No, Mexico did not definitively beat Spain in any major wars between the two countries. While Mexico did achieve independence from Spain in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence, this was not the result of a clear military victory over Spanish forces. Rather, political instability and uprisings across Spain’s American colonies led to Spain granting Mexico its independence without a full military defeat.
Some key events that contributed to Mexico’s independence include the following:
– In 1808, Napolean invaded Spain, destabilizing Spanish control over its American colonies. This gave an opening for independence movements to gain traction.
– In 1810, Mexican priest Miguel Hidalgo issued the Cry of Dolores calling for independence, sparking a mass uprising against Spanish rule. Hidalgo’s forces achieved some early victories, but were ultimately defeated and Hidalgo was executed in 1811.
– In 1813, Jose Maria Morelos took over the rebellion and won key battles against Spanish forces. He was able to control large parts of southern Mexico before being defeated in 1815.
– In 1821, military leader Agustin de Iturbide joined forces with rebel leader Vicente Guerrero to negotiate the Plan of Iguala. This formed a revolutionary alliance between insurgents and those still loyal to Spain but demanding independence.
– Later that year, Spanish viceroy Juan O’Donojú signed the Treaty of Córdoba, recognizing Mexico’s independence. This treaty was made possible by Spain’s instability and inability to commit resources to retaking Mexico.
So while Mexican forces did win some engagements against Spanish troops during the independence war, Spain was not conclusively defeated militarily. Mexico’s independence was primarily achieved through political turnover, divisions among Spanish loyalists, and Spain’s inability to fully quell all independence uprisings across its American colonies.
Mexico’s Struggle for Independence from Spain
For over 300 years, Mexico was part of the Spanish Empire. Spain conquered the Aztec civilization in 1521 and colonized the region of New Spain. Over time, grievances grew against Spanish exploitation and resentment increased among the Mexican people. This eventually led to the spark of the independence movement in 1810.
Some key factors that contributed to the drive for Mexican independence include:
– Taxes and tariffs imposed by Spanish authorities that limited trade and industry for Mexican farmers and peasants.
– Wealth gaps between Spanish born Spaniards and American born Spaniards, with power concentrated in the hands of the Spanish elite.
– The spread of Enlightenment ideals about freedom, democracy, and self-governance that inspired rebellion against colonial powers.
– Napoleon’s invasion of Spain in 1808 which threw the Spanish government into chaos and weakened its ability to control its colonies.
The early stages of the independence war were led by Catholic priests like Father Miguel Hidalgo who were able to influence large groups of peasants to join the rebellion. Hidalgo’s forces were able to capture some key cities like Guanajuato early on. However, he was eventually defeated and executed by the Spanish in 1811.
Another priest, Father José María Morelos, took control of the rebellion and had more success against the Spanish from 1811-1815. Under his leadership, most of southern Mexico was liberated from Spanish control. But he too was eventually surrounded and killed by the Spanish army.
After Morelos’ death, the rebellion stalled for several years but was reignited in 1820 under military leader Agustín de Iturbide. He joined forces with revolutionary Vicente Guerrero and formed an alliance between insurgents and those still loyal to Spain but seeking independence. Their combined forces and the political pact formed in the Plan of Iguala gave the independence movement renewed vigor.
In 1821, Iturbide and Spanish leader Juan O’Donojú signed the Treaty of Córdoba which recognized Mexican independence. Thus, while there was around 11 years of on and off warfare, at no point did a decisive Mexican military victory force Spain to grant independence. It was a long, hard fought struggle, but Spain’s instability from Napoleonic invasions resulted more in Mexico seizing an opportunity rather than outright defeating Spanish forces.
Major Battles between Mexican and Spanish Forces
While there was no definitive military victory over Spain, Mexican forces did win some important battles during the independence war:
Battle of Monte de las Cruces
This 1810 battle was among the first major engagements between Mexican insurgents and Spanish forces. The well-trained Spanish cavalry was routed by Father Hidalgo’s large, undisciplined peasant army armed mainly with sticks, stones, and machetes. The surprising victory emboldened the rebels.
Battle of Calderón Bridge
In 1811, Father Hidalgo’s 80,000 rebels engaged a smaller but better armed Spanish force on Calderón Bridge outside Guadalajara. The undisciplined rebels were decisively defeated, ending the first stage of the independence movement. Hidalgo retreated toward the United States but was eventually caught and executed.
Siege of Cuautla
After Morelos took command in 1812, he defeated Spanish forces in several battles in southern Mexico. In 1812, he fought off a 63-day siege by 2,300 Spanish soldiers in the city of Cuautla with just 1,000 men. His men held the city but suffered heavy losses.
