Vicente Guerrero

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Guadalupe Victoria

Was a Mexican revolutionary soldier who fought for independence against Spain in the War of Independence and later became the first president of Mexico.

In 1811 he joined the revolution proclaimed by Father Miguel Hidalgo. After his defeat near the town of Palmillas, Veracruz, he remained hidden in the mountains until Agustín de Iturbide won the war and made Mexico independent. He supported General Antonio López de Santa Anna who fought to overthrow the new “Emperor” Iturbide.

He became the first president of Mexico after the overthrow of Emperor Iturbide in October of 1824. Victoria chose his new name for symbolic significance: "Guadalupe" to give thanks to what he claimed was the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and "Victoria", for its meaning in Spanish: 'victory'.

During his Presidency he established the "Colegio Militar" (Mexican Military Academy), and signed treaties with important nations like England and France. He also saw the passage of the Constitution of 1824.

In 1827, Victoria's presidential term was interrupted when his vice president Nicolás Bravo led a revolt against the government to try and take power. However, the rebellion was easily defeated by General Santa Anna working under President Victoria.

Guadalupe Victoria Presidental term ended in April of 1828 and he retired from politics. He died in Veracruz in 1843 and was declared "Benemérito de la Patria" (Hero of the Nation) by the Mexican Congress.

Vicente Guerrero

Guerrero joined in the early revolt against Spain in 1810, he made a name for himself in the battle of Izúcar, in February 1812. Guerrero then joined forces with Guadalupe Victoria against the Spanish.

Once Mexico achieved independence, he at first worked with Agustín de Iturbide, who proposed that the two join forces. After Iturbide was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico by Congress, Guerrero turned against him and came out in favor of a Republic.

When the general Manuel Gómez Pedraza won the election to succeed Guadalupe Victoria as president, Guerrero, with the aid of general Antonio López de Santa Anna staged a coup and Guerrero took the presidency on April 1, 1829. The most notable achievement of Guerrero's short term as president was ordering an immediate abolition of slavery and emancipation of all slaves.

Guerrero was removed from office in a coup by his Vice-President Anastasio Bustamante in December 1829. He left the capital to fight the rebels, and hoped to come back to power, but General Bustamante captured him through bribery and had him executed.

Honors were conferred on surviving members of Guerrero's family, and a pension was paid to his widow. In 1842, Vicente Guerrero's body was returned to Mexico City and laid to rest there.

Anastasio Bustamante

In 1808, he entered the Spanish army as a cavalry officer. In 1810 he led the fight against rebels under Miguel Hidalgo, and Bustamante participated on the Spanish side in many battles during the War of Independence.

In March of 1821, in support of Agustín de Iturbide (his close friend), Bustamante proclaimed the independence of Mexico from Spain at Pantoja, Guanajuato. Iturbide named him commander of the cavalry

After the fall of the Agustín de Iturbide in 1823, he joined with President Guadalupe Victoria who him in command of the Mexican National Guard.

In December 1828 Mexican Congress named him vice-president under President Vicente Guerrero. He took office on in April 1829, but soon was at odds with Guerrero. In December of 1829 he rose against Guerrero, driving him from the capital and eventually executing him. In January 1830 he started his presidency.

In office, Bustamante removed employees he didn’t trust. He instituted a secret police force and stopped Free Press by stopping the newspapers from writing anything he didn’t like. He passed the Law of April 6th 1830. He supported industry and the Catholic Church

These and other policies started opposition to him and his government, especially in the states of Zacatecas and Texas. In 1832 a revolt broke out in Veracruz. The rebels asked and got Antonio López de Santa Anna to take command of the revolving army.

Bustamante left the capital to fight the rebels. After losing some battles, Bustamante, Santa Anna, and Gómez Pedraza, signed the conventions of Zavaleta in December of 1832, which made Gómez Pedraza the president and made him hold new elections for President. Bustamante was to go into exile, which he did in 1833.

Gómez Pedraza

Pedraza was a student at the time of the Grito de Dolores (Cry of Independence) by Miguel Hidalgo in 1810. He enlisted in the Spanish army, becoming a lieutenant and fought the Mexican rebels during the War of Independence. In 1821 he joined with Agustín de Iturbide, who became a close friend. Iturbide made him commander of the Mexico City garrison.

