In Mexico’s history, Agustin de Iturbide (1783-1824) marked a before and after. A strategist and military leader of unparalleled ability, he achieved goals that had eluded previous pro-independence figures. Learn about the life of the most important Mexican in the second phase of the Mexican independence struggle in the biography of Agustin de Iturbide.

Summary of Agustin de Iturbide’s biography

The index

  • Education in the church

  • As a Spanish soldier, Augustin de Iturbide

  • An alliance for the future

  • Córdoba’s treaties

  • Agustin de Iturbide, Emperor

  • You are the target of conspiracies

  • The rebels must be fought

  • Execution of Agustin de Iturbide

The education of the clergy

Agustin Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Arámburu was born in the state of Michoacán in 1783 in Morelia. He was the fifth child of aristocratic couple Joaqun de Iturbide and Mara Joséfa de Arámburu and Carrillo de Figueroa. In order to study at the city’s seminary, the little boy’s parents, two very devout Catholics, sent him there.

In the different properties his father owned, Agustin de Iturbide began working as an assistant at a very young age. Due to the strict education given by Joaqun, the young man developed an exceptional level of discipline and responsibility. In the mid-1800s, these qualities led him to join the Spanish army. During this period, he married Ana Mara Huarte, the daughter of the province’s governor.

In the Spanish army, Augustin de Iturbide

During the first years of the independence movement, Agustin de Iturbide accumulated prestige among the Spanish troops for his outstanding work. Throughout his career, he developed his physical abilities and was praised for his strategic thinking and bravery. He was later promoted to colonel and assigned to Celaya, Guanajuato. Although the Spanish army had controlled the first phase of the independence revolution, it remained fearful of new movements.

Augustin de Iturbide was a member of the criollos, a group of young Mexicans with Spanish parents who supported the Crown. Creoles and their leaders lost power within the Viceroyalty of Mexico after certain constitutional changes. There was an increase in instabilities that had not yet been observed in certain sectors of the population as a result of this. In the midst of such tensions, De Iturbide received orders to capture Vicente Guerrero, an allied commander.

An alliance for the future

They discussed the need to make Mexico an independent territory when they met for the first time. Insurgents and criollos formed an alliance in secret. Criollos received the Iguala plan, a 23-article essay that served as the axis of the coalition. Essentially, the letter called for the establishment of an independent monarchy that would provide greater benefits to the natives.


After more than 10 years of conflict, the Iguala plan managed to unite sectors. There were three fundamental promises in the motion: the independence of Mexico, Catholicism as the only religion on the territory, and racial equality. As a result of these three concepts, the insurgents, the clergy, and the Creoles were convinced, respectively.

As a result, the peninsulares-Spaniards born in Spain but residing in Mexico-end up supporting Iguala. King Ferdinand VII was offered the chance to govern Mexico as part of the treaty, which won the support of this sector. The monarch, however, rejected the proposal from Spain and sent Juan O’Donoj* to restore the viceroyalty and government in Mexico City.

Córdoba’s treaties

After arriving in the capital, Juan O’Donojú found the country on the verge of independence. In recognition that his military forces could not compete with such an alliance, he agreed to meet with Agustin de Iturbide. De Iturbide accepted the meeting with the intelligence and diplomacy he was known for. Both parties signed the Treaties of Córdoba, securing Mexico’s independence.

The Córdoba treaties designated Agustín de Iturbide as the head of the government junta that would govern the Mexican Empire. There are a number of representatives of the various sectors involved in this coalition, though it would not end until the Spanish Crown appointed a ruler for the country. The king and all the Spanish princes, however, refused to lead the new independent territory.

Agustin de Iturbide, Emperor

The idea of Agustin de Iturbide as the new regent of Mexico emerged as uncertainty grew. Congress of the Mexican Empire formally elected him in May 1822 after partially convincing different allied sectors. Upon taking office in July of that year, he became Emperor Agustin I. Ana María, his wife, was designated empress in a ceremony attended by priests from different states.

Please note

History is unclear as to whether Agustin de Iturbide seized power due to popular outcry or as a result of complicated political circumstances. According to historical records, he had support from a variety of sectors who saw him as the liberator of Mexico, whereas more recent records indicate that Congress made the decision unilaterally.

Before accepting the position of emperor, Agustin de Iturbide controlled most of the movements of the Mexican Empire. Among the armed forces, he was the top leader. Aside from making economic decisions, he was in charge of arranging passports, work licenses, and trade agreements.

Against you, conspiracies are afoot

In response to Iguala’s plan, Agustin de Iturbide was named emperor. In the event that a European regent refused to accept the throne, a local ruler would be elected by the congress. Most Spanish, however, were not prepared for this scenario and were unhappy with the results. These sectors of the population conspired against the Empire despite being a minority. The president was followed by members of Congress who opposed him.

As time passed, more congressmen turned against Agustn de Iturbide and considered a monarchy as the worst thing for Mexico. Congress failed to write even a draft of a new constitution for the Empire after six months despite being ordered to do so by the emperor. In response to the rumors of conspiracy, De Iturbide closed the parliament on October 31, 1822.

In place of the congress, Agustn de Iturbide established a National Instituteing Board that would answer only to the emperor. Once new laws had been established in the empire, the regent believed the instability would end. Reps from allied sectors, however, considered that closing the congress mocked popular representation. Vicente Guerrero, his former best ally, was one of these leaders.

Defeat the rebels

Vicente Guerrero and Antonio López de Santa Anna led the rebels in the provinces near Mexico City. Santa Anna was not captured by the army that Agustin de Iturbide sent, but he was stopped by the army sent by him. While new troops joined his cause, the insurgent leader took refuge in Veracruz. As a result of his situation, De Iturbide resigned in March 1823 and reinstated the congress.

After being sentenced to exile, Agustin de Iturbide and his family moved to Europe in May 1823. His essays reflect on his life during his time on the old continent. These writings show that he never wanted to be emperor or run the country he had liberated. Moreover, he expressed concern about Spain’s obvious intention to conquer Mexico again. The Crown offered him the opportunity to participate in the reconquest, but he declined.

Agustin de Iturbide’s execution

Agustin de Iturbide wrote a letter to the Mexican congress in February 1824 offering his support against a possible Spanish attack. Different conservative political groups suggested that he return, believing that he would be welcomed as the liberating hero, despite the fact that he never received an answer. In the company of his family, De Iturbide returned to Mexico to motivate the people.

In my weakness or condescension, I allowed myself to occupy a throne created for others. Agustin de Iturbide

As soon as his ship docked in Tamaulipas, General Felipe de la Garza detained Agustin de Iturbide. The congress declared him an outlaw and traitor to the country, so a court in Padilla sentenced him to death. On July 19, 1824, de Iturbide was executed, causing outrage among Mexicans but relief in Congress, which saw him as a revolutionary threat.

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