the Louisiana border and released on July 1807. Pike’s account of his journey was published and translated into several languages, influencing American explorers.

California Missions 1768-1809

      In February 1767 Spain’s Carlos III ordered all members of the Society of Jesus expelled from his dominions in Europe, America, and Asia; priests were granted an annual pension of 100 pesos and lay brothers 90 pesos. On June 24 Viceroy Croix ordered all the Jesuits arrested in Mexico; their papers and property were seized. At that time New Spain had 418 priests out of a total of 678 Jesuits; of these 464 were born in America, 153 were Spaniards, and 61 were foreigners. They had 23 colleges and 103 missions. They were accused of complicity with treasonous attempts, sedition, greed, fanaticism, disobedience, and pride. Yet many believed they served God, spread education, and helped natives earn a living. Galvez had the uprisings against this policy suppressed. The Jesuits were confined in their colleges and sent to Veracruz. From there they were shipped to Havana, Cadiz, Corsica, Genoa, and finally to the papal states. Francisco Javier Clavijero was one of the Jesuits expelled, and in 1780 in Italy he published his famous Historia antigua de Mexico which describes the history of the Aztecs and the Spanish conquest to 1525. He portrayed the indigenous people as peaceful while criticizing the cruelty of the conquistadors. Clavijero also published his history of Jesuit missionaries in Baja California in four volumes in 1789.
      When the sixteen Jesuits were expelled from Baja California in 1768, some Spaniards expected to find great wealth in their missions; but they were disappointed. Junipero Serra planned the distribution of Franciscans to the abandoned missions. Concerned about Russians coming from the northwest, King Carlos III ordered Viceroy Croix to occupy and fortify Alta California from San Diego to Monterey. Visitador General José de Galvez came to the northwest to settle the Indian problems in Sonora. He organized the occupation of California from San Diego to Monterey, and he decreed that Crown lands could be separated from the missions and offered to Spaniards of good character. He also prohibited trade with the Manila ships. Galvez sent four expeditions to meet at San Diego in 1769 under the command of Governor Gaspar de Portola. In 1772 the Franciscan Rafael Verger and the Dominican Juan Pedro Iriarte signed an agreement that gave the Dominicans the California peninsula south of San Diego. In 1804 a royal decree made Baja California and Alta California separate provinces.
      Junipero Serra was president of the missions in Alta California and founded the first mission at San Diego in 1769. Serra had a lame foot from his walk from Veracruz to Mexico City in 1749. While going from Loreto to San Diego in 1769 he had a muleteer treat an abscess on his leg. He stayed behind in San Diego to collect church utensils while Portola and Padre Juan Crespi marched north to Monterey. They did not recognize Monterey Bay but saw Point Reyes and the San Francisco Bay before returning. In August the Spaniards in San Diego were attacked by the natives, and one Spaniard was killed; but after the assault the surgeon Pedro Prat healed several of the wounded natives, and this improved relations. Serra’s gifts induced a young Indian to live with the Spaniards and learn the language, but Serra was deeply disappointed that no natives would be baptized for some time. In 1770 Serra founded a mission at San Carlos in Monterey, and a presidio for the soldiers was built. Later the mission was moved to Carmel because Serra believed the soldiers were a bad influence. Portola retired and was replaced by Lt. Pedro Fages.
      In 1771 the San Antonio and San Gabriel missions were established. Serra criticized the soldiers for refusing to work, alienating natives with their insolence, and abusing their women. The raping of native women caused some Indians to attack two soldiers at San Gabriel, and a chief was killed with a musket. Serra went to Mexico City and gained a military force of eighty men under Captain Fernando de Rivera y Moncada who was selected because Serra was at odds with Lt. Fages. Only transport ships from San Blas in Mexico and from the Philippines were allowed in California ports, and no trade was permitted. In 1772 Serra founded the mission at San Luis Obispo. By 1773 the Franciscans reported that they had baptized 491 natives; the number was small because they provided the neophytes with food and had little. In 1774 San Diego became a presidio. That year they baptized 342 natives, and the number of marriages doubled. In November 1775 nearly a thousand natives burned the San Diego mission, and Padre Jaume and a blacksmith were killed. They relocated the mission six miles from the bay.
      In the next two years missions were founded at San Francisco, San Juan Capistrano, and Santa Clara. They also built a presidio at San Francisco. Monterey became the capital, and San José was the first pueblo for a few colonists. José Ortega became concerned that some Indians in the San Diego area were making arrows to use against Spaniards. Chief Aaran replied to a warning that the soldiers could come and be slain. Ortega sent Sergeant Cabrillo whose forces had killed two, burned others who refused to come out of a hut, flogged those who surrendered, and took four chiefs to San Diego. Ortega had no right to inflict capital punishment, but nonetheless the four chiefs died in the first public execution in California on 11 April 1778. That year Serra received the authority to confirm Christians, and he confirmed 5,309 before he died in 1784. The Manila galleon stopped at Monterey in 1779. That year Spain declared war on England, and Commandant-general Teodoro de Croix passed on the royal order for Governor Neve to collect a war tax of two pesos from every Spaniard and one peso from Indians and other adults. Serra objected to the missionaries having to collect the money from the sale of produce, alms, and soldiers’ debts without even telling the converts.
      Padre Francisco Garces traveled much in the region of the Colorado River in the late 1770s, visiting all the natives except the Moquis (Hopis). Yuma chief Ignacio Palma was friendly to Spaniards, was baptized Salvador, and requested missionary services in 1777. Garces and Juan Diaz were sent in 1779; but they brought only a few trinkets, and the Yumas were disappointed. New instructions were issued in March 1780 which allowed converts to live in pueblos with the Spaniards. The pueblos founded were called La Purisima Concepcion and San Pedro y San Pablo, and they were both west of the mouth of the Colorado River. The land was distributed with little regard for the rights of the natives, whose crops were often ruined by the Spaniards’ livestock. Hatred grew among the Yumas and the other tribes, and Palma helped organize the resistance. Commander Alferez Santiago de Islas appointed Ignacio Palma governor of the Yumas territory around San Pedro y San Pablo; but later he arrested Palma and put him in the stocks. Captain Fernando Rivera arrived with a dozen soldiers; but he distributed few gifts, and their livestock destroyed the mesquite plants. On 17 July 1781 the Yumas attacked both pueblos, killed four priests and a total of 46 men, including Garces, Diaz, and Rivera. The women and children were captured and made to work but were not violated. Lt. Col. Pedro Fages led a hundred soldiers and native allies to the Colorado and ransomed the captives, but the Yumas had left the area.
      In 1781 Governor Felipe de Neve increased the military force to two hundred men, and Los Angeles became a pueblo. In the new regulations the Spanish government gave up its 150% profit, and supplies were provided at their cost in San Blas, Mexico. The soldiers’ pay was reduced by forty percent. Settlers were required to sell their surplus produce to the presidios at fair prices fixed by the government. Each colonist had to be ready with horses and a musket for military service in emergencies. They were not allowed to kill their livestock, and one person could not own more than fifty animals.
      In 1782 Santa Barbara gained a presidio and San Buenaventura a mission. Serra was expecting the arrival of six friars and went with Pedro Benito Cambon to serve the two new missions. The soldiers were forbidden to visit the natives and were not allowed to own cattle. The priests were not allowed to engage in temporal management but were to focus on instructing the Indians. However, without the agricultural and mechanical implements the priests had little control over the natives. The six new friars refused to be missionaries under these new conditions. If the priests were not supported by the civil and military authorities, they believed the natives would lose respect for them with disastrous results. In 1782 the nine missions had only eighteen padres and Serra.
      Pedro Fages was governor 1782-90. He toured the missions in October 1782, urging neophytes to behave well and promising to pardon returning runaways while threatening to punish others severely. The number of converts living in missionary communities grew from 4,000 in 1783 to 7,500 in 1790 while the livestock quadrupled. After Serra’s death in 1784 his friend Francisco Palou wrote a biography of him and served as interim president until Fermin Francisco de Lasuen was installed in 1785. He was given episcopal authority to confirm in 1790, and in the next five years Lasuen confirmed 10,139 Christians. He founded missions at Santa Barbara in 1786, La Purisima Concepcion in 1787, and Santa Cruz and Soledad in 1791.
      News of Captain Cook’s voyage to the northwest coast in 1778-79 stimulated the Spaniards to try fur trading in California. Vicente Basadre y Vega was sent as a commissioner and purchased skins collected from the natives by the missionaries at set prices for the government monopoly. He collected 1,600 otter-skins in 1786 and nearly 10,000 by 1790, when they decided to leave the trade to private enterprise because the monopoly could not compete with the northwest coast.
      The French explorer Jean François Galaup de La Pérouse visited Monterey for ten days in September 1786. Spanish authorities ordered a welcome for the French, and they were provided with cattle, vegetables, and milk. La Pérouse introduced potatoes from Chile and a hand-mill for grinding barley. He studied the mission system and commented that the neophytes seemed like children or slaves more than men and that ignorance was not much dispelled because the emphasis was more on the next life than on this one.
      To prevent the British from occupying Nootka, the Spanish sent Martinez in 1789, and he captured several English ships. This nearly provoked a war, but in a 1790 treaty both nations were given the rights of navigation, fishing, and settlement on the northwest coast. In November 1792 Captain George Vancouver visited San Francisco and went on horseback to the Santa Clara mission. Governor José Joaquin de Arrillaga (1792-94) was alarmed by the visit and urged the strengthening of defenses. Vancouver visited Monterey at the end of 1794 and obtained supplies; he was surprised the Spaniards had so few soldiers to protect the colony from natives and foreign invasion.
      Governor Diego de Borica (1794-1800) issued orders in 1796 to keep out foreign vessels. However, that year Spain and the United States made a friendship treaty, and the first ship from the United States was allowed to anchor at Monterey. The Otter from Boston commanded by Ebenezer Dorr had a passport from President Washington signed by the Spanish consul in Charleston. Dorr’s request to land some convicts who had escaped from Botany Bay was denied, but he secretly forced the ten men and a woman to land at night. Governor Borica had the carpenters and blacksmiths put to work for nineteen cents a day building a launch, a mill, and better wagons until they were deported to Spain.
      Problems with local tribes occurred when the missionaries sent converts after neophytes who had run away. In 1795 eight or ten neophytes were killed north of San Francisco Bay. When thirty neophytes were sent after fugitives across the bay from San Francisco in June 1797, Viceroy Branciforte prohibited the practice. The next month Sergeant Amador captured 83 fugitives and nine of the Cuchillones and the Sacalanes, the tribes involved in the 1795 killings. The natives dug pits to prevent the use of horses, and in the battle Amador had seven or eight men killed. Commandant José Dario Arguello then forbade such expeditions by the missionaries.
      The laws required each mission to elect annually an alcalde and regidores, but these elections were not held after 1792. When Governor Borica and Viceroy Branciforte insisted in 1796, President Lasuen obeyed but told the friars that the elections were only formalities to instruct the natives. In 1796 Padre Martin de Landaeta wrote a letter to Governor Borica protesting abusive treatment of the natives. Borica then wrote to Lasuen complaining about their treatment, work, and food. In 1795 two hundred neophytes had fled from San Francisco. In 1797 Padre Antonio de la Concepcion Horra came to California and was so critical of how the friars treated the natives that Lasuen deemed him insane and sent him back to Mexico the same year. Such offenses as neglecting work, not attending mass, returning late from a leave of absence, sexual improprieties, theft, and quarrelling were punished by up to 25 lashes (per day) or confinement in stocks or shackles.
      Also in 1797 Lasuen founded missions at San José, San Juan Bautista, San Miguel, and San Fernando. The mission started at San Luis Rey in 1798 made eighteen, each with two padres. President Lasuen and three other supernumeraries were not paid. Lasuen died in 1803. The historian Hubert Bancroft judged Lasuen more capable than the great Junipero Serra, and he was considered more diplomatic. Santa Ines mission was founded in 1804, fulfilling Serra’s goal of missions separated by only one day’s walking distance. That year Nueva California became a separate province from Antigua (Baja) California that was run by the Dominicans. Arrillaga became governor again 1804-14 in Monterey and was paid $4,000 a year.
      In 1803 Captain William Shaler came to San Diego to purchase skins; but the comandante seized them, and they fired upon Shaler’s ship. The next year Shaler returned from China, visited Santa Catalina island, and got supplies at San Pedro. In 1808 he published the first account of California in the United States and predicted that with good government it would become affluent. He suggested that the conquest of California would not require much effort. Shaler wrote in his journal,

