Juan O'Donojú

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Juan O'Donojú
JuanODonoju.jpg
Escudo de Carlos III de España Toisón y su Orden variante leones de gules.svg
Jefe Político Superior
Monarch Ferdinand VII of Spain
In office
3 August de 1821 – 27 September 1821
Preceded by Juan Ruiz de Apodaca, 1st Count of Vendetta
Succeeded by Agustín de Iturbide (President of the Regency of the Mexican Empire)
Regent of the Mexican Empire
In office
28 September 1821 – 8 October 1821
Preceded by Himself
(as Jefe Político Superior)
Succeeded by Agustín de Iturbide
Personal details
Born 1762
Seville, Spain
Died October 8, 1821 (aged 59)
Mexico City, First Mexican Empire

Juan de O'Donojú y O'Ryan (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxwan ˈde ˈoðonoˌxu ˈi ˈoˌɾʝan] (born 1762, Seville, Spain – died 8 October 1821, Mexico City) was a Spanish military officer and "Jefe Político Superior" ("viceroy") of New Spain from July 21, 1821 to September 28, 1821 during the Mexican War of Independence. He was the last Spanish ruler of New Spain.

Biography[edit]

O'Donojú was born in Seville of Irish descent (O'Donoghue)[1] He joined the army at a young age and served with distinction in the Peninsular War, also known as the "Spanish War of Independence".

O'Donoju was the Chief of staff to the general, Gregorio García de la Cuesta during the Battle of Talavera (July 27 and 28, 1809). On July 11, 1809, O'Donojú served as an interpreter between Cuesta and the British commander, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington as the two met to make their campaign plans. The meeting was somewhat strained as Cuesta answered many of Wellesley's questions with a simple "yes" or "no" which O'Donojú tactfully explained.[2]

In 1814, O'Donoju was named Minister of War by the Regency. With the return of Ferdinand VII, he became aide de camp to the king.

O'Donoju was a friend of the liberal rebel Rafael del Riego. In 1820, at the time of the re-establishment of the Spanish Constitution of 1812, O'Donoju was the captain general of Andalusia. O'Donoju reached the rank of lieutenant general and was a high officer in the Spanish Freemasons. In 1821, the Cortes Generales appointed him captain general and "jefe político superior", which gave him the authority (but not the official title) of the former viceroys. At the time O'Donojú left for New Spain, the Cortes was considering to greatly expand the autonomy granted to the overseas Spanish possessions according to the restored constitution.

O'Donoju was sworn into his new offices upon his arrival in Veracruz on July 21, 1821. He found that the entire country except for Veracruz, Mexico City and Acapulco supported the Plan de Iguala and the rebel general, Agustín de Iturbide.

On August 3, 1821, in Veracruz, O'Donoju issued a proclamation of his liberal principles to the people of Mexico. He wrote to Iturbide, inviting him to a conference in a location of his choosing. Iturbide chose the city of Córdoba as the meeting place. O'Donojú, accompanied by Colonel Antonio López de Santa Anna, arrived there on August 23, and the following day the meeting occurred. The men reached an agreement and signed an accord, the Treaty of Córdoba, based on the Plan de Iguala. The only part of the Plan de Iguala that was amended was Article 4, concerning the functions of the governmental junta. The new Article 4 also provided that if no member of the Bourbon family accepted the crown of New Spain (a likely possibility), the Mexican Cortes would freely elect their monarch. Under the circumstances, that effectively granted the crown to Iturbide.

The military leaders of the Spanish in the colony did not accept independence. Spanish troops occupied the plazas of Mexico City and Veracruz, the fort of San Carlos de Perote, and the castle of San Diego in Acapulco. They were blockaded and all but Veracruz was surrendered. Francisco Novella was besieged in Mexico City by the Army of the Three Guarantees (the unified pro-independence army formed by the Plan de Iguala), led by Vicente Guerrero and Nicolás Bravo. Novella agreed to a suspension of hostilities. Colonel Santa Anna besieged Brigadier García Dávila in San Juan de Ulúa, Veracruz, but the latter was able to hold out for four more years.

O'Donojú used his influence to withdraw Spanish troops from the country with a minimum of bloodshed through reasonable surrender terms. He then approved the promotion of Novella, the previous acting viceroy, to field marshal.

On September 13, 1821, O'Donojú met with Novella and Iturbide at the Hacienda de la Patera, near the Villa de Guadalupe, smoothing over the difficulties and arranging the details of the transfer of power. Novella ordered Spanish troops to leave Mexico City.

The insurgents entered the capital on September 24, 1821, two days after the Spanish troops left Mexico City. On September 27, 1821, O'Donojú and, on the September 28, 1821, Iturbide decreed the independence of the Mexican Empire from Spain. Together with thirty-three others, O'Donojú was a member of the Provisional Governing Junta, headed by Iturbide. O'Donoju signed the Act of Independence on September 28, 1821.

On October 3, 1821, the Captaincy General of Guatemala (formed of Chiapas, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras) proclaimed its independence from Spain and its incorporation into the Mexican Empire. The region had been formally subject to New Spain throughout the colonial period, but as a practical matter, it was administered separately. All but Chiapas soon separated from Mexico.

O'Donojú died of pleurisy on October 8, 1821. That being said, some historians suspect that he was poisoned by Iturbide. The suspicion is based on the declarations of Carlos María Bustamante, a parliamentarian and writer. O'Donoju's remains were interred with the honors of a viceroy in the vault of the Altar of Kings in the Cathedral of Mexico.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Tracing your Irish ancestry - The O'Donoghue clan". IrishCentral.com. Irish Central. Retrieved Aug 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ Oman, Charles (1995). A History of the Peninsular War Volume II. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole. p. 472. ISBN 1-85367-215-7. 

References[edit]

  • (in Spanish) "Juan O'Donojú" Enciclopedia de México, vol 10. Mexico City, 1987.
  • (in Spanish) García Puron, Manuel, México y sus gobernantes, vol 1. Mexico City: Joaquín Porrua, 1984.
  • (in Spanish) Orozco L., Fernando, Fechas Históricas de México. Mexico City: Panorama Editorial, 1988, ISBN 968-38-0046-7.
  • (in Spanish) Orozco Linares, Fernando, Gobernantes de México. Mexico City: Panorama Editorial, 1985, ISBN 968-38-0260-5.

External links[edit]