Guadalupe Victoria was born on the 29th of September, 1786 in Durango and was baptized as José Miguel Ramón Adaucto Fernandez y Félix. He studied at the Seminar of Durango and then in Mexico City, at the School of San Ildefonso. In 1811, he joined the independence struggle lead by Miguel Hidalgo, with the army of Jose Maria Morelos, with whom he fought against the realist army.
He changed his name in honor of Mexico’s patron virgin, after taking the plaza of Oaxaca, in front of the Guadalupe Church.
In 1821 he exhorted the concord of all independence leaders in order to pacify the country and suggested to Iturbide that the nation’s government should be lead by an insurgent, but his ideas were rejected.
Victoria announced he was against Emperor Agustin de Iturbide and defended his Republican ideals, for which he was imprisoned by the imperialists but managed to flee to Veracruz, where he signed, together with Vicente Guerrero and Santa Anna, the Casa Mata Act in 1823, requesting the reinstatement of the Constituent Congress that had been dissolved by Iturbide.
Upon the collapse of the Empire, he helped Iturbide flee the country and then established the Federal Republic. Congress named Guadalupe Victoria the first President of the Republic in October 1824. Under this charge he achieved great diplomatic alliances with the United States, England and Central America. He also established a navy that freed San Juan de Ulua from the last Spaniards in 1825, achieving his greatest triumph, Mexico’s Independence. He formed his first cabinet with outstanding independence leaders and established the Military School. He is proudly remembered for having abolished slavery and religious intolerance as well as defending freedom of expression.
His presidency was attacked by his own vice-president, Nicolas Bravo, who lead a revolt against the republican government. However, this insurgency was easily suppressed by Generals Santa Anna and Guerrero.
Among the many conflicts he had to face as president, were the conflicts between the Scottish Lodge that pretended advantages for English investments; and the York Lodge, that tried to influence his government on behalf of preserving the hierarchical order inherited from the Colonial Era. From this conflict surged the popular insurrection known as the Acordada Mutiny that forced the resignation of his Minister of War.
Congress named Vicente Guerrero president, to whom Victoria handed the seat in 1829, retiring to his El Jobo Estate in Veracruz, where he died of epilepsy in 1843 and was buried, but in 1925 he was named “National Hero” by Congress and his remains now rest within the Column of Independence in Mexico City.
Article Produced by the Editorial Team of Explorando Mexico.
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