Mariano Abasolo: Biography, Conspiracies, Battles

Mariano Abasolo was a Mexican military man who participated in the first stage of the War of Independence. Although he had little military participation, his economic contribution to the cause was notable, as was his work in the control and distribution of weapons within the insurgent army.

Before Miguel Hidalgo launched the Grito de Dolores and began the war against the colonial authorities, Abasolo had had some participation in the conspiracies of Valladolid and Querétaro. Both were dismantled by the forces of the viceroyalty, but the then captain of the Queen’s Dragon Regiment managed to escape.

Portrait of Mariano Abasolo

The first battles of the war were favorable to the independentistas and Abasolo rose through the ranks until he became head of the rebel troops after the defeat suffered by Miguel Hidalgo at Puente de Calderón.

The viceregal army’s counterattack caused the main insurgent leaders, including Mariano Abasolo, to try to escape to the United States in search of support. Before they could cross the border, they were detained.

The intervention of his wife, María Manuela Rojas Taboada, and his statement at the trial, in which he reduced his importance within the independence movement, saved him from being shot along with the rest of his former colleagues. Instead, he was sentenced to life in prison.

Article index

  • one

    Early years

  • two

    Start of the War of Independence

    • 2.1

      Conspiracies of Valladolid and Querétaro

    • 2.2

      Economical support

    • 23

      Insurgent army

    • 2.4

      Battle of Puente de Calderón

    • 2.5

      Arrest

    • 2.6

      Judgment

    • 2.7

      Death

  • 3

    References

Early years

José Mariano Sixto de Abasolo y Rodríguez de Outón was born in Dolores (Guanajuato), into a family of rich landowners, on March 29, 1873.

His father’s inheritance was large and his fortune rose when he was joined by that of his wife, María Manuela Taboada, the daughter of another wealthy Spaniard.

While still very young he enlisted in the army of the viceroyalty, in which he rose to become, in 1810, at only 27 years old, captain of the Provincial Regiment of Dragoons of the Queen. When the War of Independence began, he was stationed in the town of San Miguel.

Start of the War of Independence

Conspiracies of Valladolid and Querétaro

In a context of discontent on the part of the Creoles of the viceroyalty and after the Napoleonic invasion of Spain, the idea of ​​achieving greater self-government began to appear. In 1809, a group of New Hispanics conspired in Valladolid (now Morelia) to form their own Governing Board.

Among the conspirators were some high-ranking soldiers of the viceregal army, such as Ignacio Allende or José Mariano de Michelena. Abasolo, although he would later deny it, also participated in that conspiracy.

Portrait of Ignacio Allende

The conspiracy was discovered by the authorities, who gave an order to arrest the participants. Among those who managed to escape were Abasolo and Allende.

The two soldiers joined a new conspiracy, this time in Querétaro. It was Ignacio Allende who invited Abasolo to participate.

Again, the authorities discovered the intentions of the conspirators and only the warning of Josefa Ortiz Domínguez, the wife of the mayor of Querétaro, in whose house the meetings were held, allowed them to escape being detained.

Economical support

Despite his performance in the trial to which he was subjected, Abasolo always maintained his loyalty to the insurgents and his friend Allende. His good economic position allowed him to contribute funds to his cause, specifically about forty thousand gold pesos.

His first active participation in the conflict occurred during the same night that Miguel Hidalgo prepared his call to undertake the fight, on September 15, 1810. That day in the town of Dolores, Abasolo led a small troop to seize the weapons and the ammunition that were kept in an arsenal.

After the Grito de Dolores, Hidalgo and Allende left the town with those who had decided to join the movement. Abasolo, however, did not accompany them, but sent a message to the commander of the San Miguel regiment reporting what was happening, but the messenger was intercepted.

Abasolo left the next day and arrived at San Miguel el Grande accompanied by his mother, his wife, and their son. Hidalgo, who did not see him very convinced, put two servants to take care of the family. With this, he tried to leave him without the excuse that he did not want to leave his relatives alone.

Insurgent army

In San Miguel itself, Abasolo began to distribute the weapons that he had taken from the arsenal. Later, the insurgents left for Celaya, a city they took without encountering resistance. In that locality, Abasolo was appointed captain.

The next destination was Guanajuato, with a previous step through Valladolid. Insurgents besieged the city, which finally fell into their hands, on September 30. During the attack, in the so-called Toma de la Alhóndiga de Granaditas, the rebels committed an enormous massacre against the Spanish. Abasolo, as he declared at his trial, did not participate in the battle.

