Vicente Guerrero
Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña (August 10, 1782 – February 14, 1831) was one of the leading revolutionary generals of the Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

, who fought against Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 for independence in the early 19th century, and served briefly as President of Mexico
President of Mexico
The President of the United Mexican States is the head of state and government of Mexico. Under the Constitution, the president is also the Supreme Commander of the Mexican armed forces...

. He was also the grandfather of the Mexican politician and intellectual Vicente Riva Palacio
Vicente Riva Palacio
Vicente Florencio Carlos Riva Palacio Guerrero was a Mexican politician and intellectual....


Early life

Guerrero was born in Tixtla
Tixtla is a town and seat of the municipality of Tixtla de Guerrero in the Mexican state of Guerrero.The name is Nahuatl, and means either "maize dough" from textli; "our valley" from to ixtla; or "temple by the water" from teoixtlen.The municipality stands between 17°20' & 17°43' N and 99°15'...

, a town 100 kilometers inland from the port of Acapulco
Acapulco is a city, municipality and major sea port in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, southwest from Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico’s history...

, in the Sierra Madre del Sur
Sierra Madre del Sur
The Sierra Madre del Sur is a mountain range in southern Mexico, extending from southern Michoacán east through Guerrero, to the Istmo de Tehuantepec in eastern Oaxaca.-Geography:...

, son of Juan Pedro Guerrero and his wife, María de Guadalupe Saldaña. However, the Guerreros were accounted "españoles americanos" ("American
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 Spaniards", i.e. criollos
Criollo people
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

) in a contemporary census of Tixtla. His family consisted of landlords, rich farmers and traders with broad business connections in the south, members of the Spanish militia and gun and cannon makers. Probably, these were the reasons why the criollo status of the Guerreros was respected, although Vicente was of African descent on his father side and Amerindian from his mother. This fact would be used later by his enemies to attack him politically through ad hominem arguments. Vicente’s father, Pedro, supported Spanish rule, but Vicente was opposed to the Spanish colonial government. When his father asked him for his sword in order to present it to the viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 of New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 as a sign of goodwill and surrender, Vicente refused, saying, "The will of my father is for me sacred, but my Motherland is first." "My Motherland is first" is now the motto of the southern Mexican state of Guerrero
Guerrero officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guerrero is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 81 municipalities and its capital city is Chilpancingo....

, named in honor of the revolutionary.

He married María de Guadalupe Hernández and their daughter María de los Dolores Guerrero Hernández married Mariano Riva Palacio, who worked for the Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire.After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy, he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on April 10, 1864, with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists who sought to revive the Mexican monarchy...

 in Querétaro
Querétaro officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Querétaro de Arteaga is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 18 municipalities and its capital city is Santiago de Querétaro....

, and had Vicente Riva Palacio
Vicente Riva Palacio
Vicente Florencio Carlos Riva Palacio Guerrero was a Mexican politician and intellectual....



Guerrero joined in the early revolt against Spain in 1810, first fighting alongside José María Morelos
José María Morelos
José María Teclo Morelos y Pavón was a Mexican Roman Catholic priest and revolutionary rebel leader who led the Mexican War of Independence movement, assuming its leadership after the execution of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1811...

. When the War of Independence began, Guerrero was working as a gunsmith in Tixtla. He joined the rebellion in November 1810 and enlisted in a division that independence leader José María Morelos had organized to fight in southern Mexico. Guerrero distinguished himself in the battle of Izúcar, in February 1812, and had achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel, when Oaxaca was claimed by rebels in November 1812.

Following the capture and execution of Morelos in late 1815, Guerrero joined forces with Guadalupe Victoria
Guadalupe Victoria
Guadalupe Victoria born José Miguel Ramón Adaucto Fernández y Félix, was a Mexican politician and military man who fought for independence against the Spanish Empire in the Mexican War of Independence. He was a deputy for Durango and a member of the Supreme Executive Power...

 and Isidoro Montes de Oca
Isidoro Montes de Oca
Isidoro Montes de Oca was a Mexican-Filipino revolutionary soldier who fought in the Mexican War of Independence between 1810 to 1821. He was among the commanders of the army of Vicente Guerrero and José María Morelos....

, taking command of the rebel troops. He remained the only major rebel leader still at large, keeping the rebellion going through an extensive campaign of guerrilla warfare. He won victories at Ajuchitán, Santa Fe, Tetela del Río, Huetamo, Tlalchapa and Cuautlotitlán, regions of southern Mexico that were very familiar to him.

