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Vicente Guerrero (10 August 1782 – 14 February 1831) was a leader of the Mexican War of Independence who briefly served as President of Mexico from 1 April to 17 December 1829, succeeding Guadalupe Victoria and preceding Jose Maria Bocanegra.

Biography

Vicente Guerrero was born on 10 August 1782 in Tixtla, New Spain, a town not far from Acapulco on the Pacific Ocean. He was of mixed African and mestizo descent, and he came from a family that supported the rule of Spain; when asked by his father to give him his sword to present to the Viceroy of New Spain, Guerrero famously refused, saying, "The will of my father is for me sacred, but my fatherland is first." This quote has been adapted as the motto of the state of Guerrero in Mexico to honor Guerrero's patriotism. In 1810, he fought alongside Jose Maria Morelos at the start of the Mexican War of Independence, and in 1815 he became commander-in-chief of the Mexican rebel forces after the execution of Morelos by the Spanish authorities. In 1821, he allied with Agustin de Iturbide and gave rights to the indigenous peoples of Mexico, although these rights were not extended to Africans. On 1 April 1829, Guerrero, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and Lorenzo de Zavala staged a coup that ousted General Manuel Gomez Pedraza from power before he could take office, and Guerrero called for public schools, industry and trade development, land reforms, and the abolition of slavery, emancipating the slaves on 16 September 1829. Guerrero defeated Spain's attempt to reconquer Mexico at Tampico before he was overthrown in a coup by Anastasio Bustamante in December 1829, and Bustamante had him executed. Bustamante was overthrown by Guerrero's supporters, and Guerrero is honored as the "greatest man of color ever to have lived" by Mexico, while the state of Guerrero is named for him.

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