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Definition: Iturbide, Agustín de from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Mexican military leader (caudillo) who led the conservative faction in the nation's struggle for independence from Spain. In 1822 he crowned himself Emperor Agustín I. His extravagance and failure to restore order led all other parties to turn against him, and he reigned for less than a year (see Mexican Empire).

Summary Article: Iturbide, Agustín de
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(ägōstēn' dā ētōrbē'ðā), 1783–1824, Mexican revolutionist, emperor of Mexico (1822–23). An officer in the royalist army, he was sympathetic to independence but took no part in the separatist movement led by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, and in fact helped to suppress the peasant revolt. His forces were instrumental in checking Morelos y Pavón. In 1820 he was commissioned by Viceroy Apodaca to lead royalist troops against Vicente Guerrero. Iturbide undertook the command with the intention of overthrowing the viceroyalty and establishing Mexican independence. After Guerrero had inflicted minor defeats on his troops, Iturbide opened negotiations with the insurgent leader, and the result was the Plan of Iguala (1821). Iturbide's army swept the country. The new viceroy, O'Donojú, capitulated to their demands in the Treaty of Córdoba (1821). The independence of Mexico was assured, but without the social reforms advocated by Hidalgo; instead of a new liberal state, Iturbide had ushered in a new conservative one. He headed a provisional government which in time became dictatorial. When no Bourbon prince could be found to accept the crown of Mexico and Spain repudiated the Treaty of Córdoba, his soldiers proclaimed him emperor as Agustín I. Congress, hostile but intimidated, ratified the proclamation (1822). It was not long before a revolution was in the field, with Santa Anna and Guadalupe Victoria as its principal leaders. In 1823, Iturbide was forced to abdicate and go into exile in Europe. Congress decreed him a traitor and an outlaw, forbidding his reentry into Mexico. Iturbide, ignorant of the decree, sailed back to Mexico in 1824. He was captured, tried by the Congress of Tamaulipas, and shot. Iturbide has been regarded by conservatives as the champion of Mexican independence, rather than Hidalgo or Morelos y Pavón. In 1838 a conservative government placed his body in the Cathedral of Mexico.

  • See biography by W. S. Robertson (1968).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

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