Captaincy General of Guatemala
Captaincy general of the First Mexican Empire
A map of the First Mexican Empire (1822–1823), with Central America shown in pink.

A map of the First Mexican Empire (1822–1823), with Central America shown in pink.
DemonymCentral American
• 1822–1823[1]
445,683 km2 (172,079 sq mi)
 • TypeCaptaincy general
Head of State[a] 
• 1822–1823
Agustín de Iturbide
• 1823
Captain general 
• 1822
Gabino Gaínza
• 1822; 1823
Vicente Filísola
• 1822–1823
Felipe Codallos
Historical eraDecolonization of the Americas
• Annexation requested
28 November 1821
• Annexed by Mexico
5 January 1822
• Agustín's abdication
19 March 1823
• Independence declared
1 July 1823
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Captaincy General of Guatemala
United Provinces of Central America
Supreme Executive Power

From January 1822 to July 1823, the five Central American nations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua were controlled by the First Mexican Empire, and briefly, the Supreme Executive Power. Collectively known as the Captaincy General of Guatemala (Spanish: Capitanía General de Guatemala), each nation was one of the five southernmost provinces of the Mexican Empire. This incorporation of Central America brought Mexico to the height of its territorial extent.

Only two months after the Act of Independence of Central America was signed in September 1821, Regent of Mexico Agustín de Iturbide, who later became the emperor of Mexico in May 1822, made a formal request to the Central American government to accept annexation to the Mexican Empire. His request was accepted by the Consultive Junta of Guatemala City on 5 January 1822. Despite the acceptance by the Guatemalan-based government, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and parts of Nicaragua resisted Mexican annexation, forcing Mexican and allied Guatemalan soldiers to forcefully subjugate the rebellious regions of Central America.

Mexican and allied Guatemalan forces were commanded by Brigadier Vicente Filísola, who was serving as the captain general of the Central American provinces. They spent just over a year on a campaign to forcefully annex El Salvador, which ended in a Mexican victory and El Salvador's annexation in February 1823. In Costa Rica, the government declared independence from Mexico in October 1822, however, a coup by pro-Mexican monarchists in March 1823 led to the outbreak of a civil war. The Ochomogo War of April 1823 deposed the monarchist government and reestablished the secessionist government. Meanwhile, a rebellion in Nicaragua led by José Anacleto Ordóñez sought to overthrow the incumbent Nicaraguan government.

Before Filísola could continue to Nicaragua and Costa Rica after his victory in El Salvador, Agustín was forced to abdicate the Mexican imperial throne and go into exile, and a provisional government was established after the abolition of the monarchy. As a result, Filísola abandoned his orders to continue the conquest of Central America and convened a congress of Central American political leaders to determine the future of Central America.

On 1 July 1823, the Central American congress declared independence from Mexico and established the United Provinces of Central America, later known as the Federal Republic of Central America, which existed until its dissolution in 1841 after the First and Second Central American Civil Wars. Not all of Central America chose to become independent, however, as the region of Chiapas remained a part of Mexico and is now one of the country's 31 states.

Independence of New Spain

Mexican independence

A 19th-century document which declared Mexico
A 19th-century document which declared Central America
The declarations of independence of Mexico (left) and Central America (right).

On 16 September 1810, criollo priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla issued the Cry of Dolores, beginning the Mexican War of Independence from the Spanish Empire in New Spain—Spain's colony that encompassed modern-day Mexico, Central America, and the southwestern United States.[5] His declaration was made as a result of Napoleon's invasion of Spain, which overthrew Spanish King Ferdinand VII and replaced him with Napoleon's brother, Joseph I.[6] Although Ferdinand VII was restored in 1814, the constitution of 1812 was suspended, and some in New Spain were not satisfied with his reign. In 1820, high-ranking military officers in New Spain demanded that the constitution be reinstated.[7]

On 24 February 1821, Agustín de Iturbide, a Mexican general fighting for independence, published his Plan of the Three Guarantees in the city of Iguala, outlining his vision for the new independent Mexican state. It included the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. It also issued special protections to the Catholic Church, which would also be declared as the state religion; to the army; and to both people of European descent and mestizos (people of mixed-European and indigenous ancestry).[8][9][10] Agustín invited Ferdinand VII, any member of his immediate family, or any other Spanish Bourbon prince to rule as the emperor of Mexico.[11] Until an emperor could be appointed, Agustín held the position of president of the regency council unopposed.[2]

After 11 years of war between Mexican independence forces and Spanish royalist forces, Mexico attained full independence in 1821 with the Treaty of Córdoba on 24 August and the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire on 28 September.[12]

