Empire (Spanish: Imperio Mexicano) was a short-lived
monarchy and the first independent post-colonial state in Mexico. It
was the only former colony of the
Spanish Empire to establish a
monarchy after independence and for a short time, together with the
Brazilian Empire, it was one of two European-style empires in the
Americas. The First Mexican
Empire lasted less than two years.
It existed from the signing of the
Treaty of Córdoba
Treaty of Córdoba and the
declaration of Independence of the Mexican
Empire in September 1821
until the emperor's abdication in March 1823 when the Provisional
Government took power and the
First Mexican Republic
First Mexican Republic was proclaimed in
1824. The first and only monarch of the state was Agustín de
Iturbide, reigning as Agustín I of Mexico, for less than eight
months. The empire was briefly reestablished by the French in 1863.
4.1 Political subdivisions
5 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
Main article: Mexican War of Independence
The various independentist factions in revolutionary
around three principles, or "guarantees," for Mexican independence
from Spain: that
Mexico would be an independent constitutional
monarchy governed by a conservative European prince; that criollos and
peninsulares would henceforth enjoy equal rights and privileges; and
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church would retain its privileges and
position as the official religion of the land. These Three Guarantees
formed the core of the Plan of Iguala, the revolutionary blueprint
which, by combining the goal of independence and a constitution with
the preservation of Catholic monarchy, brought together all Mexican
factions. Under the 24 February 1821 Plan of Iguala, to which most
of the provinces subscribed, the Mexican Congress established a
regency council which was headed by Iturbide.
After signing the
Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire
Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire of
28 September 1821, the Mexican Congress intended to establish a
commonwealth whereby the King of Spain, Ferdinand VII, would also be
emperor of Mexico, and both countries would be governed by separate
laws and form separate legislative bodies. If the king refused the
position, the law provided for another member of the House of Bourbon
to accede to the Mexican throne. However, the goal was merely a
political tactic to appease the last royalists, and full independence
was expected. King Ferdinand, however, refused to recognize
Mexico's independence and said that Spain would not allow any other
European prince to take the throne of Mexico.
Independence declaration, 1821
Flag of the
Empire Regency (1821–1822)
Emperor Augustin I
General Agustín de Iturbide, a Mexican criollo who had been a
royalist officer and who had led the
Army of the Three Guarantees
Army of the Three Guarantees in
the final phases of the war, was elected head of the provisional
government and of the regency which held the imperial power while a
monarch was chosen. Iturbide was extremely popular after his successes
in the war of independence, and in the evening of 18 May 1822 a mass
demonstration led by the Regiment of Celaya, which Iturbide had
commanded during the war, marched through the streets of
and demanded that their commander-in-chief accept the throne himself.
On 19 May 1822, Mexican Congress named Iturbide as a constitutional
emperor. On 21 May it issued a decree confirming this appointment,
which was officially a temporary measure until a European monarch
could be found to rule Mexico. Iturbide's official title was, "By
Divine Providence and the National Congress, First Constitutional
Emperor of Mexico" (Spanish: Por la Divina Providencia y por el
Congreso de la Nación, Primer Emperador Constitucional de México).
His coronation took place on 21 July 1822 in
In August 1822 a plot to overthrow the monarchy was discovered and on
August 25, plotters, including 16 members of Congress, were arrested.
As factions in the Congress began to sharply criticise Iturbide and
his policies, the emperor decided on 31 October to dissolve the
body. This led to provincial uprisings, the most important of which
was in the garrison at
Veracruz led by Antonio López de Santa Anna,
who would later be president of
Mexico during the secession of Texas
and the disastrous Mexican–American War. Santa Anna and his troops
revolted against Iturbide, calling for the restoration of the Congress
on 1 December 1822. Santa Anna had secretly persuaded General
Echávarri, the commander of the Imperial forces, to switch sides and
support the revolution when it was ready to be proclaimed throughout
Mexico. The independence heroes Vicente Guerrero,
Nicolás Bravo and
Guadalupe Victoria soon joined, signing the
Plan of Casa Mata on
February 1, 1823, which called for the restoration of the Congress.