The plan of civilization in the missions
is to instruct the Indians in the Catholic religion,
the Spanish language, the necessary arts, agriculture, etc.;
but the notion of private property
is not admitted among them;
so that each mission forms an indivisible society,
of which the fathers are the kings and pontiffs.1

      In 1805 a group led by Padre Pedro Cuevas was attacked by natives near San José, and several were killed. Sergeant Luis Peralta with eighteen soldiers and as many volunteers went out and killed a dozen Indians while capturing twice as many. Yet under the mission system during these years hostile confrontations with the natives were very few, and those who chose to become Christians and live in the mission communities found new opportunities for improving their way of life by farming and learning other skills as well as the new religion.
      In 1806 Russians led by Nikolay Petrovich Rezanov were graciously received by Governor Arrillaga at Monterey. Rezanov fell in love with Concepcion, the daughter of Commandant Arguello, and they agreed to marry. Rezanov went to get permission in Russia and Madrid for this and for trading; but he died in Siberia, and his treaty was never ratified. Concepcion waited and then chose a religious life.
      In 1808 the San Carlos brought supplies to San Francisco and Monterey in May, to San Diego in October, and to San Blas on November 1. News of Fernando VII’s abdication, and the war against France arrived at the end of the year. Governor Arrillaga was instructed to capture any French ship if he could; but if not, he was not to let them know they were at war so that it might be seized at Acapulco. Troops at the presidios continued to support King Fernando and by 5 March 1809 had sent notice of their allegiance.

