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Home BIOGRAPHIES Independence INDEPENDENCE / XAVIER MINA

INDEPENDENCE / XAVIER MINA

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XAVIER MINA (1789-1817)

 

X
avier Mina is born in Otano, Navarra, in Spain. He starts law studies in Pamplona, but leaves to fight against the French invasion in 1808. A supporter of liberal ideas, he is forced to emigrate from Spain, first to France and then to England, where he associates with Servando Teresa de Mier and other supporters of  the Mexican independence. Convinced that he can fight for the independence of New Spain and against the absolutism personified by Ferdinand VII in either Spain or America, he embarks for the United States in May 1816.

 

XAVIER MINA (1789-1817)

 

                     In the United States, he readies several ships for an expedition. He goes briefly in Haiti, then to New Orleans, and on April 15, 1817, he disembarks in Soto La Marina at the mouth of Santander river, in what is now the state of Tamaulipas. He arrives with three ships: the Cleopatra, Neptuno and Congreso Mexicano. He disembarks in Mexico with just over 300 men. He enters the town of Horcasitas and takes 700 horses that had been destined for royalist soldiers for his own troops, providing them all with mounts.

 

                     On June 24, he arrives at the Sombrero Fort—a rebel territorywhere he defeats the royalist officer in command. On July 7 he proceeds to the Hacienda del Jaral, taking 2.4 million pesos and supplies. He returns to the Sombrero Fort, where he becomes aware of the disagreements among the revolutionaries. He continues on further into the country. He attacks the town of León, and is defeated.

 

                     Marshal Liñán, freshly arrived from Spain, advances with 2,500 men and 14 canons on Sombrero Fort to engage Mina and Pedro Moreno in battle. The royalist forces are repelled in the August 4 attack with numerous losses. On August 7, Mina tries unsuccessfully to slip through to get supplies. The next night, he leaves for the Remedios Fort, where he prepares a convoy that is attacked not far from Silao.

 

                     After several attacks, Liñán gets control of Sombrero Fort on August 20; after destroying the fort, he executes all 200 prisoners, including the wounded.

 

                     Mina and Pedro Moreno keep fighting in Los Remedios. Liñán lays siege with 6,000 well armed men. Mina manages to escape with a group of comrades-in-arms, and they go to San Luis de la Paz, which they take by force. He returns again to Los Remedios, but a platoon of 1,000 royalist soldiers is organized to fight him.

 

                     To create a diversion, Mina marches on Guanajuato and is defeated. He then he goes to Jaujilla. On October 26, he takes refuge at a ranch called Venadito, where he is taken prisoner. He is taken in shackles to Liñán, who orders his execution at Los Remedios Fort.

 

                     Mina was 29 years old at the time of his death. His expedition, though brief, was one of the most brilliant moments of the War of Independence. His remains are interred in a mausoleum at the base of the Independence Column in Mexico City.

 


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