Martín Javier Mina y Larrea
Francisco Mina was born in Otao, Navarre, to Juan Mina, a wealthy farmer, and Maria Lerea. Mina studied Latin, mathematics and humanities at the local Seminary while living in Pamplona with his uncle and aunt, Clemente and Simona Espoz. At the age of 18, he left Otao to continue his education in Zaragoza, where he began studying law at the university.
During the Peninsular War in early 1808, Spain was under occupation by French troops prompting Mina to flee to the hills and forests of his native region. There he formed a small guerrilla force of ten men. Under his leadership, the small force quickly grew to over 200 men. Mina launched raids on the French and succeeded in capturing arms, ammunition, and horses. These additional resources allowed Mina to expand his small army to over 1,200 men and 150 mounted cavalry. Finding new strength in these numbers, he began to engage in full-scale military actions. Mina was captured in March 1810 and sent to Vincennes prison in France. He was finally released in April 1814, concurrent with the collapse of Napoleon's government.
On returning to Spain he was made a colonel of the Navarre Hussars by King Ferdinand VII. However, Mina didn't sympathize with the King, since he had abolished the democratic government created under the Constitution of 1812. After a planned coup against the King failed, Mina fled to France; from Bayona he traveled to England where he met Servando Teresa de Mier.
Mina sailed on two ships. First, Mina and his crew sailed from Baltimore to Puerto Principe and from Puerto Principe to Galveston where they arrived November 24, 1816. He then moved to Mexico. In April 1817, Mina took a force of about 250 men southwards in ships provided by the French privateer, Louis-Michel Aury. They arrived at Soto la Marina, Tamaulipas. His plan was to join the southern Mexican revolutionaries led by Guadalupe Victoria and others.
Mina started the resistance war, a period of the Mexican War of Independence. On May 24 of 1817, Mina left his base with 300 men moving to several villages on his way to Fuerte del Sombrero, a fortification defended by Pedro Moreno. Mina published a letter stating that he was fighting the King's tyranny and not the Spanish empire.
In October 1817, Mina was captured and Pedro Moreno was killed in El Venadito ranch. The prisoner was presented to Colonel Orrantia who traveled with him to Silao. Eventually, Mina was sent to Pascual Liñán. On November 11 of 1817 he was executed by firing squad on a hill close to the Fuerte de los Remedios region of the Sierra de Pénjamo by the Zaragoza Battalion. He was 27 years old.
He should not be confused with his successor and distant relative Francisco Espoz Ilundáin, generally known at the time as Francisco Espoz y Mina, a nom de guerre that he took in an effort to associate himself with the triumphs of his predecessor.
General Francisco Javier Mina International Airport or (IATA: TAM, ICAO: MMTM) is an international airport named after him, located at Tampico.
- Mina El Mozo : Héroe De Navarra, Martín Luis Guzmán, Espasa Calpe. Madrid, 1932. Reedición en Txalaparta, Tafalla 2003
- Xavier Mina, guerrillero, liberal, insurgente, Manuel Ortuño Martínez, Universidad Pública de Navarra. Pamplona, 2000.
- Xavier Mina. Fronteras de libertad, Manuel Ortuño Martínez, Editorial Porrúa. México, 2003.
- Expedición a Nueva España de Xavier Mina, Manuel Ortuño Martínez, Universidad Pública de Navarra. Pamplona, 2006.
- Vida de Mina. Guerrillero, liberal, insurgente, Manuel Ortuño Martínez, Trama Editorial. Madrid, 2008.
- Charlas de café con Xavier Mina, Gloria López Morales, Ed. Grijalbo. 2010.
- Diarios: Expedición de Mina (1817), Brush, Webb, Bradburn y Terrés, Trama Editorial. Madrid, 2011