The timing of the Mexican War of Independence had little to do with a change of conditions or sentiment among the indigenous population, and everything to do with politics in Spain. In spite of deplorable government and long-standing oppressions, no significant rebellion was raised against Spain until its home government was near collapse. It was the perceived weakness of Spain that led to rebellions throughout its colonies rather than any change in colonial policies.
In 1808 Napoleon invaded Spain and deposed the Spanish king. For the next five years Spain was embroiled in the terrible, and even after Ferdinand VII was restored to the Spanish throne, the Spanish government was broke, subject to foreign interference, and strongly divided politically. In 1820 a civil war broke out in Spain between Liberals and Monarchists, and for some time it was unclear who would prevail. It was during this period that the final blow in the Mexican War of Independence took place.
After the death of Morelos, there were few battles but rather a series of minor skirmishes, and guerilla warfare. The rebels were led by Guadalupe Victoria, and Vicente Guerro, lieutenants under Morelos who became, subsequently, the first and second presidents of the Mexican Republic. The success of the rebels between 1815 and 1820, however, was not particularly notable. They had a strong following, but were largely resisted by the middle classes, who preferred peace to warfare.
The dramatic change to the fortunes of the rebels came in 1820, when the Royalist general Agustin de Iturbide, acting on is own volition, changed sides and joined the rebels. His desertion had much more to do with ongoing incidents in Spain than in Mexico. Fearing that Spain would fall into liberal hands, he made common cause between the rebels who desired to break with Spain, and the Mexican conservatives, to desired to avoid liberal reforms. Iturbide brought the Royalist army to his side, and then declared himself emperor, but his reign was exceedingly short. He was overthrown by Santa Anna after only a year, and Guadalupe Victoria was elected the first president of the Mexican Republic.
Spain made one attempt to reclaim Mexico in 1827 during a period of political unrest. An expedition was launched from Cuba and landed in Tampico, but it was soundly defeated by Santa Anna.
|Battle of Calderon Bridge
Fought Jan 17, 1811 between 80,000 poorly armed insurgents under the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo, and a much smaller but better armed Royalist force under Calleja. The independent forces could not withstand the cannon fire of the better trained and equiped royalist army. After a munitions wagon exploded, the insurgent army was dispersed.
|Battle of Cuaulta
In March of 1812, the forces of Jose Morelos, the leader of the Mexican independence movement, was besieged by a Spanish army led by Felix Calleja. Morelas broke through the siege on May 2, and continued his campaign by taking the towns of Oaxaca and Acapulco.
|Battle of Tampico (
On July 31, 1827 a force of 1500 Mexicans under Santa Anna laid siege to 3,000 Spanish and Cuban soldiers, under Barradas, who landed in Tampico, with the intention of overthrowing the Mexican government. The Spaniards were cut off from reinforcements and surrendered September 11.
|Freemason Priest who was a leader of Mexico's war of independence. Famous for !Grito de dolores!|
|Lieutenant of Miguel Hidalgo who assumed leadership of the rebellion on Hidalgo's death.|
|Leader of the Mexican rebellion against Spain, and Second President of Mexico.|
|Leader of the Mexican rebellion against Spain, and First President of Mexico.|
|Spanish viceroy and Royalist general for the first five years of the war.|
|Spanish General who changed sides and supported Mexican independence. Later made himself emperor.|
|Fought for Mexican independence and against Texas, then served as president on and off, over twenty turbulent years.|
|Winning of Freedom—Santa Anna and Texas in||The Story of Mexico by Charles Morris|