Battle of Tehuitzingo
In 1815, the tables had turned and Morelos was surrounded by Spanish forces under general Don Félix María Calleja at Tehuitzingo. After losing 700 men, Morelos broke through the siege but could not regain momentum. He was captured and executed a year later, representing the end of the second phase of the insurgency.
Battle of Azcapotzalco
The decisive battle that led to Mexico’s independence in 1821. Insurgent leader Iturbide defeated elite Spanish royalist forces led by captain-general Don Francisco Novella. This victory secured control of Mexico City for Iturbide and forced Spanish leaders to negotiate an end to the war.
So in conclusion, while Mexico won important engagements throughout the 11-year war, Spain was never fully defeated via a complete military rout. Mexico opportunistically achieved independence when instability in Spain weakened its control over New Spain.
The Treaty of Córdoba and Recognition of Mexican Independence
The Treaty of Córdoba, signed on August 24, 1821, officially marked Mexico’s independence from Spain. The treaty was signed by two key leaders of the Mexican independence movement and Spanish colonial authorities:
– Agustín de Iturbide – Military leader of the Mexican forces who initially fought for Spain against the insurgents. He later switched sides and joined rebel leader Vicente Guerrero, unifying Mexican factions.
– Juan O’Donojú – The last Spanish viceroy appointed to Mexico, who arrived in 1821 during the final phase of the war. He acted on behalf of Spain in negotiating Mexican independence.
Some key points of the Treaty of Córdoba included:
– Recognition of Mexico as a sovereign, independent nation free from Spanish rule. This ended over 300 years of colonial rule.
– Alliance between former Spanish loyalists and the rebel factions that had fought for independence. This created a unified new Mexican government.
– Guarantees of Mexican ownership of any lands under Spanish control and ensuring Spain renounced any claims to Mexican territory.
– Provision of pensions and land grants to veterans of the Spanish colonial army to create goodwill.
– Preservation of Catholicism as the official, sole religion in the newly independent Mexico.
The treaty was the result of instability within Spain that left it unable to continue fighting to retain control of Mexico. Napoleon’s invasion and the political chaos in Spain meant it could no longer commit huge military resources across the Atlantic.
While there was not a single military victory that forced Spain’s recognition of Mexican independence, the insurgents had clearly made the colonial occupation unsustainable. Mexico had in essence won a war of attrition and exhaustion against a weakened Spanish empire.
The signing of the Treaty of Córdoba officially brought the Mexican War of Independence to an end. It paved the way for Mexico to emerge as an independent nation and brought centuries of colonial rule under Spain to a close.
Lasting Impact on Relations between Mexico and Spain
While Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1821, it took several more decades to fully sever ties with its former colonial master:
– Spain did not recognize Mexican independence until 1836, when Queen Isabella II formally recognized Mexico as an independent republic.
– Mexico made payments to Spain as compensation for Spanish property lost in the independence war. This was part of the Treaty of Córdoba.
– Mexico owed debts to Spain dating back to colonial times. Full repayment of this debt did not occur until the 1880s.
– Texas, which was part Mexican territory, declared independence in 1836 leading to disputed borders. This was not resolved until the 1840s.
Trade and immigration between Mexico and Spain continued after independence:
– Wool exports from Mexico to Spain remained important for both countries’ economies through the end of the 19th century.
– Many Spanish businessmen remained in Mexico after independence and retained economic ties to Spain.
– Spanish immigration to Mexico picked up again in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reviving cultural connections.
So while no longer colonial master and subject, Mexico and Spain retained complex interconnections even after Mexican independence was won. The independence struggle left a mixed legacy in relations between the two countries.
In summary, Mexico did not achieve independence from Spain primarily through military victory on the battlefield. After 11 years of rebellion and warfare between 1810-1821, Mexican insurgent forces had won some notable battles. However, they did not decisively rout or conquer Spanish colonial forces across all of Mexico.
Instead, factors like political turmoil in Spain, growing divisions among Spanish loyalists in Mexico, and the spread of Enlightenment ideals created conditions for Mexico to break free from colonial rule. The Treaty of Córdoba formalized independence but was only possible because Spain lacked the capacity to continue fighting for control of Mexico.
So Mexico opportunistically seized independence, rather than winning it through comprehensive defeat of the Spanish military. Nevertheless, the end of three centuries of colonial rule was an enormous achievement for Mexico. It shifted the course of Mexican history and culture profoundly. Independence from Spain allowed Mexico to finally emerge as a sovereign nation.