Central American independence

Central America, which had been administered as a colony of Spain under the Captaincy General of Guatemala (also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala) since 1568,[13] launched attempted rebellions in 1811 and 1814 [es] to gain independence. Both attempts were suppressed by Spanish forces.[14][15] Despite the opposition to independence by some Central American leaders, such as Gabino Gaínza,[16] on 15 September 1821, Central America declared independence from Spain with the Act of Independence of Central America, signed in Guatemala City.[17][18] Independence was pursued in part because of Agustín's Plan of the Three Guarantees, which was very popular within Central America.[19]

Upon independence the Captaincy General of Guatemala was abolished and the former provinces of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua became semi-independent nations under a provisional national government—the Consultive Junta—which was established in Guatemala to help form a formal federal government for Central America.[20] Elections for a permanent government were scheduled to occur on 1 March 1822.[21][22] The Spanish-appointed provincial governors remained in place and continued to exercise their authority after independence was declared.[18][b] The independence of Central America was not considered to be a priority by Spain, due to its relative insignificance in comparison to their other colonies of New Granada, New Spain, and Peru, which they were still fighting for control of.[18]

Central American infighting over annexation

Immediately after independence, the idea of annexation to Mexico divided the Central American ruling class.[26] Monarchist politicians preferred annexation due to their ideological alignment to the Mexican Empire and their belief that Central America was "unable to handle the problems of independence alone".[27] Additionally, others argued that annexation would help diversify the region's economy, which was mostly dependent on indigo exports, and open trade to Mexico and Europe.[28] Meanwhile, more nationalist and republican politicians opposed annexation and wished to retain independence due to their ideological differences with Mexico.[29][30]

Spanish military officer Gabino Gaínza, who had assumed the political leadership of both Guatemala and the Consultive Junta under the title of Superior Political Chief,[31] was in favor of annexation, as was Bishop Nicolás García Jerez of Nicaragua and the Aycinena clan [es] of Guatemala. Politicians from the cities of León and Comayagua were also in favor.[29][32] Although most indigenous Central Americans did not have an opinion on the issue of annexation, the K'iche', the largest Guatemalan indigenous group, were in favor of annexation.[33]

Manuel José Arce, a Salvadoran politician and a leading republican figure, was one of the primary opponents to annexation. Although some parts of El Salvador sought annexation, the capital city, San Salvador, firmly supported independence.[34] On 4 October 1821, Arce was arrested along with several other Salvadoran politicians by Pedro Barriere, the conservative political chief of El Salvador. Arce was arrested for calling on Barriere to hold elections to elect a delegation to be sent to the Consultive Junta. As a result, the Consultive Junta decided to remove Barriere on 11 October 1821 and replace him with Salvadoran priest José Matías Delgado, freeing Arce in the process.[35][36][c] Meanwhile, Costa Ricans were initially opposed to independence from Spain; at that time, there was no definitive consensus as to whether Costa Rica favored or opposed annexation.[30][38] Gaínza did not wish to hold a meeting of Central America's political leaders, fearing that disagreements from the meeting could contribute to the outbreak of a civil war within Central America.[36]

"My object is only to manifest to you that the present interest of Mexico and Guatemala is so identical or indivisible that they cannot constitute themselves in separate or independent nations without risking the security of each..."

Agustín de Iturbide, 28 November 1821[33][39]

Agustín I, Emperor of Mexico
Agustín I, Emperor of Mexico

On 28 November 1821, Gaínza received a letter from Agustín formally requesting the annexation of Central America into the Mexican Empire.[40] In the letter, Agustín stated that stability and security in Central America could only be possible if it joined a union with Mexico.[33] He claimed to be seeking harmony with the Central American people, but he also stated that he was sending soldiers to Central America to ensure that order would be protected.[41] On 20 November 1821, Agustín had already sent 200 soldiers into Chiapas, which declared its separation from Guatemala on 26 September 1821,[42] to seize control of the area.[43]

In response to the letter, Gaínza ordered all 237 municipalities across Central America to publish Agustín's letter, hold open cabildos (municipal councils where citizens could give their input on government decisions), and vote on annexation within thirty days.[41] The result of the open cabildos was a decision in favor of complete annexation without any conditions.[44][45]

Results of the open cabildos on annexation to the Mexican Empire[44][45]
Choice Votes[d] %
In favor of complete annexation checkY 104 61.18
In favor of annexation with certain conditions 11 6.47
In favor of letting the Consultive Junta decide 32 18.82
In opposition of annexation until a new government is elected 21 12.35
In total opposition of annexation 2 1.18
Total votes 170 100.00
Turnout 170/237 71.73

