Valentín Canalizo

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Valentín Canalizo
Valentín Canalizo.jpg
Seal of the Government of Mexico.svg
13th President of Mexico
In office
4 October 1843 – 4 June 1844
Preceded by Antonio López de Santa Anna
Succeeded by Antonio López de Santa Anna
In office
21 September 1844 – 6 December 1844
Preceded by José Joaquín de Herrera
Succeeded by José Joaquín de Herrera
Personal details
Born (1794-01-14)14 January 1794
Monterrey, Mexico
Died 20 February 1850(1850-02-20) (aged 56)
Mexico, Mexico
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Josefa Danila

José Valentín Raimundo Canalizo Bocadillo (14 January 1794 – 20 February 1850) was a Mexican general and conservative politician. He was a supporter of a centralist (not federalist) national government and an obedient follower and confidante of General Antonio López de Santa Anna. Canalizo served as acting president of Mexico two times, for a total of about ten months in 1843 and 1844.

The War of Independence[edit]

In 1811 he entered the Celaya Regiment as a royalist infantry cadet, fighting against the insurgents. On 2 March 1821, under the influence of Agustín de Iturbide, whom he knew and respected, he swore allegiance to independent Mexico. After that he participated in the siege of Valladolid (Morelia) and the capture of San Juan del Río and Zimapán. He was forced to surrender to General Bracho at San Luis Potosí, and he was wounded in action at Azcapotzalco. He received a battlefield promotion to lieutenant colonel, and was in command of two companies during the siege of the capital.

After independence[edit]

After independence, he was an aide to General José Joaquín de Herrera in the Jalisco campaign. In December 1829 he joined the Plan de Jalapa. Having been promoted to colonel, he was second in command of the brigade that pacified Jamiltepec, the Costa Chica and the Mixtecs. He was part of the court that sentenced Vicente Guerrero to death in 1831.

He opposed the revolution of 1832, but later accepted the Conventions of Zavaleta. In 1833 he revolted in favor of Santa Anna under the slogan of religión y fueros ("religion and privileges", referring to the privileges of soldiers and the clergy that had been eliminated by Liberal reformist President Valentín Gómez Farías). Under this banner he attacked Oaxaca. He was military governor of the states of Oaxaca and México during the centralist period.

From 1835 to 1841 he fought intensely against the Liberals. He broke the siege of Acapulco, went on expedition to the Mixteca region, broke another siege in Oaxaca. He attacked Urrea in Durango and Longinos Montenegro in Tampico, occupied Monterrey and Monclova, pursued Servando Canales, and finally returned to Mexico City. In 1841 Santa Anna promoted him to brigadier general.

First term as president[edit]

In December 1842 he supported the Plan de Huejotzingo. He contributed to establishing the dictatorship of Santa Anna on 4 March 1843. When Santa Anna wanted a rest, he made Canalizo interim president on 4 October 1843. This transfer was approved by Congress. Canalizo's period in office lasted until 4 June 1844. Nevertheless it was Santa Anna, resident at his hacienda Encero, who made the political decisions and appointments.

The government did little during this time. It gave aid to the Hermanas de la Caridad and the Colegio de San Gregorio and established the ordinances governing the Military College. It transferred the Medical School to the Colegio San Ildefonso. It also increased taxes to support the army. Congress during this time established garrisons in the departments of Oriente and Occidente, and tried to regulate the cutting of the nation's forests. Canalizo arranged a new meeting place for the Chamber of Deputies after flooding had made the old chamber unusable. He appointed José Joaquín de Herrera president of the Consejo de Gobierno (Government Council).

In 1844 Canalizo returned the presidential office to Santa Anna and went to San Luis Potosí to take command of the Ejército del Norte (Army of the North) and prepare it for a campaign in Texas.

Second term as president[edit]

He returned to the capital in September 1844 to replace José Joaquín de Herrera in the presidency. Again, he was a proxy for Santa Anna. This time he served from 21 September 1844 to 6 December 1844.

During this term he was in open conflict with Congress, because of its strong opposition to Santa Anna. Canalizo had received verbal instructions from Santa Anna to dissolve the Congress, but when he attempted this, the members objected. Thereupon he issued a decree suspending the Congress and prohibiting its meeting. Immediately, on 4 December 1844, the statue of Santa Anna in El Volador was decorated with a white hood and a rope noose, like a hanged man.

On 30 October 1844 the local authorities in Guadalajara revolted under Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga. On 30 November the palace guard prevented the deputies and senators from entering the chambers of Congress. By 6 December the revolution had spread throughout the country. On that day the troops of the La Acordada barracks, other soldiers and much of the populace joined the revolt. The soldiers from La Acordada took Canalizo prisoner. They turned over the government to José Joaquín de Herrera.

Plans were made to bring charges against Canalizo, but soon a general amnesty was declared. Canalizo was conducted to San Juan de Ulúa, where he sailed for Cádiz on 25 October 1845.

He returned to Mexico in 1846 and was Minister of War in the cabinet of Valentín Gómez Farías (24 December 1846 - 23 February 1847). During this term he supported the mortmain law and dealt severely with disturbances of the public peace.

Mexican-American War[edit]

He was given command of the Eastern Division at the time of the United States attack on Veracruz. He prevented the soldiers under his command from joining the 1847 Revolt of the Polkos and he negotiated an end to the revolt with Matías de la Peña y Barragán. (The convention ending the revolt was signed on 21 March 1848.) He then marched to Veracruz, but Santa Anna took command of the troops. Puente Nacional was abandoned without a fight, and Santa Anna was decisively defeated at Cerro Gordo. The Mexicans abandoned a supply of arms at the castle of Perote, Veracruz. Canalizo fled. He did not return to the war because of disagreements with Santa Anna and took no part in the defense of Mexico City. He died in obscurity in the capital in 1850.

Political offices
Preceded by
Antonio López de Santa Anna
President of Mexico
4 October 1843 - 4 June 1844
Succeeded by
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Preceded by
José Joaquín de Herrera
President of Mexico
21 September – 6 December 1844
Succeeded by
José Joaquín de Herrera


  • (Spanish) "Canalizo, Valentín," Enciclopedia de México, v. 3. Mexico City, 1996, ISBN 1-56409-016-7.
  • (Spanish) García Puron, Manuel, México y sus gobernantes, v. 2. Mexico City: Joaquín Porrua, 1984.
  • (Spanish) Orozco Linares, Fernando, Gobernantes de México. Mexico City: Panorama Editorial, 1985.

External links[edit]