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THE AGUSTIN DE ITURBIDE COLLECTION

The Agustin de Iturbide Collection consists of financial and military documents, printed ephemera, correspondence and an oil portrait. The materials are arranged in 23 folders held in one box, except for the oil portrait, which is hanging on the walls of a Special Collections office.

Agustin de Iturbide was born in Valladolid (now Morelia), Mexico, September 27 1783, and executed in Padilla, Mexico, July 19, 1824. He was the child of Spanish parents who had come to Mexico shortly before his birth. After the death of his father in 1798, Iturbide entered the military as a sub-lieutenant. He saw service in suppressing a minor revolutionary movement in 1809, and in 1810, after declining an offer from Hidalgo to serve with the insurgents in their uprising, he again took the field for the Spanish cause.

During this insurgency, Iturbide rose to the rank of colonel, and in 1813 forces under his command dealt a crushing blow to the revolution by defeating Hidalgo's successor Morelos at the battle of Valladolid. In reward for his services, in 1816 Iturbide was named commander-in-chief of Guanajuato and Michoacan. However, charges of ruthless violence against non-combatants and misuse of official funds, combined with Spanish officials' distrust of Mexican-born officers, led to his dismissal.

But in 1820, when Ferdinand VII was forced by political unrest in Spain to acknowledge the liberal Mexican constitution of 1812, conservative Mexicans, led by the Spanish-born minority and the church, once again feared the loss of their political priveleges. Their decisionto act against Guerrero's latest insurgency led to the revival of Iturbide's military career. After Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca gave him command of the army of the south, Iturbide left Mexico City at the head of some 2,500 troops. But instead of engaging the rebels, Iturbide feigned encounters with their forces and began secret negotiations with Guerrero. Guerrero agreed to submit to Iturbide's command, and on February 24, 1821, Iturbide announced his outline for the independence of Mexico, the Plan de Iguala. This conservative plan called for an independent Mexico to be ruled by a member of Spain's royal family.

Iturbide entered Mexico City on September 27, 1821 and installed a provisional junta, with himself as president, pending the response of Spain's Ferdinand VII. Dissension arose, and, among other difficulties, the congress convened by Iturbide refused to pay the troops. In early 1822 word arrived that Spain did not recognize Mexico's independence. In the face of congressional opposition, Iturbide now allowed his supporters, backed by the army, to proclaim him Emperor. On July 21, 1822 he was crowned Agustin I.

Iturbide reigned over a high-handed regime, characterized by his arbitrary imprisonment of political opponents, the dissolution of congress and a refusal to acknowledge growing civil and social unrest in the provinces. Forces led by Santa-Ana, Guerrero and Echavarri quickly brought about his downfall: Iturbide's election was declared null and void, and he was exiled to Italy with an annual pension.

Shortly after his exile, partisans in Mexico convinced Iturbide that the country desired his return. Wishing to regain the crown, he sailed for Mexico and landed there in July, 1824. Unaware that the government had declared him a traitor and an outlaw, he went ashore, was recognized and captured. He was tried and executed on July 19, 1824.

Iturbide's family was offered a pension and arrangements were made for exile in Colombia. However, transportation was unavailable and his widow instead settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the family would reside for many years. Iturbide's eldest son, Angel, died in Mexico City in 1872. He left a son, Agustin, who had been adopted by Maximillian as the heir to the Mexican throne, giving Iturbide's family a role in Mexico's two failed imperial regimes.

The first seven items of the collection describe the military career, acsension to the throne, and some official proclamations of Agustin de Iturbide. Many of the remaining items deal with the grandson of Iturbide, Agustin Cosme, and his sister, Savina, and their relationship with Maximillian and their financial and social stations in Mexico, Paris and Philadelphia. Items of particular note are a signed proclamation by Iturbide, a signed letter from Maximillian, and a signed letter from Agustin Cosme to Savina discussing Maximillian, Napoleon III, and the Iturbide family.

ACCESSION DATA: Purchased, 1994.

BULK DATES: 1819 - 1867
SPAN DATES: 1819 - 1867

EXTENT: 1 box



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