Although the issued final report of the poll did not wait for the results of the 67 remaining open cabildos to be counted and did not give exact details on how each municipality voted, Gaínza assured the public that the 104 municipalities which voted in favor of complete annexation without any conditions represented a majority of the population.[45] As such, on 5 January 1822, the Consultive Junta voted in unconditional support for the annexation of Central America to the Mexican Empire.[44] As a result of the annexation, Mexico reached the height of its territorial extent,[1] and the people of Central America were automatically granted Mexican citizenship.[46] The Consultive Junta was dissolved on 21 February 1822.[47]

The Act of Union of the Provinces of Central America with the Mexican Empire, which formalized Central America's annexation to Mexico, was signed by fourteen people. The fourteen signatories were:[48]

Annexation and subsequent separatist conflicts

Brigadier Vicente Filísola was appointed by Agustín to command the Mexican soldiers to occupy Central America and solidify Mexican control in the region.[49] The active resistance against the annexation was in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Republican politicians in El Salvador attempted to usurp authority of Central America from Guatemala City and lead a region-wide resistance to Mexican occupation.[46][50]

Suppression of Salvadoran resistance

Mexican annexation of El Salvador
DateJanuary 1822 – 9 February 1823
Result Mexican victory
 El Salvador
Commanders and leaders
5,000 <1,000
Casualties and losses

Arce and Delgado organized an armed Salvadoran resistance and prepared to engage in battle with Mexican forces.[51] Gaínza, who was serving as the captain general of Central America,[52] dedicated Guatemalan soldiers to support the Mexicans in March 1822 and placed them under the command of Chilean Sergeant José Nicolás de Abós y Padilla [es]. Salvadoran and Guatemalan forces clashed in the town of El Espinal on 3 March 1822, ending in a Salvadoran victory which forced Abós y Padilla's soldiers to retreat.[53] Gaínza discharged Abós y Padilla and replaced him with Manuel Arzú on 19 March 1822, and also supplied him with more soldiers. Arzú's army succeeded in occupying San Salvador on 5 April 1822 and forced Salvadoran soldiers to abandon the city.[51]

Filísola remained in Chiapas as Guatemalan forces occupied San Salvador. After requests from the Guatemalan government for his presence, Filísola arrived at Guatemala City on 12 June 1822.[54] He succeeded Gaínza as the captain general and political chief of Central America on 23 June 1822.[55][56] On 30 August 1822, Filísola negotiated an armistice with El Salvador, ending tensions between Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador.[57] The delegations which negotiated the armistice included Antonio José Cañas and Juan Francisco Sosa from El Salvador, and Colonel Felipe Codallos and Lieutenant Colonel José Luis González Ojeda from Guatemala.[57][58]

Filísola sent a message of the armistice to Agustín,[59] who had assumed the throne of the Mexican Empire on 19 May 1822 becoming Emperor Agustín I.[3] Agustín rejected the armistice. He believed that the armistice was not enough to ensure the loyalty of El Salvador, and ordered Filísola to again occupy San Salvador and extract a total submission to Mexican authority from its government.[60] Additionally, on 10 November 1822, the Salvadoran congress declared that it was not able to ratify the armistice, and that El Salvador would defend its rights with force.[61]

Following Agustín's orders, Filísola exited Guatemala City on 11 November 1822 with 2,000 troops to occupy San Salvador.[50][62][63] In response to Filísola's invasion, Delgado sent a message to the Mexican government offering full annexation on the sole condition that representatives from El Salvador would be allowed to participate in the formulation of the new Mexican constitution.[63] Before Filísola's forces invaded El Salvador, the Salvadoran government junta sent an envoy of diplomats to Washington, D.C. to formally request annexation to the United States in an attempt to avoid being completely conquered by Mexican forces.[64][65] During this time, a rumor spread in El Salvador that the United States had sent an expeditionary force of 1,500 soldiers to enforce the annexation, but no such expedition existed.[66] The envoy arrived in mid-1823, but they were not invited to meet either President James Monroe or Secretary of State John Quincy Adams. By then, the Mexican Empire had already collapsed.[67]

On 7 December 1822, Filísola occupied the Salvadoran city of Coatepeque. Although the Mexican army numbered 5,000 soldiers and the Salvadoran forces numbered less than 1,000 and were armed with only machetes and spears, Filísola recognized that attempting to subjugate the rebel army would be difficult; on 21 December 1822, he was informed that Arce's soldiers had fortified themselves in the cities of San Miguel, San Martín, and Cojutepeque, and that Delgado's symbolic religious support was boosting public morale in San Salvador.[68] Filísola issued an ultimatum to Arce on 14 January 1823, stating that annexation to the United States was hopeless and that annexation to the Mexican Empire was inevitable; Arce sent Filísola a response the following day, rejecting the ultimatum.[69]