Taking of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, September 28, 1810

A few days later, Hidalgo mobilized his troops for Mexico City. Before arriving in the capital, he appointed Abasolo field marshal.

Miguel Hidalgo. Behind you can see the Virgin of Guadalupe

On October 30, the victory of the insurgents in the battle of Monte de las Cruces, in which Abasolo did participate, seemed to leave the way clear to take the capital. However, Hidalgo did not want to risk a repeat of the Alhóndiga massacre and ordered a retreat.

Battle of Puente de Calderón

While Abasolo was participating in these battles, his house in Dolores was raided and looted. His wife had to flee with her son and seek refuge in Valladolid, where she thought her husband was.

This, however, was at that time in Aculco, where a battle took place that ended in insurgent defeat. Later, he accompanied Allende to Guanajuato, where he remained until November 25, when the city was reconquered by viceregal troops led by Félix María Calleja.

Felix Calleja

Felix Maria Calleja

Abasolo and Allende moved to Guadalajara, where they met with Hidalgo. The priest had had to flee Valladolid with Abasolo’s wife, who was finally able to reunite with her husband.

The defeat in the battle of Puente de Calderón, on January 17, 1811, caused Hidalgo to be stripped of the leadership of the troops. In addition, the independence leader had to flee north, with the intention of finding reinforcements and, ultimately, requesting help in the United States.

Arrest

After the defeat at the Calderón Bridge, Allende, who had also decided to march towards the United States, proposed to Abasolo that he take charge of maintaining the insurgency in Saltillo, but the military did not accept.

At that time, Abasolo’s wife had taken steps to obtain a pardon for her husband. While waiting to obtain it, he preferred to leave the country, so he accompanied the independence leaders on their way to the United States.

The treachery of Ignacio Elizondo caused the procession to be ambushed by the Spanish on March 21, 1811. Thus, in the town of Acatita de Baján, the insurgent leaders were arrested and, later, taken to Chihuahua to be tried.

Ignacio Elizondo captures Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende, Mariano Abasolo and others

Judgment

The performance of Mariano Abasolo during his trial was very controversial and has caused, even today, there are doubts about his commitment to the independence cause.

Abasolo was the first to be tried and in his statements he did not hesitate to accuse all his colleagues. His words were the guide for the rest of the interrogations.

The military man claimed that he had not had any knowledge about the uprising until after it had started. In addition, he pointed out that he had tried to warn the colonel of the Dragon Regiment of what was happening, so that the revolution led by Hidalgo would not be successful.

On the other hand, Abasolo declared that he asked Hidalgo not to force him to follow him and that he never had responsibility for arms control or for any important matter.

During the trial, Abasolo also denied having participated in the taking of Alhóndiga de Granaditas and that his presence in the battle of Calderón was only due to his desire not to arouse the distrust of his companions. In addition, he accused Hidalgo of forcing him to hand over money to the insurgents.

Death

The main independence leaders, including Hidalgo and Allende, were sentenced to death and shot a few days later. Abasolo, for his part, escaped execution and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In addition to his statement, Abasolo was saved from being shot thanks to his wife, María Manuela Rojas. She had good contacts among the high-ranking politicians of the viceroyalty and was in charge of requesting a pardon for her husband.

The woman even went to look for the document in person thanks to a safe conduct provided by Félix María Calleja himself.

However, Abasolo had to serve his life sentence. The Spanish imprisoned him in the castle of Santa Catalina, in Cádiz (Spain). There he died on April 14, 1816 due to pulmonary tuberculosis caused by the unsanitary conditions of his cell.

References

  1. Moreno, Victor; Ramírez, María E .; and others. Mariano Abasolo. Obtained from Buscabiografias.com
  2. Royal Academy of History. Mariano Abasolo. Obtained from dbe.rah.es
  3. Center for the Study of History of Mexico. Mariano Abasolo. Retrieved from wikimexico.com
  4. The Biography. Biography of José Mariano de Abasolo (1783-1812). Retrieved from thebiography.us
  5. Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. Abasolo, Mariano (c. 1783–1816). Retrieved from encyclopedia.com
  6. WikiMili. Mariano Abasolo. Retrieved from wikimili.com
  7. Know Learn. Biography of Mariano Abasolo. Obtained from independencedemexico.com.mx

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