The Plan of Casa Mata, which other Mexican generals, governors, and
high-ranking governmental officials soon signed, did not recognize the
Empire and called for the convening of a new Constituent
Congress. The insurrectionists sent their proposal to the provincial
governments and requested their adherence to the plan. In the course
of just six weeks, the
Plan of Casa Mata traveled to such remote
places as Texas, and almost all the provinces supported the plan.
Each provincial government that accepted the plan thereby withdrew its
allegiance from the Imperial government and assumed sovereignty within
its own province.
This left Emperor Agustín I isolated with little support outside of
Mexico City and a few factions of the Imperial Army. Consequently, he
reinstalled the Congress, which he had previously abolished, abdicated
the throne, and fled the country on 19 March 1823.
Santa Anna and the other proponents of the
Plan of Casa Mata went on
to oversee the drafting of a new constitution and the establishment of
First Mexican Republic
First Mexican Republic the following year.
Provinces of the Empire.
Treaty of Córdoba
The territory of the Mexican
Empire corresponded to the borders of
Viceroyalty of New Spain, excluding the Captaincies General of Cuba,
Santo Domingo and the Philippines. The Central American lands of the
Captaincy General of Guatemala
Captaincy General of Guatemala were annexed to the Empire
shortly after its establishment, making the First Mexican
largest country in North America with territory of approximately 5
million square km.
Under the First Empire,
Mexico reached its greatest territorial
extent, stretching from northern California to the provinces of
Central America (excluding Panama, which was then part of Colombia),
which had not initially approved becoming part of the Mexican Empire
but joined the
Empire shortly after their independence.
After the emperor abdicated, on March 29 the departing Mexican general
Vicente Filisola called for a new Central American Congress to convene
and on July 1, 1823 the Central American provinces formed the Federal
Republic of Central America, with only the province of Chiapas
choosing to remain a part of
Mexico as a state. Subsequent territorial
Mexico over the next several decades (principally
cessions to the United States) would eventually reduce
Mexico to less
than half its maximum extent.
The first Mexican empire was divided into the following intendances:
Nuevo Reino de León
Estado de Occidente
San Luis de Potosí
Mérida de Yucatán
Federal Republic of Central America
History of Mexico
Imperial Crown of Mexico
List of Emperors of Mexico
Mexican Imperial Orders
Second Mexican Empire
^ "Primer Imperio Mexicano". La Guía. Retrieved 28 October
^ Michael S. Werner (2001). Concise Encyclopedia of Mexico. Taylor
& Francis. pp. 308–9.
^ The Birth of Modern Mexico, 1780–1824
^ Christon I. Archer (2007). The Birth of Modern Mexico, 1780–1824.
Rowman & Littlefield. p. 220.
^ Quirarte, Martín (1978). Visión Panorámica de la Historia de
México (11th ed.). Mexico: Librería Porrúa Hnos.
Anna, Timothy. The Mexican
Empire of Iturbide. Lincoln: University of
Nebraska Press 1990.
Arcila Farias, Eduardo. El siglo ilustrado en América. Reformas
económicas del siglo XVIII en Nueva España. México, D. F., 1974.
Benson, Nettie Lee. "The Plan of Casa Mata" Hispanic American
Historical Review. 25 (February 1945) pp. 45–56.
Calderón Quijano, José Antonio. Los Virreyes de Nueva España
durante el reinado de Carlos III. Sevilla, 1967–1968.
Céspedes del Castillo, Guillermo. América Hispánica (1492-1898).
Barcelona: Labor, 1985.
Hernández Sánchez-Barba, Mario. Historia de América. Madrid:
Konetzke, Richard. América Latina. La época colonial. Madrid: Siglo
XXI de España, 1976.
Navarro García, Luis. Hispanoamérica en el siglo XVIII. Sevilla:
Universidad de Sevilla, 1975.
Pérez-Mallaína, Pablo Emilio et al. Historia Moderna. Madrid:
Ramos Pérez, Demetrio et al. América en el siglo XVII. Madrid:
Ramos Pérez, Demetrio et al. América en el siglo XVIII. Madrid:
Richmond, Douglas W. "Agustín de Iturbide" in Encyclopedia of Mexico.
Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, pp. 711–713.
Robertson, William Spence. Iturbide of Mexico. Durham: Duke University
Rubio Mañé, Ignacio. Introducción al estudio de los virreyes de
Nueva España, 1535–1746.
Mexico City, 2nd ed., 1983.
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