Mexico’s Struggle for Independence 1810-17

      In 1810 the population of Mexico reached 6,122,354, and the number of Europeans was 1,097,928. In 1800 Mexico had only 15,000 Spaniards, and about half were soldiers. In a century the annual revenue of Mexico had increased from 3 million pesos to 24 million pesos. Local administration and defense spent 14 million; 4 million subsidized other American colonies while the other 6 million pesos went into the Royal Treasury in Madrid and accounted for two-thirds of the imperial revenue. Indians and mestizos were multiplying even though they had to pay tribute and were prohibited from wearing Spanish clothes, owning a horse, or having weapons. Bishop Antonio de San Miguel of Michoacan advocated abolishing the hated tribute and urged the distribution of communal lands and letting Indians and mestizos live in the towns with the Europeans. The droughts of 1808-09 led to another famine in 1810-11.
      Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was a creole who studied the classics and earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1770 at the College of San Nicolas Obispo in Valladolid and a degree in theology in 1773. He learned Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, German, Nahuatl, Mixtec, Otomi, and Tarascan, and he studied Cervantes, Bacon, Descartes, and Leibnitz. Hidalgo was ordained a priest in 1778 and taught at that college for fourteen years and was treasurer before being made rector. He reformed the curriculum away from scholasticism and toward pedagogy, earning enough to buy three haciendas. In 1792 he resigned to be a lowly parish priest at Colima and then in Guanajuato where he directed a theater where his translations of plays by Racine and Moliere were performed. He lived with the leading actress and had two daughters. He led free-thinking discussions and was brought before the Inquisition which cleared him in 1801. When his brother Joaquin died in 1803, he replaced him as the parish priest in the town of Dolores where he organized industries such as pottery, silk, tanning, weaving, and wine culture to help native manufacturing in the Bajio.
      Captain Ignacio Allende headed the Literary and Social Club of Querétaro, and he advocated a national junta in Mexico City. In the writings of the Renaissance philosopher and theologian Francisco Suarez they found his arguments why citizens had the right to overthrow despots. Hidalgo joined the revolutionaries in Querétaro. He appealed to Indians, and in 1810 they began making primitive weapons. They were associated with Miguel Dominguez, the creole corregidor of Querétaro who led an investigation of the deplorable working conditions in the woolen textile shops (obrajes). In 1805 Dominguez had sent a written protest of the Law of Consolidation, and Viceroy Iturrigaray tried to remove him. After Fernando VII abdicated, Dominguez proposed that the Querétaro City Council convoke a Mexican congress. His wife Doña Maria Josefa Ortiz was more revolutionary than he was.
      Francisco de Venegas arrived in Veracruz on August 28, 1810 to be the new viceroy. On September 13 Hidalgo’s friend, Intendant Juan Antonio Riaño of Guanajuato, learned of the Querétaro conspiracy from the ecclesiastical judge Rafael Gil de Leon who heard of the plans in a friar’s dying confession. Allende and Juan de Aldama went to tell Hidalgo. On September 16 a crowd of six hundred gathered in the morning for Hidalgo’s Sunday mass, and he made his famous grito de Dolores which is still celebrated as the beginning of Mexico’s independence movement. He sent emissaries to Guanajuato, Querétaro, Guadalajara, and Mexico City to announce the revolt.
      Hidalgo led 800 men, and at Atotonilco he chose an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe as the symbol of their revolution as he led his following to Allende’s native city San Miguel el Grande where Allende tried to restrain the mob violence of the revolutionaries. He told Hidalgo they needed military discipline, but Hidalgo argued that plundering was a right of war especially for the oppressed poor. Allende was put in charge of the army, and Hidalgo agreed to urge moderation. They went to Celaya on  September 19 and threatened to execute their Spanish prisoners; the town surrendered but was pillaged two days later. They elected Hidalgo Captain-general of America, Allende lieutenant general, and Juan de Aldama mariscal de campo. They left Celaya on the 23rd with 25,000 rebels.
      The next day the elected Bishop Manuel Abad y Queipo of Michoacan excommunicated Hidalgo, Allende, and Aldama, and the Archbishop of Mexico confirmed that on October 11. Abad believed they could win their independence from Spain without violence and that economic opportunity could be created by educating people. The Viceroy sent General Cadena with 3,000 troops to defend Querétaro. Hidalgo sent Jose Antonio Torres to lead the revolution in Jalisco.
      Intendant Juan Antonio Riaño decided to defend the wealthy mining city of Guanajuato which had 66,000 people in 1800. Their occupying the granary fortress with 500 Spaniards and wealthy creoles turned the common people against them. On September 28, 1810 the attackers killed 300 Spaniards including Riaño as about 2,000 of the rebels died. Hidalgo advocated seizing Europeans and their property, though he ordered the houses of married Spaniards not to be sacked. On the 30th he prohibited pillaging on pain of death, but he did not enforce it, fearing he would lose his followers. Yet when looters would not stop tearing down wrought iron from balconies and windows, Hidalgo ordered soldiers to fire on them.
      On October 5 Viceroy Venegas offered a reward of 10,000 pesos for the capture or death of Hidalgo, Allende, or Aldama. He also announced the end of Indian tribute which the Spanish regency had decreed in May. Hidalgo’s army gained arms and recruits growing to about sixty thousand as they took Valladolid unopposed on October 15,  then Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi. However, they did not get the support they expected from the Valley of Anahuac and the central regions.
      While General Félix Maria Calleja’s Spanish army was reconquering San Luis Potosi, on October 30 Allende led Hidalgo’s army of 80,000 revolutionaries toward Mexico City that was defended by 7,000 soldiers led by Col. Torcuato Trujillo at the Monte de las Cruces. Trujillo’s army was surrounded, but he managed to escape with a few followers to Mexico City to tell the Viceroy they were victorious. Mexico City had about 150,000 people, but about 20,000 were homeless. Hidalgo was concerned that his men would plunder in the capital, and he marched his army back toward Guanajuato. He avoided a battle against Calleja’s forces at Aculco on November 7 and lost their baggage, livestock, and artillery, and the defeat caused thousands of Indians to desert.
      Hidalgo and Allende quarreled and separated. Hidalgo went to Valladolid while Allende at Guanajuato was attacked by Calleja’s army on November 24. The Spaniards had only four men killed while the rebels lost about 1,500 men and 20 cannons. Allende fled to San Luis Potosi, and the inhabitants murdered 138 Spanish prisoners (gachupines). Calleja entered Guanajuato, erected gallows, and had several groups of citizens put to death. About 500 Spaniards had died and nearly 2,000 of Hidalgo’s followers. The Viceroy ordered all rebels captured with weapons to be shot within fifteen minutes. Calleja promised to kill four citizens for every Spaniard killed. Hidalgo secretly ordered sixty Spaniards executed in Valladolid.
      Torres led a force of creole rebels that had taken Guadalajara on November 11 without plundering, and Hidalgo’s army of 7,000 was warmly welcomed in Guadalajara on the 27th. In Mexico City about twenty creole professionals organized to provide arms and propaganda. In Guadalajara  they captured one of the viceroyalty’s four printing presses and began publishing the newspaper El Despertador Americano. On November 29 in his first printed decree Hidalgo abolished the Indian tribute and slavery on pain of death, though in Mexico peon labor had become preferred by most landowners.
      On 5 December 1810 Hidalgo ordered that lands taken illegally from Indian communities were to be returned so that they would not have to pay rent. He also tolerated pillaging, and the creole officer Ignacio de Aldama warned him that the Indians were out of control. Bishop Abad y Queipo and other Church authorities condemned the plundering. Hidalgo made the criminal Agustin Marroquin a captain, and on December 12 he began killing Spanish prisoners at night, executing about 350 in the next month. Hidalgo threatened to kill anyone who spoke against or opposed the rebellion. Doña Maria Josefa Ortiz Dominguez sent Hidalgo a letter warning him that terror would only cause more terror. Hidalgo appointed Jose Maria Chico president of the Audiencia as “Minister of Grace and Justice.” At the Audiencia’s second meeting on December 13 they sent Pascasio Ortiz de Letona to the United States as ambassador, but the US Government prohibited aiding the rebels and only sold munitions at very high prices.
      Hidalgo gained many recruits in December and had a horde of 80,000 followers at the bridge of Calderon, but Calleja’s army of 6,000 men was supported by 2,000 infantry under General Jose de la Cruz and landowners in the north, and they routed Hidalgo’s revolutionaries on 17 January 1811. The royalists lost less than fifty men while the rebels had at least 1,200 killed. Hidalgo and others fled to the north while Calleja occupied Zacatecas.