Mexico achieved independence, he at first collaborated with Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Aramburu , also known as Augustine I of Mexico, was a Mexican army general who built a successful political and military coalition that was able to march into Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively ending the Mexican War of Independence...

, who proposed that the two join forces under what he referred to as the Three Guarantees. Iturbide's professed belief in these ideological mandates – that Mexico be made an independent constitutional monarchy, the abolition of class distinctions between Spaniards, creoles, mestizos and Indians, and that Catholicism be made the state religion – earned Guerrero's support, and, after marching into the capital on September 27, 1821, Iturbide was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico by Congress. However, when Iturbide's policies supported the interests of Mexico's wealthy landowners through continued economic exploitation of the poor and working classes, Guerrero turned against him and came out in favor of a Republic with the Plan of Casa Mata
Plan of Casa Mata
The Plan of Casa Mata was formulated to abolish the monarchy in Mexico and to establish a republic.In December 1822, Antonio López de Santa Anna and Guadalupe Victoria signed the Plan de Casa Mata on February 1, 1823, as a start of their efforts to overthrow Emperor Agustín de Iturbide.In May...


When the general Manuel Gómez Pedraza
Manuel Gómez Pedraza
Manuel Gómez Pedraza was a Mexican general and president of the country from 1832 to 1833....

 won the election to succeed Guadalupe Victoria as president, Guerrero, with the aid of general Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

 and politician Lorenzo de Zavala
Lorenzo de Zavala
Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala y Saenz was a 19th-century Mexican politician. He served as finance minister under President Vicente Guerrero. A colonizer and statesman, he was also the interim Vice President of the Republic of Texas, serving under interim President David G...

, staged a coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 and 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 deposed in a rebellion under Vice-president Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante y Oseguera was president of Mexico three times, from 1830 to 1832, from 1837 to 1839 and from 1839 to 1841. He was a Conservative. He first came to power by leading a coup against president Vicente Guerrero...

 that began on December 4, 1829. He left the capital to fight the rebels, but was deposed by the Mexico City garrison in his absence on December 17, 1829. Guerrero hoped to come back to power, but General Bustamante captured him through bribery and had him executed.

After his death, Mexicans loyal to Guerrero revolted, driving Bustamante from his presidency and forcing him to flee for his life. Picaluga, a former friend of Guerrero, who conspired with Bustamante to capture Guerrero, was 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 interred there.


Guerrero is a Mexican national hero
A hero , in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion...

. The state of Guerrero
Guerrero officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guerrero is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 81 municipalities and its capital city is Chilpancingo....

 is named ln his honour.

In 1821, Mexico accepted Americans to settle the Texas territory under the conditions that the settlers convert to Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 and observe Mexican laws, including the abolition of slavery. On September 15, 1829 President Vicente Ramon Guerrero, emancipated all slaves within the Republic of Mexico:
The President of the United States of Mexico, know ye: That desiring to celebrate in the year of 1829 the anniversary of our independence with an act of justice and national beneficence, which might result in the benefit and support of a good, so highly to be appreciated, which might cement more and more the public tranquility, which might reinstate an unfortunate part of its inhabitants in the sacred rights which nature gave them, and which the nation protects by wise and just laws, in conformance with the 30th article of the constitutive act, in which the use of extraordinary powers are ceded to me, I have thought it proper to decree:
1st. Slavery is abolished in the republic.
2nd. Consequently, those who have been until now considered slaves are free.
3rd. When the circumstances of the treasury may permit, the owners of the slaves will be indemnified in the mode that the laws may provide.
And in order that every part of this decree may be fully complied with, let it be printed, published, and circulated. Given at the Federal Palace of Mexico, the 15th of September, 1829. Vicente Guerrero to José María Bocanegra.

However, Guerrero immediately received strong warnings from Texas, where most of the slaveholders were located, of "serious inconvenience apprehended by the execution of the decree of the 15th of September last, on the subject of abolition of slavery in that department and the fatal results to be expected, prejudicial to the tranquility and even to the political existence of the state." Thus, scarcely two months later, Guerrero sent a note dated November 20 communicating to the governor and military garrisons of Texas that the Texas slaves would remain enslaved.

Several towns in Mexico are named in honor of this famous General, including Col. Vicente Guerrero in Baja California and the Mexican State of Guerrero, on the mainland of Mexico. Guerrero Negro in Baja California Sur, however, is not named after him but after the "Black Warrior", a whaling ship that shipwrecked in the area.

External links

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