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Home BIOGRAPHIES Independence INDEPENDENCE / JOSÉ MARÍA MORELOS Y PAVÓN

INDEPENDENCE / JOSÉ MARÍA MORELOS Y PAVÓN

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José María Morelos (1765 - 1815)

 

J
osé María Morelos y Pavón was born in the city of Valladolid (now Morelia) in 1765. During his youth, he was a student of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla at the San Nicolás College where Hidalgo was rector. After finishing his studies, he was ordained as a priest and became the parish priest of Carácuaro and then of Nicupétaro in the state of Guanajuato.

José María Morelos (1765 - 1815)

 

          Morelos joins Hidalgo’s cause in October 1810, shortly after Hidalgo initiates the War of Independence with the “Grito (call) of Dolores.” Hidalgo makes him a colonel of the revolutionary army and asks him to spread the insurgency southwards. It is soon evident that Morelos is a brilliant military strategist. He wins 22 victories in the first nine months (his first campaign) and is subsequently promoted to General-in-Chief. He becomes one of the greatest revolutionary military leaders.

          On September 13, 1813, he convenes the first Congress in Chilpancingo. His document, “Sentiments of the Nation” is endorsed by Congress. It proclaims Mexico independent from Spain and abolishes slavery and racial and social distinctions (the caste system). Morelos is offered the titles of “Generalissimo” and “Your Highness” but refuses them, asking to be called “Servant of the Nation” instead.

          During the spring of 1814, royalist forces lay siege to Morelos’ troops at Cuautla, Although at a great disadvantage, Morelos brings off an unprecedented military maneuver by breaking the siege after two months and evacuating with minimal losses. He reorganizes his troops and is able to occupy Oaxaca and Acapulco.

          Towards the end of 1815, Morelos is defeated at Temazcala on November 5t taken prisoner, brought to Mexico City and executed by a firing squad on December 22, 1815. After his death, his lieutenant, Vicente Guerrero, continues the War of Independence.

          In 1828, his birthplace, Valladolid, is renamed Morelia and in 1869 Benito Juárez decrees the creation of the state of Morelos.

 
 


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