      Allende took command and had Hidalgo secretly put under arrest. Allende sent Ignacio Aldama and Friar Juan de Salazar with a hundred bars of silver to Washington, but they were captured in San Antonio, Texas on March 2. They were executed with the captured rebel governor Juan Bautista de las Casas. After Allende refused to make Captain Ignacio Elizondo a general, the latter left the revolution after being in it for six weeks, and by deceiving the rebel chief Mariano Jimenez he captured sixty rebel leaders and other men straggling along a road to get water, killing 40 and taking 893 prisoners. Hidalgo and Allende were captured on March 21. Allende, Hidalgo’s brother Mariano, Juan Aldama, and several others were executed on June 26. Hidalgo’s trial in Chihuahua took longer because the Inquisition first defrocked him for heresy; he was executed on July 31.
      Hidalgo’s Secretary of State Ignacio Rayon had salvaged 300,000 pesos from the Calderon battle and led what was left of his army toward Zacatecas and then to Saltillo on February 24, 1811. From there they went south to Michoacan. Guerrilla bands were led by military caudillos. Rayon wrote to General Calleja in April proposing that they end the civil war by establishing a national junta to govern Mexico in the name of Fernando VII, but Calleja demanded surrender. After notifying Viceroy Venegas, Rayon in August formed a junta in Zitacuaro west of Mexico City. By the end of 1811 several rebel chiefs were operating as independent war lords, and Rayon considered some of them bandits.
      The mestizo priest Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon was born in 1765 in Valladolid (which was later renamed Morelos in his honor). He studied at the College of San Nicolas Obispo while Hidalgo was rector, and he was ordained a priest in 1797. As a parish priest at Caracuaro he earned only 120 pesos a year, and his salary came from taxes on poor villagers. When Bishop Abad ordered him to publish the excommunication of Hidalgo, Allende, and Aldama, Morelos went to talk with Hidalgo on October 20, 1810. He persuaded Morelos that the Spaniards wanted to turn Mexico over to the French, and this motivated him to take up arms. He became a lieutenant under Hidalgo who sent him to conquer Acapulco with only 25 men. Morelos led a more disciplined force that grew as they captured Petatlan and Tecpan on the Pacific coast by November. Morelos also decreed the end of Indian tribute and slavery, but he advocated social equality by abolishing race and caste distinctions, declaring that all the inhabitants except for the Spaniards were to be called “Americans.” Morelos promoted the Medidas Politicas which proposed the redistribution of property. His first goal was to destroy the colonial government and its greed by removing its funds.
      Morelos captured Acapulco except for its fortress in December 1810, but Spanish troops forced him to raise the siege in January 1811. He captured Chilpancingo on May 24 and Tixtla two days later. Morelos won nine victories in his first nine months and had four battalions controlling the southern coast. The future governor Vicente Guerrero was his second in command. By the end of 1811 they had an army of 9,000 trained and equipped men. Morelos appointed officials who collected taxes, and he had soldiers convicted of theft shot. He appreciated the Indian support but sent them back to the fields to feed the troops. His rival Rayon fought in the name of King Fernando VII, but Morelos justified the revolution because the Spaniards had enslaved people for three centuries and squandered Mexico’s wealth. He argued that the nation, not the king, was sovereign. They fought for religion and country in their holy revolution.
      From December to February 1812 the 3,000 men in the army of Morelos captured Taxco, Izucar, and Cuautla near Mexico City, but in January the destruction of Zitacuaro disrupted Rayon’s national junta. Rayon remained president while Morelos was recognized as Captain-general of the American armies. Morelos had more than 4,000 men in Cuautla when they were attacked by Calleja’s royalist forces on February 19. The next week the royalists were reinforced by General Ciriaco de Llano’s troops from Puebla. The royalists began bombarding Cuautla on March 10, and in April corn supplies ran out. On May 2 Morelos led his starving soldiers out of the town; the royalists slaughtered about 3,000 rebels, but Morelos escaped.
      A new Spanish constitution went into effect on 12 March 1812, and Viceroy Venegas learned he was to enforce it on May 10. It allowed the election of city councils that enabled people to replace the elite families that had dominated. Morelos had enough men to take Chilapa, and they besieged Huajapan for 111 days. In September the Guadalupes formed in Mexico City and kept Morelos informed on royalist plans. Limited press freedom was declared in Mexico on October 5, and four days later Fernández de Lizardi published The Mexican Thinker (El Pensador Mexicano). The army of Morelos entered the city of Oaxaca on November 25. Four days later the Guadalupes elected creoles to the Ayuntamiento of Mexico City. Viceroy Venegas charged voting irregularities and suspended elections. He revoked freedom of the press and arrested Lizardi and other writers.
      On 4 March 1813 Calleja replaced Viceroy Venegas, and he tried to implement Spain’s Constitution of 1812 without freedom of the press. He raised money by taxing incomes over 300 pesos a year at 12.5% and taxed urban real estate at 10%. He started a lottery that was voluntary for six months, and then people were forced to buy tickets. The debt of the viceroyalty was 49 million pesos in 1813 and rose to 80 million by 1816. In 1813 only one of six school-age children was in school in Mexico City. That summer a plague took 20,385 lives there. Morelos besieged Acapulco on April 6, but its strong fortress did not fall until August 19. Meanwhile the royalists were destroying resistance in the north. On June 28 Morelos called for a congress, and the Congress of Anahuac began at Chilpancingo on September 14. They endorsed the abolition of slavery on October 5 and formally declared independence as written by Carlos Maria de Bustamente on November 6. Only the Catholic religion was to be tolerated, and anyone refusing to support the war for independence was considered guilty of treason. Morelos wrote Sentimientos de la Nacion to declare Mexican independence and argued that the land belonged to those who tilled it.
      Morelos appealed to the creoles and tried to limit the confiscation of property, but the civil war was bloody. He took his army of 6,000 men to conquer Valladolid which was defended by only 800 royalists, but they were reinforced by Llano’s army of 3,000 and defeated the rebels on 23 December 1813 and killed their prisoners. Morelos also ordered that military prisoners were to be shot., and he approved the destruction of collaborating villages and haciendas. The Congress of Anahuac was on the run, and Rayon persuaded them to remove executive authority from Morelos who retained only an escort of 150 men. Rayon shared military power with Jose Maria Cos and Juan Nepomuceno Rosains. On February 24, 1814 royalists attacked the Congress at Tlacotepec and seized the archives and correspondence with the Guadalupes. Morelos went to Acapulco in March and ordered it evacuated and burned to the ground. In April the rebels were driven out of Oaxaca as the royalists regained control of southern Mexico.
      Fernando VII was restored in March 1814, and in May he cancelled the Constitution of 1812 and all legislation of the Cortes. Viceroy Calleja learned of Fernando’s return on August 5 and dismissed all elected officials and their laws. He had hundreds of Mexicans found with arms shot by firing squads. The rebels had called another constitutional convention for June at Apatzingan in Michoacan. On October 22 they created the liberal Constitution of Apatzingan with a plural executive, a strong legislature, and a judiciary protecting individual rights, though Morelos considered it impractical. The royalist government ordered all copies burned, and the Inquisition threatened to excommunicate anyone caught with a copy of this constitution.
      In the summer of 1815 the insurgents in Veracruz broke away from the authority of Rosains and defeated him. In October the Congress dismissed Cos, and he was subsequently imprisoned. The Congress fled east to Tehuacan guarded by an army of 1,000 led by Morelos. While they were fighting a rearguard action, Congress escaped; but Morelos was captured on November 5 and was taken to the capital. He was convicted of heresy and treason and was shot on December 22. The Congress made it to Tehuacan, but they quarreled with the commander Manuel de Mier y Teran who on December 15 arrested the leaders and dissolved the Congress.
      Juan Ruiz de Apodaca replaced Calleja as viceroy on 16 September 1816 after surviving an insurgent attack on his way from Veracruz to the capital. He changed Calleja’s policy of terror to reconciliation and reduced the war taxes. Thousands of rebels accepted his offer of amnesty though Vicente Guerrero continued to resist in the south. Most creoles had sided with the royalists and gained positions in the army and the administration. Also in 1816 Fernández de Lizardi published his novel El Periquillo Sarniento (The Mangy Parrot) in chapters as weekly installments. The fictional narrative of the current political and social problems evaded censorship until the fourth volume directly attacked slavery.

