Ignacio López Rayón
Ignacio López Rayón (July 31, 1773 in Tlalpujahua, Michoacán, New Spain – February 2, 1832 in Mexico City) led the revolutionary government of his country after Miguel Hidalgo's death, during the first years of the Mexican War of Independence.
López Rayón was born in Michoacán, the first son of Andrés Mariano López-Rayón Piña (1742-1805) and María Josefa Rafaela López-Aguado y López-Bolaños (1754-1822). He went to the Colegio de San Nicolás in Valladolid (today's Morelia) and in Mexico City's Colegio de San Ildefonso where he became a lawyer in 1796. He lived in Mexico City but when his parent[which?] got sick he had to go back to Morelia to take control of the family business (agriculture and mining) and the post office in the town. In August 1810 he got married to María Ana Martínez de Rulfo.
During the first months of the Mexican War of Independence he got in contact with Antonio Fernández, an independence soldier. Rayón sent him a letter with the idea of creating a group of people to represent the power of Fernando VII to try to stop the waste of resources. Miguel Hidalgo was in agreement with the idea. The Spanish tried to capture Rayón but he escaped and joined Miguel Hidalgo's troops in Maravatío. Later on, he became Hidalgo's private secretary.
In Guadalajara, Hidalgo named him Secretary of State, and as such, he signed the emancipation of slaves on December 6, 1810. He organized the provisional government with José María Chico as president, Pascacio Ortiz de Letona as ambassador and Francisco Severo Maldonado as chief editor of the first newspaper of the rebellion: El Despertador Americano (in English: The American Watchclock).
Miguel Hidalgo's army was defeated in the battle of Puente de Calderon (Batalla de Puente de Calderón) and Rayón escaped to Aguascalientes to join Rafael Iriarte. They went to Zacatecas to join the rest of the army that had escaped from the battle of Puente de Calderon.
The army moved to Saltillo. The insurgents' chiefs tried to travel to the United States, while the army remained in Saltillo with Rayón as the army chief; because of this Rayón became general. In this travel Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende and the others were captured in Acatita del Baján and sentenced to death.
Battles after Hidalgo's death
On March 26, 1811, Rayón moved out from Saltillo to Zacatecas. At that time his army comprised 3500 soldiers and 22 guns. The Spanish army found Rayón's army in the way of Agua Nueva, and Rayón lost 77 men (prisoners). On April 1, the battle of los Piñones began, which Rayón won after six hours. On April 13 Rayón sent Anaya and Víctor Rosales to recognize the Zacatecas army, while he took position in the "Los Misioneros de Guadalupe college". On April 15, 1811, the battle for Zacatecas began. José Antonio Torres (nicknamed "el Amo Torres") won "del grillo" hill where all the artillery, ammunition, food and silver was. With these actions Rayón's army won the battle. Once in Zacatecas, Rayón spent most of the time with his army, training, getting uniforms and improving his war techniques.
Rayón chose to move to Aguascalientes because a big Spanish army was going to Zacatecas. While Rayón's army was traveling, Colonel Miguel Emparan intercepted them, but Rayón won and kept moving to Michoacán. On May 3, close to La Piedad, the battle of El Maguey took place. Rayón lost the battle and his resources. In La Piedad he tried to get more resources and move out to Zamora. Here he organized some troops and sent them with Torres to Pátzcuaro. Torres was attacked in the Tinaja Hill. Rayón went to help him and they both won the battle against the Spanish army.
Rayón tried to attack Valladolid (today's Morelia) but because the Spanish received reinforcements he ceased the attack. He went to Tiripitio to change the war flow; from this very moment he began the group war[clarification needed]. He sent Torres to Pátzcuaro and Uruapan, Navarrete to Zacapu, Mariano Caneiga to Panindícuaro and Muñiz to Tacámbaro. Rayón went to Zitacuaro to prepare the defense. Emparan left Maravatío to attack Zitacuaro on June 22. Rayón had fewer men than Emparan but better artillery. Rayón's army attracted the attackers to town. Close to the artillery range, the battle took the whole day. The Spanish could not take the town, with heavy losses for both armies.
Supreme National American Meeting or Meeting of Zitácuaro
Rayón conceived the idea of creating a central government to unify the independence leaders. He wrote a letter to Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon; Morelos agreed to become a member of the group and sent José Sixto Verduzco in his representation.
From August 19 to 21, Rayón, José María Liceaga, Joaquín López, José Sixto Verduzco and others created the Supreme National American Meeting. Rayón was the president. They created the first revolutionary newspaper, the Ilustrador Nacional edited by Andrés Quintana Roo and José María Cos. Because the importance of Rayón, the Spanish sent an assassin J. Arnoldo but he failed and was killed. On January 1, 1812, Zitacuaro was attacked by general Calleja. The revolutionary army resisted a long time. Finally Calleja saw that taking the city was hard and changed his plan and left it. While Calleja was leaving the revolutionary army also left Zitacuaro. Calleja was too far from Zitacuaro to catch the revolutionary leaders. When Calleja knew that the city was open he took it.
After the Zitacuaro events Rayón took part with José María Morelos in the first National Congress at Chilpancingo. Four years later, he was arrested and sent to prison until 1820. After the war, he became the state treasurer of San Luis Potosí.
López Rayón died on February 2, 1832, in Mexico City.
- Herrejón Peredo, Carlos (1985). Secretaría de Educación Pública, ed. La Independencia según Ignacio Rayón (PDF). Cien de México. Biblioteca Digital Bicentenario (1ª ed.). México. ISBN 9682905338. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
- Ansures, Rafael (1909). Oficina tipográfica del gobierno, ed. Los héroes de la Independencia (PDF). Biblioteca Digital Bicentenario. México. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
- Villaseñor y Villaseñor, Alejandro (1910). "Ignacio Rayón". In Imprenta "El Tiempo" de Victoriano Agüeros. Biografías de los héroes y caudillos de la Independencia (PDF). Biblioteca Digital Bicentenario. México. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
- Villoro, Luis (2006). "La revolución de independencia". In El Colegio de México. Historia General de México (1ª ed.). México. ISBN 9681209699.
- Zárate, Julio (1880). "La Guerra de Independencia". In Riva Palacio, Vicente; Ballescá y Compañía. México a través de los siglos. III. México. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- (in Spanish) Short biography