V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > I. Latin America, 1806–1914 > 2. The Wars of Independence, 1806–1872 > h. New Spain (Mexico)
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
h. New Spain (Mexico)
Following the intervention of Napoleon in Spain, creole elements sought a greater role in the government. With support of the viceroy, a general junta was convened. The audiencia, controlled by Spaniards, dismissed the pro-creole viceroy. Four viceroys governed between 1808 and 1813.  1
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (1753–1811), a creole priest, initiated a separatist revolt in the town of Dolores, in the Province of Guanajuato. He had limited creole support, but his call galvanized hundreds of peasants and mineworkers who had suffered oppressive conditions in the Bajío region. Although Hidalgo tried to restrict attacks to Spaniards and Spanish properties, his followers destroyed estates indiscriminately, unleashing general rural violence. Massacres committed against wealthy Spaniards and creoles in Guanajuato deeply unsettled the upper class. The rebels threatened Mexico City, but peasants of the region refused to join them. A Spanish army defeated Hidalgo's troops.  2
A new defeat of revolutionary forces at the bridge of Calderón, near Guadalajara (Jan. 17), allowed Spanish authorities to capture Hidalgo. The Inquisition tried him and delivered him to the secular courts for execution (July 31).  3
José María Morelos (1765–1815), a mestizo priest, continued the revolt.  4
A congress convened at Chilpancingo (Sept. 14) made Morelos executive chief and declared independence (Nov. 6).  5
1814, Oct. 22
The constitution of Apatzingan was promulgated, establishing male suffrage and abolishing the caste system and slavery, but preserving the prerogatives of the Church. Agustín de Iturbide (1783–1824), a creole in Spanish service, forced Morelos to retreat. Morelos was captured and executed (Dec. 22, 1815), and the revolutionary congress was dissolved.  6
Viceroy Juan Ruiz de Apodaca instituted a conciliatory policy and secured the surrender of most of the revolutionary leaders. Only a few guerrilla leaders, among them Vicente Guerrero (1783–1831), continued resistance.  7
The liberal revolution in Spain (See 1820) threatened the position of the clergy and the upper classes. Conservative creoles and Spaniards decided to secede from Spain to avert reforms. Agustín de Iturbide became their leader and with Guerrero formulated the Plan de Iguala.  8
Feb. 24
This proclaimed the INDEPENDENCE OF MEXICO. According to the plan, Mexico would be a constitutional monarchy under Ferdinand VII or other European prince, creoles and Peninsulars were declared equal, and the Catholic religion and church properties were to be maintained. Viceroy Apodaca was dismissed. Iturbide assumed authority and created an army.  9
Aug. 24
A newly arrived viceroy accepted the plan of Iguala by the Convention of Córdoba. A regency under Iturbide was formed, pending choice of a sovereign. A constituent congress was convened. The Spanish government refused to accept the Convention of Córdoba.  10
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.