Mexican Independence & Iturbide 1817-23

      By 1817 Mexico’s revolution against Spain had been crushed in much of the country including Veracruz, Puebla, Mexico, Mizteca, and Tecpan. Liberal offers of pardon reduced much of the fighting. Young Francisco Javier Mina led 300 men to Fort Sombrero, and he published a letter that he was fighting against a tyrannical king, not Spain. On July 30 Marshal Pascual Liñán besieged them with an army of 4,000 men. In fighting to escape many were killed and captured, but Mina got away with some and went to Fort Remedios to support José Antonio Torres. On October 27 sentries were surprised, and Mina was captured and shot on November 11. More than 400 men were taken as prisoners with women and children.
      In 1818 Padre Torres tried and failed to relieve Jaujilla and alienated many by taking private property and burning villages and haciendas. By 1820 most of New Spain had been pacified, and the revolution had been reduced to where Pedro Ascensio held out on the hill in Goleta and General Vicente Guerrero occupied the banks of the Mescala.
      In 1820 Spain’s liberal Constitution of 1812 was restored, and King Fernando VII decreed the release of all political prisoners. News of revolutionary activity in Spain reached Mexico in April. New Spain’s Viceroy Juan Ruiz de Apodaca revived freedom of the press on June 17, and on October 13 he liberated prisoners in Mexico. The priest Francisco Severo Maldonado supported the 1812 Constitution. He believed in the brotherhood of the human family and advocated universal free education.
      Col. Agustín de Iturbide had fought against revolutionaries led by Morelos who was captured and executed in 1815. In 1816 Iturbide was relieved of his command because of corruption and cruelty. In November 1820 Viceroy Apodaca reinstated him, and Iturbide asked and got more forces and money to go after Vicente Guerrero’s insurgents. By December he had 2,479 men; but instead of attacking, Iturbide secretly invited Guerrero to meet him on 4 February 1821, and he persuaded Guerrero to join him with his 1,200 armed men. Then on the 24th Iturbide issued his printed “Plan of Iguala” proclaiming the independence of New Spain governed by a junta with an army that would protect the following three guarantees: a constitutional monarchy, citizenship for all inhabitants, and the secular and regular clergy.
      Viceroy Apodaca opposed this and began mobilizing an army of up to 5,000 men. The Masonic Order favored a constitutional system and was influential. On March 12 Iturbide left Iguala. While many of his troops were deserting, he went to Teloloapan. There he met with Guerrero before going on to Guanajuato where he proclaimed independence. Anastasio Bustamente joined his cause on March 19, increasing independence forces to 6,000. Lt. Col. José Joaquin de Herrera accepted the Iguala Plan, and on April 1 his forces occupied Cordoba. Iturbide reached Valladolid on May 12. One week later the commandant Quintanar came over to independence, and the next day the garrison of 600 men capitulated. Captain Santa Anna’s force captured the town of Alvarado, and they entered Jalapa on May 29. The city of San Pedro supported the Iguala Plan in June as did most of Nueva Galicia. On July 5 royalists led by Brigadier Buceli forced Viceroy Apodaca to resign. Troops deserted General José de la Cruz and went to Zacatecas which proclaimed independence.
      Juan O'Donojú arrived at Veracruz on August 3 as the new Viceroy, and he proclaimed liberal principles. Iturbide had entered the city of Puebla on August 2, and three days later he declared national independence. O'Donojú learned that Iturbide had an army of 30,000 men with almost all the garrisons. On the 24th at Cordoba they made a treaty based on the Iguala Plan for a Mexican Empire. Pedro Celestino Negrete led independence fighters and fought Juan de la Cruz Mourgeón’s army at Durango for three weeks until the city surrendered on August 31; Mourgeón was allowed to take his army to embark for Spain at Veracruz. The royalist Arredondo lost his command and left for Havana.
      On September 22 the Regency Junta was formed with Iturbide, O'Donojú, José Isidro Yáñez and three others, but O'Donojú died on October 8. Iturbide and the Army of the Three Guarantees entered Mexico City on September 27, and the Junta was installed the next day. All of Mexico had been liberated except for Veracruz, Perote, and Acapulco. Iturbide divided Mexico into five parts under captain-generals Bustamente, Negrete, Guerrero, and two others. Also on the 27th Santa Anna moved his forces into Veracruz, and that day their council recognized independence.
      On November 6 the Regency Junta proposed a congress with two chambers—one with deputies representing the church, the military, and the city councils with the other having one representative for every 50,000 people. The murder of a Spaniard trying to leave Mexico led to more trying to get passports, and on 9 January 1822 Iturbide suspended issuing passports until congress should act. Later they decided that each province should be represented by only one clergyman, one military officer, and one magistrate or lawyer, and they made it compulsory to have the agricultural, mining, and commercial classes represented. On the 26th Iturbide had 17 eminent people arrested for urging more liberal elections. The government had little money and was paying high salaries. Iturbide was rewarded with one million pesos and was granted 20 leagues of land in Texas, and his annual salary was 120,000 pesos. Commerce with Spain had stopped, and treaties had not yet been made with other nations.
      After the elections the Congress was installed on 24 February 1822. The Bourbonists wanted a constitutional government under a king from that European dynasty; the Iturburdists one under Iturbide; and the Republicans preferred a federal republic. On February 13 the Spanish government had decreed that the treaty of Cordoba was illegal, and that led to the Bourbonists dividing to join the other two parties. The government was broke, and the Congress reduced military and civil salaries by up to 20%. Republicans wanted the size of the army reduced, but Iturbide intended to keep it at 35,900 men plus provincial militia and civic companies. On March 11 the Congress decreed that the Regency could decide on finances.
      General Nicolás Dávila hoped to restore Spanish rule. On April 2 he sent a letter to Iturbide, and Col. Buceli led the regiment of Ordenes to Xuchi; but Anastasio Bustamente’s force defeated them and took prisoners to the capital. On the 3rd the Congress declined to meet with Iturbide without the Junta Regents. He and José Isidro Yáñez called each other traitors. On the 11th three members of the Junta were replaced by Nicolás Bravo and two others while Iturbide and Yáñez were retained. On May 6 the Congress read an address from the 11th regiment that they had taken the oath of loyalty to the Congress; but they also abhorred monarchy and preferred republics as in South America. In response on the 18th the Congress approved an army of 20,000 men. An infantry regiment shouted for Iturbide to be emperor, and a large crowd gathered in the capital and did the same. The next day the Congress invited Iturbide, and they voted without a quorum 67-15 to elect him emperor. On May 31 he appointed a Council of State. Many European monarchists left the country. Congress in June decreed the monarchy hereditary and declared his son the imperial prince. Emperor Iturbide was crowned with great ceremony and fake jewels on July 21. On August 13 he founded the honorary Order of Guadalupe to reward the meritorious in the military and others.
      The priest Pablo Servando Mier had returned to Congress on July 15 after having been detained by Dávila. Mier satirized Emperor Iturbide and the government and argued for republican government. The monarchist El Sol and the republican El Hombre Libre newspapers were suppressed. On August 26 the Emperor had 19 deputies arrested including Mier. Felipe de la Garza had become governor of Nuevo Santander (Tamaulipas) on August 5, and on September 16 he issued a pronunciamiento (plan) opposing Iturbide, but ten days later he fled to Monterrey. On September 25 deputy Lorenzo de Zavala argued that the Congress was illegal because it had not been divided into two chambers. On the 28th Treasury Secretary Antonio Medina presented his report estimating the year’s deficit at 2,826,630 pesos, but by the end of the year it was over four million.
      Iturbide and his council urged reducing the number of deputies to seventy. After Congress rejected his demands for this, for veto power, and for a police force, the Emperor dissolved the Congress on October 31. Two days later Iturbide installed an institute with 45 members selected from the deputies. On November 5 they ordered a forced loan of $2,800,000, and Iturbide ordered seizing money about to be shipped to Spain. The government ended the castas system of racial identities making all equal, but native tribes lost their legal protection of communal property. Mexican ports were opened to other nations as trade restrictions were ended. Taxes were reduced, and the government forced the Church to loan them money. In 1822 food prices increased making it difficult for Mexico City with 155,000 people, Puebla with 60,000, Guadalajara with 50,000, and others.
      General Antonio López de Santa Anna had tried to take over Ulúa on October 26 but had failed. Iturbide wanted to remove him from his command at Veracruz; but the Emperor had alienated Spaniards at Jalapa by taking their money, and he had little support. Santa Anna, who governed Veracruz, complained that Iturbide had not kept his promises, and on December 2 he declared Veracruz a republic. In early January 1823 Mexico recognized the independence of Central America. The generals Guerrero, Bravo, and Guadalupe Victoria also revolted against Iturbide, and Santa Anna joined them. General Echávarri was given troops to put down Santa Anna’s revolt, but on February 1 he and 33 cohorts declared the Casa Mata Plan that called for a constituent assembly to establish a republic. Many troops deserted the capital, and on the 23rd the 9th and 11th regiments liberated those imprisoned by the Inquisition including Mier and Col. Eulogio Villa Urrutia whom they named their chief. On the same day Jalisco issued a federalist plan.
      Iturbide ordered the Congress to meet on 7 March 1823, but only 58 gathered. The junta at Puebla would not recognize them. On the 19th in the chamber Navarrete read Iturbide’s hand-written abdication. He promised to leave the country and asked for his debts to be paid. Congress canceled the Iguala Plan and the Cordoba treaty so that Iturbide would have no authority. Bravo escorted him away, and that day the Liberty Army entered the capital. Iturbide was taken to Veracruz, and he left Mexico on 11 May and went to Italy. He crossed Europe to London, and fearing a Spanish attack on Mexico he came back; but five days after landing he was captured and executed by a firing squad on 19 July 1824.

