Carlos María de Bustamante

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Carlos María de Bustamante.

Carlos María de Bustamante (4 November 1774 – 29 September 1848) was a Mexican statesman and historian.

Biography and works[edit]

Carlos María de Bustamante was born in the city of Oaxaca in 1774. In 1796 he took up the study of law, participated in the attempts to secure Mexico's independence from Spain, and, when that was finally achieved, opposed Agustín de Iturbide's designs to transform the newborn republic into a hereditary monarchy. Repeatedly imprisoned and banished, he was nevertheless appointed to important positions in the Government. The Mexican-American War of 1846-48 was a source of deep grief to him.

He founded the Mexican newspaper "Diario de Mexico" in 1805 in which he exposes their independence liberal ideas and because this, he went to jail many times. After the Cadiz constitution he founded the newspaper "El Juguetillo". José María Morelos y Pavón named him as editor in the independence newspaper Correo Americano del Sur.

Carlos María de Bustamante become deputy for the "Provincia de Mexico" in the Congreso de Chilpancingo where he wrote the inaugural speech for José María Morelos y Pavón and participated in the writing of first Mexican Constitution. He spend most of the time between 1813 and 1822 in jail.

His historical sketch of The Mexican-American War is a sad record of the decay and disintegration which afflicted Mexico at the time. He writes with the greatest frankness, and unsparingly, about the conduct of the war on the Mexican side. His autobiography Lo que se dice, y lo que se hace, 1833, published in 1833, is also valuable as a fragment of contemporary history.

Although constantly concerned in the politics of Mexico and occupying several very responsible positions during the most trying times of the Mexican Republic until the close of the war with the United States, Bustamante managed to find time and leisure to secure a prominent position in the historical literature of his country. He distinguished himself by publishing historical works on colonial times, until then in manuscript and partly forgotten. Above all, his publication of Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España, by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún of the second half of the 16th century, was a service to historical research.

In addition to the work of Sahagún, Bustamante printed the chronicle of Gómara, the work of Veytia on Tezcuco, the dissertations of Gama on two large Mexican sculptures, and others. To the history by Sahagún he added one of the relaciones of Fernando de Alva Ixtlixochitl, selected by him for the passionate spirit which it displays against the Spaniards.

In addition to the autobiography mentioned, and the light shed by his other works, the Diccionario universal de Historia y Geografía (Mexico, 1853), contains an exhaustive account of the man. The historian Lucas Alamán wrote biographical material on Bustamante, putting in relief especially his private character and the virtues of his domestic life.


  • Apuntes para la historia del gobierno del general Antonio López de Santa Anna
  • Cuadro histórico de la revolución de la América Mejicana

Sources and references[edit]

  • PD-icon.svg "Carlos María Bustamante". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  • Alamán, Historia de México (Mexico, 1848)
  • Idem, Disertaciones sobre la Historia de la República Mexicana (Mexico, 1848)
  • Diccionario hispano-americano.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Carlos María Bustamante". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.