In 1824 he was elected governor and military commander of the Mexican state of Puebla. In 1825 President Guadalupe Victoria made him minister of war and the navy.

He was a candidate for president of Mexico in 1828 in opposition to Vicente Guerrero and actually won the election, however, on December 3, 1828 under military threat by his enemies, including Antonio López de Santa Anna, he renounced his victory and left the country. The election was overturned and Vicente Guerrero assumed the presidency.

He then went to New Orleans, where he stayed and eventually published a book against the government of Anastasio Bustamante.

Gómez Pedraza returned to Mexico in November 1832. The conventions of Zavaleta recognized him as president, and he took office in December of 1832. One of his first official acts was to expel the remaining Spanish citizens from the country. In April of 1833 the Mexican Congress rejected the conventions of Zavaleta and elected Santa Anna president, thus ending Pedraza’s term as President.

Antonio López de Santa Anna

In 1810, the same year that Miguel Hidalgo started Mexico’s war to gain independence from Spain, Santa Anna joined the Spanish Army under Joaquín de Arredondo, who taught him much about dealing with rebels. In 1813, he served in Texas against the Gutiérrez/Magee Expedition. In the aftermath of the Gutiérrez/Magee rebellion the young Santa Anna witnessed Arredondo's policy of executing rebels and historians have speculated that Santa Anna modeled his policy in the Texas Revolution on his experience under Arredondo.

In 1821, Santa Anna declared his loyalty for "El Libertador": the future Emperor of Mexico, Agustín de Iturbide. He rose to fame by quickly driving the Spanish forces out of the port city of Veracruz that same year. Iturbide rewarded him with the rank of general.

Santa Anna didn’t like Iturbide so after the War for Independence he declared himself retired, "unless my country needs me".

In 1822 Santa Anna joined with a group of military leaders supporting the plan to overthrow Iturbide. In December 1822 Santa Anna and the general Guadalupe Victoria overthrew Iturbide and made Mexico into a republic.

In 1828, Santa Anna and Vicente Guerrero and other politicians staged a coup against the elected President Manuel Gómez Pedraza. In December of 1828 the election results were overturned and Guerrero took over as president.

In 1829, Spain made an attempt to retake Mexico with an invading force of 2,600 soldiers. Santa Anna marched against the Spanish with a much smaller force and defeated the Spaniards. The defeat of the Spanish army increased Santa Anna’s popularity. Santa Anna was declared a hero, and "The Savior of the Motherland". He started calling himself "The Napoleon of the West".

In December 1829 Vice-President Anastasio Bustamante rebelled against President Guerrero, had him executed, and on January 1, 1830 took the presidency. In 1832 a rebellion started against Bustamante with the idea of installing Manuel Gomez Pedraza, whose election in 1828 had been overthrown. The rebels offered the command to Gen. Santa Anna.

Bustamante left the capital to fight the rebels. After losing some battles, Bustamante, Santa Anna, and Gómez Pedraza, signed the conventions of Zavaleta, which made Gómez Pedraza the president and made him hold new elections for President.

Congress soon elected Santa Anna as President on April 1 1833. President Santa Anna appointed as Vice-President, Valentín Gómez Farías, and largely left the governing of the nation to him.

Eventually Santa Anna denounced the Presidency of Vice-President Farias, and forced him and his main supporters to flee to the United States, and formed a new Catholic, conservative government which replaced the 1824 constitution with the new constitutional document, entitled "The Seven Laws" know as the Constitution of 1836. Santa Anna dissolved the Congress and took power all to himself, becoming a dictator.

Like other states unhappy with the Santa Anna dictatorship, Texas went into rebellion in late 1835 and declared itself independent on March 2, 1836. Santa Anna marched north to bring Texas back under Mexican control. On March 6, 1836, at the Battle of the Alamo, Santa Anna's forces killed 187Texian defenders and later executed over 350 Texan prisoners at the Goliad Massacre.

Following the defeat, the Texian Army was reorganized under Sam Houston. Santa Anna was soon defeated by Houston's soldiers at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, capturing Santa Anna the day after the battle on April 22, 1836. This ended Santa Anna’s first Presidency. He spent the next year in the United States as a semi-prisoner and eventually was returned to Mexico. He would become President of Mexico 6 separate times over the course of the next 20 years.

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