Mexico of Victoria & Guerrero 1823-31

      On 29 March 1823 the Congress had its first quorum with 103 deputies that made it legitimate, and they elected Bravo, Victoria, and Pedro Celestino Negrete as the executives of the provisional government. Mariano Michelena substituted for Victoria while he was in Veracruz. The triumvirate appointed Lucas Alamán minister of foreign and internal relations, Pablo de la Llave for justice and the church, and Francisco de Arrillaga for the treasury. The provisional government had only $42, and they ordered selling tobacco and cigars from government warehouses and the property of Jesuits, Hospitallers, and the Inquisition. They also borrowed $32 million from two firms in England, but they received only about 12 million pesos and spent much of it preparing for an invasion by Spaniards.
      On April 4 commissioners from Oaxaca, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Valladolid, and Guanajuato asked for a new congress, and delegates from Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Texas had formed a junta and wanted a federal union with Mexico. On the 14th the government approved the Mexican flag in green, white, and red representing the three guarantees with an eagle eating a snake. Guadalajara wanted to recall Iturbide, and they were led by Quintanar and Anastasio Bustamante. Bravo and Negrete led an army of 2,000 men and headed toward Guadalajara. In Nueva Galicia they persuaded Colima to leave Guadalajara to become a federal territory. Absent Bravo and Negrete were replaced by Miguel Domínguez and Vicente Guerrero. The Congress gave military courts jurisdiction on cases of rebellion and robbery on public highways.
      The republicans divided into a conservative Centralist party of former monarchists led by Manuel de Mier y Terán and Carlos Bustamante. The liberal Federalists had supported Iturbide and wanted a constitution like the United States. The Scottish Rite Masons supported the Centralists, and the York Rite Masons favored the Federalists. On 5 June 1823 Santa Ana announced a federalist plan for San Luis Potosí. On the 17th rules were made for national elections, and a constituent assembly began meeting on November 7. The Federalist deputy Miguel Ramos Arizpe was elected president of the constitutional committee, and on 31 January 1824 the Constitutive Act was adopted. A revolt started in the capital on the 23rd led by General José María Lobato spread to Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Guadalajara, and Querétaro, but they were quelled. General Echávarri was replaced in Puebla by Gómez Pedrasa. Guerrero pacified Cuernavaca and Cuautla in the south. A plot led by Lt. Basiliso Valdés on the night of May 28 was discovered, and he was arrested and executed. A tax collector was murdered while traveling to Oaxaca. Victoria went to quell the movement and learned of a Spanish fleet arriving to reinforce San Juan de Ulúa, and he sent troops to Veracruz in August. By mid-year Chiapas, Oaxaca, Yucatán, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, Coahuila, and especially Jalisco had declared themselves sovereign.
      As each article of the Constitution was passed, it was enacted as a law. This constitution was similar to the USA Constitution except that Roman Catholicism was made the religion of the Mexican nation, and Supreme Court judges were to be elected by state legislatures. Torture was banned.
      The liberal priest, lawyer, historian, and politician José María Luis Mora influenced and criticized this constitution and its implementation over the years until his death in 1850. Mora was influenced by the French philosophers Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Benjamin Constant, and he admired Spain’s Constitution of 1812. On 13 March 1822 he published his essay “The Supreme Civil Authority Is Not Unlimited.” He spent his last sixteen years in Paris but sent his writing to Mexico. He favored the government taking over land the Church owned but did not use except for income, and he urged giving municipal governments more responsibility.
      The Election Law was passed on 13 July 1824. That month another law allowed ships to prey on Spanish commerce. The army besieging San Juan de Ulúa was reinforced, and the commander Coppinger would capitulate on 18 November 1825. On 1 September 1824 Guadalupe Victoria was elected President and Nicolás Bravo Vice President, and they began serving on October 9. The republic called itself Los Estados Unidos de Mexicanos. Chiapas had voted in September to be part of Mexico instead of Guatemala. The other states were Chihuahua, Coahuila and Texas, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla de los Angeles, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sonora and Sinaloa (Occidente), Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatán, and Zacatecas. The two Californias, Colima, and New Mexico were accepted as territories, and Tlascala became a territory on November 24. On December 24 the Congress granted amnesty for political offenses, but they authorized the President to expel dangerous foreigners. The first constitutional Congress began on 1 January 1825. Jalisco had issued its constitution on November 18, and every other state except Mexico and Coahuila-Texas produced constitutions in 1825.
      Declarations by Britain and the United States warned European powers not to interfere in Mexico. In September the liberal Yorkinos brought about the resignation of the conservative Alamán, and by late 1826 the Yorkinos and federalists controlled the cabinet with Finance Minister José Ignacio Esteva, Justice Minister Miguel Ramos Arizpe, War Minister Manuel Gómez Pedraza, and Foreign Relations Minister Juan José Espinosa. Britain agreed to a treaty of friendship and commerce that Mexico ratified on 27 October 1827. In January 1827 the friar Joaquin Arenas, a counterfeiter, had urged the federal district’s commandant Ignacio Mora to restore Spanish government. Mora told President Victoria, and the friar and others were arrested. The generals Echávarri and Negrete were imprisoned on March 22. Old Spaniards were involved, and several men were sentenced to death. Many officers were demoted, and others were punished. Echávarri and Negrete were banished. Veracruz dismissed Spanish officials, and Jalisco expelled them. On December 20 the national Congress expelled all Spaniards. On the 5th a Mexican fleet had sailed from Veracruz and captured Spanish merchant ships near Cuba. Spain sent men-of-war vessels, and they fought Mexican ships on 11 February 1828. On January 12 the republic of Mexico had made a treaty with the United States confirming the Sabine River as the eastern border of Texas.
      A Yaqui named Juan Banderas wanted an independent state, and some Opatas and Lower Pimas joined him in 1825. He led about 2,000 warriors using bows and arrows, and by early 1826 they controlled the settlements in the lower Yaqui and May valleys. They were opposed by Mexicans and 200 Yaquis who defeated them south of Hermosillo. In 1827 Banderas submitted to the Mexican state assuming that the Yaquis would have their own local government. They were pardoned, and he was appointed captain-general of the Yaquis region. In 1828 the government of the Occidente (Sonora and Sinaloa) enacted laws that put the Yaquis under Buenavista, and land distribution to individuals was mandated. In 1832 the Opatas and Yaquis revolted again with the Lower Pimas of the Yaqui River and were led by Banderas and Dolores Gutierrez, but the Mexicans subdued them. Apache raiding became intense in 1831 and extended to Hermosillo in 1833. An Apache chief was captured and put to death in 1834, and Mexico offered a bounty of $100 for an Apache scalp.
      The moderate General Manuel Gómez Pedraza was elected President in September, and on the 12th Guerrero’s partisans led by Santa Anna revolted in Veracruz. Santa Anna refused to lay down arms and fled to Oaxaca where he was besieged on November 14. On October 25 the federal Congress had banned secret societies including the Masons.  Lorenzo de Zavala led a rebellion that broke out at La Acordada barracks in Mexico City on November 30, and troops were withdrawn from Oaxaca. Two days later Guerrero joined the Acordada rebels. Pedrasa fled the next day to Guadalajara, and Congress and the administration abandoned President Victoria by December 5. Pedrasa sailed to London in March 1829.
      On 1 January 1829 the Congress had assembled, and they elected the Afro-Mestizo General Guerrero President with Anastasio Bustamante as Vice President. Guerrero hated monarchy and believed in independence and the federal system with popular representation. He supported the expulsion of Spaniards and aimed for more equality. On July 6 a Spanish force with 3,000 men led by Brigadier Isidro Barradas sailed from Havana, and on 27th they landed 36 miles from Pueblo Viejo. They occupied undefended Tampico, but many Spaniards died of yellow fever. The Mexicans led by Santa Anna and Mier y Terán attacked Tampico on August 21 and were repulsed; but the Spaniards lacked provisions, and a siege caused them to surrender on September 11. Spaniards were allowed to return to Havana. The Spanish reconquest had failed, but it cost Mexico many lives and $1,500,000.
      President Victoria had liberated some slaves that were purchased on 16 September 1825, and four years later Guerrero decreed the total abolition of slavery. The state of Coahuila and Texas had about a thousand slaves and refused to enforce the edict. Treasury Minister Zavala led the cabinet, but on 6 August 1829 the Congress accused him of several crimes along with the cabinet officers José Manuel Herrera and Francisco Moctezuma.
      On 25 August 1829 the Congress had given Guerrero special powers to defend against the Spanish invasion. Even though he did not abuse them, a coalition of states opposed his administration and ignored federal authority. The Americans were told to recall their minister Poinsett, and Guerrero accepted Zavala’s resignation on November 2. Vice President Bustamante knew that Melchor Múzquiz and José Antonio Facio were plotting to overthrow the government. On November 9 Yucatán’s Governor José Tiburcio López declared that his state seceded from the union, and one week later the garrison of Campeche demanded the dissolution of the federal government. On December 4 Vice President Bustamante, who commanded the largest military division, denounced Guerrero’s dictatorship and claimed he was restoring constitutional order. Many of the rebels objected to Guerrero’s race. After learning of Jalapa’s defection Guerrero summoned Congress, and on the 11th he resigned his dictatorial powers. Then he left the capital with more than 2,000 soldiers. Treasury Minister Bocanegra was acting president when the palace and citadel were attacked on December 22 and surrendered to General Luis Quintanar. The rebels gave Quintanar, Lucas Alamán, and Pedro Velez executive authority. Guerrero resigned the presidency on the 25th and fled south with fifty cavalry. Mexico’s commander Quintanar announced that Vice President Bustamante was taking power. By the end of the year every state except Veracruz accepted Bustamante’s plan. Then Santa Anna, who commanded the army of Veracruz, recognized Bustamante’s authority.
      On the first day of 1830 Vice President Bustamante claimed the executive, and six days later he formed a Centralist (conservative) cabinet with Alamán, Facio, and two others. He repudiated the acts of Guerrero on 4 February 4. Juan Álvarez led a revolt and was supported by Col. Codallos, and they took over Acapulco on March 16. Eight days later mass arrests were made in Mexico City for an alleged conspiracy. Those at Acapulco withstood an attack and killed General Armijo near Texca on August 30. Guerrero raised an army by the end of the year, but they were defeated on 2 January 1831 near Chilpancingo. Guerrero boarded an Italian ship at Acapulco, but Captain Piluga sold him to the Mexican government for $50,000. A court martial convicted him of several crimes against the new government, and a firing squad executed Guerrero on February 14. Five days later El Federalista called his execution “judicial murder.” The opposition faded away as Álvarez submitted to Bustamante’s government.
      Mexico’s conservative government banned the sale of periodicals from outside the city on March 31, and heavy fines imposed on El Federalista caused it to shut down on April 23. Vicente Rocafuerte began publishing El Fénix de la Libertad in December and managed to survive the fines. Most members of the national Congress supported the conservative government, and both the Congress and the judiciary were plagued by corruption.

