Juan O'Donojú

Juan O'Donojú

Juan O'Donojú O'Rian (O'Donahue O'Ryan) (1762, Seville, Spain — October 8, 1821, Mexico City) was a Spanish military officer and viceroy of New Spain from July 21, 1821 to September 28, 1821, during Mexico's war of independence. He was the last Spanish viceroy of the colony.

Born in Seville of Irish descent, O'Donojú joined the army at a young age. After serving with distinction in the war against the French, in 1814 he was named minister of war by the Regency (the Junta of Cádiz). With the return of King Ferdinand VII, he became aide de camp of the king.

O'Donojú was a liberal, and a friend of the liberal rebel Rafael de Riego. At the time of the reestablishment of the constitution in 1820, he was captain general of Andalusia. He reached the rank of lieutenant general, and was a high officer in the Spanish Masons.

He arrived in New Spain in 1821 with the titles of captain general and "jefe político superior", which gave him the authority (but not the official title) of the former viceroys. He was sworn in upon his arrival in Veracruz on July 21, 1821. He found that the entire country except for that city, Mexico City and Acapulco supported the Plan de Iguala and rebel general Agustín de Iturbide.

The Cortes in Spain had granted autonomy, but not independence, to Spanish possessions overseas.

Still in Veracruz, on August 3, 1821 he issued a proclamation of his liberal principles to the people of Mexico. He wrote to Iturbide, inviting the latter to a conference in a location of his choosing. Iturbide designated 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. They reached 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 the monarch. Under the circumstances, this was almost the same as granting the crown to Iturbide.

The military leaders of the Spanish in the colony did not accept the independence of Mexico. 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 surrendered. Francisco Novella was besieged in Mexico City by the Ejército de las Tres Garantías (the Army of the Three Guarantees, the unified pro-independence army formed by the Plan de Iguala), lead 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, by means of reasonable surrender terms. He 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 troops left the capital on September 21-22, and on the 24th the insurgents entered. On the 26th O'Donojú, and on the 27th Iturbide decreed the independence of the Mexican Empire from Spain. Together with 33 other persons, O'Donojú was part of the Provisional Governing Junta, headed by Iturbide. He 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. This region had been formally subject to New Spain throughout the colonial period, but as a practical matter was administered separately. All but Chiapas soon separated from Mexico.

O'Donojú died of pleurisy shortly after independence, on October 8, 1821, only about two and one half months after arriving in New Spain. His remains were interred with the honors of a viceroy in the vault of the Altar of Kings in the Cathedral of Mexico.


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

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