Portrait by Ramón Pérez (oil over canvas, 1865)
January 21, 1769|
San Miguel el Grande (now San Miguel de Allende), Guanajuato, New Spain
|Died||June 26, 1811
|Allegiance||New Spain, Mexican independence movement (after 1809)|
|Years of service||1802 - 1811|
|Rank||Captain (New Spain), Lieutenant General (Mexican independence movement.1986)|
|Battles/wars||Mexican War of Independence|
Ignacio José de Allende y Unzaga (January 21, 1769 – June 26, 1811), born Ignacio Allende y Unzaga, was a captain of the Spanish Army in Mexico who came to sympathize with the Mexican independence movement. He attended the secret meetings organized by Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, where the possibility of an independent New Spain was discussed. He fought along with Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in the first stage of the struggle, eventually succeeding him in leadership of the rebellion. Allende was captured by Spanish colonial authorities while he was in Chihuahua and executed for treason.
In 1802, he joined the Viceregal army of New Spain, serving under general Félix María Calleja. In 1806, he started to favor the possibility of independence from Spain. His attendance at a conspiratorial meeting in Valladolid (today Morelia) was discovered, in 1809, by the Spanish and went unsanctioned. Regardless, Allende kept supporting the underground independence movement. He was eventually invited by the mayor of Querétaro, Miguel Domínguez and his wife Josefa Ortíz de Domínguez to discuss further plans for independence at their home. It was during one of these meetings where Allende met Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and his captain Juan Aldama.
Originally, the independence movement was to be led jointly by Allende and Aldama. A change of plans prompted by the discovery of the conspiracy forced Hidalgo to start the rebellion earlier than agreed. The "Grito de Dolores" uttered by Hidalgo signaled the beginning of the revolution, after which the conspirators rallied behind him. The rebel army quickly captured the town of Dolores and marched towards San Miguel el Grande, where Allende obtained the support of his cavalry regiment. On September 22, 1810, Hidalgo y Costilla was officially made captain general of the Revolutionary army while Allende was made lieutenant general. After the famous capture of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, in Guanajuato, and his victory in the Battle of Monte de las Cruces Allende suggested Hidalgo march toward Mexico City and capture it. As a consequence of the rebels' defeat in the Battle of Calderón Bridge, the leadership of the Revolutionary army demanded the replacement of Hidalgo as their leader. Allende took this new responsibility and, with a decimated army, he decided to march north to the United States, hoping to gather more money, weapons and troops. The rebels, however, were ambushed at the Wells of Baján (Norias de Baján) due to the betrayal of Ignacio Elizondo, leading to the capture of Allende, Hidalgo, and several other commanders. Allende's illegitimate child Indalecio was killed during this ambush.
Allende was taken to the city of Chihuahua where he was tried for insubordination and executed by firing squad on June 26, 1811. His body was decapitated and his head taken to the Alhóndiga de Granaditas where it was shown to the public inside a cage hung from one corner of the building. In 1824 his remains were buried in the vault reserved for the viceroys and presidents in the cathedral of Mexico. His remains were moved in 1925 to the Independence Column in Mexico City.
Allende is a national hero of Mexico. Places named in his honor include the municipality and town of San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato, and the Chihuahua municipality of Allende and its municipal seat, Valle de Allende.
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