Mexican California 1810-31

      In 1810 some mission Indians in California were killed by an unconverted tribe in Suisun, and Gabriel Moraga with 17 men in May attacked 120 natives. They captured eighteen wounded but let them go because they were dying. The others took refuge in three huts and were killed. Moraga was promoted to lieutenant, and in other expeditions his reputation made violence less necessary. On October 19 he left the San José mission and went east to look for mission Indians who had run away. He captured 81 natives but released the 51 women. In November 1811 the San Gabriel mission reported that 800 Yumas were planning to destroy the mission. Reinforcements were sent, and no attack occurred. No supply ship came to California in 1811.
      On 22 May 1812 Governor Arrillaga wrote several letters complaining that troops were suffering because no supplies had come for two years. No Spanish supply ship came in 1813 either, and commandants wrote to the Governor that the troops were destitute. He passed on their complaints to the Viceroy. The Flora and Tagle from Lima brought goods to barter. During the revolution in Mexico defenses were strengthened; but no new missions were added except at San Rafael as a branch of San Francisco. The Tagle brought another cargo of merchandise in 1814, and the Santa Eulalia sold goods to the presidios. Governor Arrillaga died of illness at Soledad Mission on July 24. Captain José Arguello at Santa Barbara was the senior officer and acted as governor. He forwarded orders to Kuskof at Ross that the Russian settlement was to be abandoned.
      Viceroy Calleja appointed Lt. Col. Pablo Vicente de Sola to be governor of California on the last day of 1814, and he took the oath at Guadalajara on March 31; but he did not arrive at Monterey until August 30. The ship Paz y Religion did not bring supplies, and he found the soldiers destitute. The British ship Columbia arrived; though he had no permission to trade, soldiers persuaded Governor Sola to barter for $7,000 worth of supplies. No ships came from Lima in 1816.
      Lt. Col. Pablo Vicente de Sola governed Alta (Upper) California 1815-22. In early 1817 he reported that their defense capabilities would not enable them to expel the Russian intruders without large reinforcements. Russian trade had re-opened after a hiatus of one year. Sola sent another report to Viceroy Apodaca on 3 April 1818 in which he estimated that the “white” (European) population of California was 3,000, but there were more than 22,000 natives. On November 21 the Argentine pirate Hippolyte Bouchard attacked Monterey with about 200 men and took over the fort for six days while Governor Sola led a retreat to a rancho that later became Salinas. The Bouchard raid did damage estimated at $5,000. They went to Refugio, and on December 6 he reached Santa Barbara and exchanged his prisoner, the drunk Molina, for three prisoners. In January 1819 Apodaca sent two ships with troops and munitions for California, but that year not one ship brought any trading goods. On May 29 a band of 22 Amajavas (Mojaves) came to San Buenaventura to trade with neophytes who had been converted. The soldiers refused to let them do so, and in the fight they killed ten Amajavas and one neophyte. In 1820 five Spanish ships and four Russian ones visited California.
      In March 1821 Governor Sola learned of the independence of Mexico from Spain, and members of his junta were the first to take the oath on April 11, soon followed by others at Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and San Diego. On May 21 the electors chose Sola to be their deputy in the Mexican Cortes, and the electors met at Monterey and elected themselves for the province on November 9. Then they elected Captain Luis Arguello to replace Sola as governor in 1822, and the capital remained at Monterey.
      The Chumash natives had to work to feed the Mexican soldiers, and many felt they gained little in return. On 21 February 1824 the flogging of a neophyte at the Santa Inés mission provoked a revolt by 554 Chumash. The priest and soldiers held out in a building, and Mexican soldiers arrived the next day from the Santa Barbara presidio. They trapped the Chumash rebels in the neophytes’ housing which they set on fire to force them out. They killed 15 Chumash women and children and four men; only one Mexican soldier died. Most of the Chumash fled to the missions at Santa Barbara and La Purísima where about 720 Chumash joined the revolt and captured the latter mission. After three days the Chumash released the families of the soldiers. About 550 more Chumash helped fortify the mission. In the fighting one Chumash man was killed along with four traveling Mexicans including José Dolores Sepúlveda.
      At the same time the Chumash took over the Santa Barbara mission. Some Chumash men left with the women and children. Others fought the soldiers who came from the nearby presidio and killed two Chumash and wounded three while four soldiers were wounded. When the soldiers retreated to the presidio, the Chumash left for the hills. About 400 Chumash warriors stayed at La Purísima. On March 16 about a hundred Mexican soldiers attacked the Chumash there, killing 16 Chumash and wounding even more while suffering only three casualties. Many Chumash stopped working to produce food for the missions. Friar Ripoli wrote to Governor Arguello asking him to pardon the rebels, and on May 16 he did so except for those already convicted by military tribunals. Chumash leaders accepted the pardon on June 11, and almost all the natives returned to the missions.
      José María de Echeandía governed California 1825-31, and in 1829 Manuel Victoria was sent to govern Baja California. The natives Vicente Juan and Gaspar from the Soledad Mission began asking the Governor for their freedom in 1826. That year Echeandía arrested and banished Jedediah Smith to deter Americans from coming to California. Smith bought domesticated horses in California for $10 each and sold them at the annual mountain rendezvous for $50. Other mountain men such as Peg-leg Smith, Old Bill Williams, Joseph Reddeford Walker, Jim Beckwourth, and Jean Baptiste Chalifoux began stealing horses in California.
      Echeandía refused to expel Spaniards such as the priest José Barona from the San Juan Capistrano mission in 1828. That year he ordered officers to compel parents to send their children to schools, and in 1829 Alta California had 11 primary schools with 339 students. Soldiers went unpaid for years, and in December 1829 Joaquin Solis led a revolt by soldiers from San Francisco and San José who marched to Monterey; but their army was eventually defeated at Santa Barbara. Solis was captured in early February 1830. Mexico used California as a place to punish criminals, and in February 1830 they sent 80 prisoners from Acapulco to San Diego. Some were shipped to Santa Cruz island with cattle and fish-hooks, and others were forced to work for private employers. Fifty more were sent in July, and they worked for local officials. Echeandía’s secularization plan was approved by the deputies in August and was to transform the missions into pueblos. He decreed secularization on 6 January 1831, though it was considered illegal.
      Manuel Victoria had been appointed political chief of Alta California on 8 March 1830, and he began governing the territory on 31 January 1831. Narciso Duran had managed the San José Mission for many years, and in June he became the Father-President of the California missions. As all the missions except Santa Barbara were secularized, he moved to that mission. Victoria banished the opposition leader, José María Padrés, to the San Blas islands in October. On November 29 the senior vocal of the diputación (council), Pio Pico, with José Antonio Carrillo and Juan Bandini signed California’s first pronunciamiento, and they persuaded Echeandía to lead the movement. They defeated Victoria’s forces at Cahuenga Pass near Los Angeles on December 5, and the seriously wounded Victoria was banished the next day.

Northern Mexico & Texas 1810-31

      On 14 February 1810 the Spanish Central Junta decreed elections for the Cortes, and the province of New Mexico was entitled to one deputy. The mayors and other leaders met at Santa Fé on August 11, and they chose Pedro Bautista Pino and gave him instructions. He left in October and was the first native-born New Mexican to visit Spain. During his years there Pino completed a report on New Mexico for the Cortes in November 1812. He considered the system of treaties and gifts a successful new Indian policy. He requested more military support and a reorganization so that citizen soldiers would be paid. He asked for New Mexico to have its own bishop with a college and a school system supported by tithes. He complained that the Guadalajara Audiencia was too far away for legal cases and asked for one at Chihuahua.
      When the revolt began in 1810, Jose Antonio Torres led the uprising in New Galicia and took over the province. Gomez Portugal planned an expedition into the northwest province of Sinaloa. The Dominican Francisco de la Parra helped organized this, and Jose Maria Gonzalez Hermosillo was put in command. On December 1 the expedition left Guadalajara with 1,600 infantry and 200 cavalry. On the 17th the revolutionaries arrived at the mining town of Rosario where Col. Villaescusa had 1,000 men. The next morning they drove the royalists from their entrenchments into their houses, and they surrendered before sunset. Hermosillo took over San Sebastian and Mazatlan and seized property from the Spaniards in order to move on to Cosala.
      Villaescusa had been released on parole, but he fortified San Ignacio de Piastla and waited for reinforcements from the Intendant of Sonora. Hermosillo went there with an army grown to 4,125 infantry and 476 cavalry, and they camped on the hill overlooking Piastla on 29 January 1811. While looking for a ford the friar Parra was captured and taken to Durango, but he had destroyed his documents and later escaped. Hermosillo found a ford, and they attacked on February 8; but the royalists had been reinforced and used their batteries to defeat the revolutionaries and captured the baggage and provisions at their camp before regaining the province including Mazatlan and Rosario. News of Hidalgo’s defeat in New Galicia caused the rest to disperse.
      News of the rebellion in Mexico came to Texas, and in early January 1811 Governor Manuel de Salcedo told the people of Bexar to pledge their loyalty. Lt. Antonio Saenz had been arrested as a revolutionary emissary from the blacksmith José Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara, and on January 15 Saenz escaped from his cell in the Alamo to join men conspiring to seize Governor Salcedo and Commandant Herrera in order to form a provisional government for the rebels. The plot was discovered, and Salcedo cancelled his expedition with 500 men to the Rio Grande. Captain Juan Bautista Casas was sympathetic to the revolution and had Salcedo and Herrera arrested on January 22. Casas released the revolutionary prisoners in the Alamo and arrested gachupines (Spaniards). He dissolved the Cabildo and formed a council to govern. He sent emissaries to La Bahia and Nacogdoches. Mariano Jiménez appointed Casas a brigadier general and Governor of Texas, and Casas received this news on February 9.
      On 1 March 1811 deacon Juan Manuel Zambrano and nine men persuaded the officer of the night watch to turn over the garrison, and before morning they had organized a new government in support of Fernando VII. When Aldama arrived as Hidalgo’s envoy, he wore a uniform similar to the French. Zambrano used this to persuade people he was from Napoleon, and Aldama was arrested along with Casas. A junta of eleven men was elected by people in San Antonio with Zambrano as president. Aldama was sent to Monclova in Coahuila and was convicted and executed. In late March another plot at Bexar was discovered, and several friends of Casas were sent to Mexico.
      Gutierrez was appointed revolutionary envoy to Washington, and he went with the rebel José Menchaca to Natchitoches in September 1812. Lt. Augustus Magee was a protégé of General Wilkinson, but he was not promoted in three years and resigned on 22 June 1812 to lead a filibustering force that would join Gutierrez to conquer Texas. They crossed the Sabine River on August 8, and 300 retreating Spaniards fled to Trinidad. The rebels captured Nacogdoches and increased their force to 700 men. Magee and other Americans maintained discipline while Gutierrez ate and drank and made wild proclamations. Their republican army captured La Bahia without a fight on November 7, but six days later Salcedo arrived with his army of 1,500 men. That winter Magee became ill, and he died on 6 February 1813. Salcedo’s forces attacked the fortress twice but were repulsed, and they retreated to San Antonio on the 19th.
      Genera Joaquin de Arredondo led a royalist army from Nuevo Santander. Reuben Kemper commanded the republican army of 800, and on March 29 in the battle of Rosillo they routed 1,200 royalists led by General Simon de Herrera. Salcedo camped in the Alamo; but on April 2 he surrendered with 14 officers while 800 men from the royalist army defected to the republicans. About 300 men with some officers escaped from the city of San Antonio. Salcedo and Herrera were charged with bribing Col. Ignacio Elizondo to betray Hidalgo’s army and of executing José Menchaca in San Antonio while spreading a rumor he had been bought off. Salcedo and Herrera and twelve officers were convicted, and soldiers cut their throats on April 5. The next day Gutierrez in San Antonio proclaimed himself President Protector of Texas as part of the republic of Mexico and declared a new constitution. People elected thirteen members to a provisional government. Some Americans at Natchitoches helped Toledo publish the Gaceta de Texas, the first newspaper distributed in Texas.
      On 20 June 1813 Captain Perry led 900 republicans against an equal force under Elizondo by Alizan Creek. After two hours Elizondo and the Spaniards fled. William Shaler urged José Alvarez de Toledo to challenge Gutierrez by taking over the republican army of 400 Americans and 800 Mexicans led by Menchaca. Toledo took command of the army in early August as Gutierrez retired to Natchitoches with three companions and a mule. On August 18 Arredondo and Elizondo with 1,800 men defeated the republican army of 1,400 by the Medina River. More than a thousand men were killed, and only 93 Americans escaped to Natchitoches. Arredondo reported that only 55 royalists were killed. Elizondo let the captured Americans go home to the United States with passports, horses, and one rifle for every five men; but within a week 327 Mexican prisoners were executed. Elizondo searched for rebels in Texas and captured a hundred men and as many women with hundreds of horses, mules, and cattle. The republican revolt in Texas had failed, and on October 10 amnesty was offered to remaining rebels with a few exceptions that included Toledo and Gutierrez for whom $500 was offered. Col. Cayetano Quintero was sent to Nacogdoches and attacked a village of Lipans and seized their household goods. Excursions also attacked other tribes. In 1813 and 1814 Captain Narvona led a campaign against the Apaches. In 1814 Arredondo appointed Cristobal Dominguez to govern the province for Spain.
      Morelos had sent José Manuel de Herrera as minister from the republic of Mexico to the United States, and on 12 September 1816 he and Luis Aury, a former revolutionary from New Granada who had obtained 14 privateer commissions from the fading revolutionary republic in Mexico, set up a local government on the island of Galveston. General Francisco Javier Mina continued guerrilla attacks in Mexico and went to Galveston. Commodore Aury was made military governor of Texas, and on 7 April 1817 Mina and Aury sailed down the coast to invade Mexico. The next day Jean Lafitte set up his own government in Galveston to betray the revolutionaries. Aury took Mina’s army of 250 men under Col. Perry to the Santander River, and they occupied the village of Soto la Marina. Lafitte arrived with his privateers, and they set up a government on April 15 in support of the Mexican republic. Louis Derieux was made governor. Perry disagreed with Mina and left with his 50 men to attack the presidio of La Bahia in Texas, arriving on June 18. They were joined by Texas rebels led by Vicente Travieso but were defeated by Governor Antonio Martinez. Perry shot himself in the head. Aury went to Matagorda Bay. Mina went inland; but in October he was captured, and he was executed on November 11.
      On 22 February 1819 Spain made a treaty that ceded Florida to the United States in exchange for agreement on the Sabine River as the border between Texas in New Spain and the United States. James Long of Tennessee led about 75 men to Nacogdoches, and on June 23 he proclaimed himself president of a supreme council in Texas. He went to Galveston to ask for aid from the buccaneer Lafitte. While he was gone, royalist troops killed some settlers and captured the rest. After New Spain declared its independence, Long invaded and occupied La Bahía del Espíritu Santo; but he and his followers were taken to Mexico as prisoners. After their release Long was murdered in 1822.
      On 17 January 1821 Viceroy Apodaca permitted Moses Austin to bring 300 families from Louisiana to settle on the bank of Rio Brazos in Texas. Moses died in June. His son Stephen F. Austin led the expedition, and he received more grants including one for 800 families. The mostly American colonists settled near San Antonio de Béjar by the Brazos and Colorado rivers. On 13 July 1824 Coahuila and Texas banned the importation of slaves. In December 1826 Fredonians led by Haden Edwards in eastern Texas revolted near Nacogdoches, but in January 1827 Mexican soldiers and militiamen from Austin’s colony forced them to retreat across the Sabine. In 1828 Mier y Teran reported that the Americans from the United States refused naturalization and ignored slave reforms. On 6 April 1830 Mexico’s Centralist government prohibited foreign colonization and suspended contracts. John Austin urged independence, and arms were brought from New York and New Orleans.

      In New Mexico after nearly twenty years of raiding by Navajos, the Hopis asked the Spaniards for help in 1818, and after defeating them the Spaniards made a treaty with the Navajos in 1819. When New Mexico learned on 26 December 1821 that Mexico had become independent, Santa Fe had about 5,000 people. The total population of gente de razon (Hispanic Americans) in New Mexico was then about 30,000, and it would more than double by 1845 while the 10,000 Pueblos diminished a little to a total of nearly 80,000. In the 1820s the Navajos often raided in northwestern New Mexico.
      William Becknell was from Missouri and was trading with natives when Mexican soldiers informed him that they were free of Spanish rule and invited him to go to Santa Fe. He did so and returned home with gold, silver, and furs that made astonishing profits for his investors. Other traders went there and established the Santa Fe Trail. The Mexican republic made New Mexico a territory on 6 July 1824. That year an expedition with 25 wagons with $35,000 in goods came back to Missouri with gold, silver, and furs worth $190,000. Profits soon moderated, and some years had a loss because of damage to goods or Indian attacks. There was trade every year between Santa Fe and Chihuahua from 1822 to 1843 when it reached a sudden peak with 230 wagons.
      In January 1825 they appropriated $30,000 for a road to Chihuahua. Santa Fe had only 119 soldiers in 1824, but in 1826 a Mexican law provided $263,646 for 300 cavalry plus 200 militia. The trade between Missouri and Santa Fe lost 500 horses and mules in 1826 because of hostile “Indians” as they called them, and another party lost more than a thousand animals in 1828. In 1829 Major Riley ordered an escort by four companies of infantry from Fort Leavenworth. In 1830 traders began using oxen.
      The ruler in Santa Fe from 1823 to 1837 was called the “political chief” and after that “governor.” Comanches, Navahos, and Apaches often attacked the Pueblos. In 1829 Antonio Armijo blazed a trail from Santa Fe through what is now Utah to Los Angeles that became known as the Old Spanish Trail. José Antonio Vaca also pioneered the connection with California in 1830.

Texas Revolution in Mexico 1817-36
Texas Republic 1836-44
Americans in New Mexico & Oregon


1. “Journal of a Voyage from China to the Northwestern Coast of America Made in 1804” by William Shaler quoted in California Heritage, p. 106.

Copyright © 2006, 2012, 2021 by Sanderson Beck

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Latin America & Canada 1850-1935

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