After the rejection, Mexican forces marched on Apopa and Ayutuxtepeque on 7 February 1823, all while being attacked by Salvadoran soldiers using guerrilla tactics.[70] The Salvadoran soldiers defending San Salvador fled the city that same day, and two days later, on 9 February 1823, Filísola captured San Salvador.[71][72][73] The Salvadoran soldiers who fled the city retreated to Honduras under the command of Mariano Prado, where they surrendered to Filísola near the town of Gualcince on 21 February 1823.[74][75][76]

Civil war in Costa Rica

Further information: Ochomogo War

Monarchist Joaquín de Oreamuno attempted to keep Costa Rica a part of the Mexican Empire by force.
Monarchist Joaquín de Oreamuno attempted to keep Costa Rica a part of the Mexican Empire by force.

The Electoral Junta was established in Costa Rica on 5 January 1822, abolishing the Interim Junta which had governed Costa Rica since December 1821. On 10 January 1822, the Electoral Junta approved Costa Rica's annexation to the Mexican Empire.[77][78] The Electoral Junta was succeeded by the Superior Gubernatorial Junta [es] on 13 January 1822, and its president, Rafael Barroeta y Castilla [es], began preparations for elections which would determine Costa Rica's representatives in the Mexican Constituent Congress [es]. The election was held on 31 January 1822.[79]

When Agustín abolished the Constituent Congress in October 1822, without a new constitution being drafted, some Costa Ricans became frustrated with the Mexican emperor. The frustrations divided Costa Rican politicians on whether to remain with Mexico or to secede. On 8 March 1823, the Superior Gubernatorial Junta voted to secede from Mexico, declaring: "The Province of Costa Rica shall be absolutely free and independent of any power, therefore in the use of its rights and the current congress in the exercise of its sovereignty."[79][80] The declaration of independence was not universally agreed upon by all Costa Rican politicians, leading to a civil conflict among the Costa Rican ruling class between those in favor of independence (republicans) and those in favor of remaining with Mexico (monarchists).[79]

On 14 March 1823, the Superior Gubernatorial Junta was dissolved in favor of the Provincial Deputation led by Rafael Francisco Osejo. Osejo and the new government, however, were overthrown in a coup d'état by monarchist Joaquín de Oreamuno on 29 March 1823.[81][82][83] Republican Gregorio José Ramírez was declared as the leader of Costa Rica in opposition of Oreamuno in the city of Alajuela on 1 April 1823.[81]

Ramírez led republican forces in battle against the monarchists on 5 April 1823 in the Battle of Ochomogo. The battle ended in a republican victory and the overthrow of Oreamuno. Afterwards, Ramírez assumed the position of supreme leader of Costa Rica.[83][84] Ramírez was succeeded by José María de Peralta on 16 April 1823, who was then succeeded by a second Superior Gubernatorial Junta led by Manuel Alvarado e Hidalgo [es] on 10 May 1823, which remained in power until September 1824.[85]

Unrest in Nicaragua

José Anacleto Ordóñez, a Nicaraguan soldier, merchant, and nationalist who opposed Mexican rule over Nicaragua, launched a rebellion against the pro-Mexican government on 16 January 1823. He and his supporters bloodlessly captured the military barracks in Granada. This was followed by a series of lootings and robberies by Ordóñez's supporters in the cities of Granada, Jinotepe, Juigalpa, and Masaya. The violence caused many in the affected cities to flee to Managua, which remained under the control of pro-Mexican forces.[86]

On 23 February 1823, Nicaraguan governor Miguel González Saravia y Colarte [es] forcibly recaptured Granada with an army of 1,000 soldiers,[75] forcing Ordóñez and his supporters to flee the city.[86] Ordóñez bestowed upon himself the title of caudillo and retreated to Masaya, where he continued his rebellion. On 17 April 1823, González Saravia stepped down as the governor of Nicaragua and was replaced by José Carmen Salazar. Five days later, Ordóñez's rebel forces captured Crisanto Sacasa, the pro-Mexican commander of Granada, and held him as a prisoner of war. Salazar attempted to make peace with Ordóñez's rebellion, but Ordoñez's rebellion continued well past the independence of Central America, resulting in Ordóñez overthrowing the government of Pablo Méndez in August 1824.[86]

Independence from Mexico

Abdication of Agustín

After the subjugation of El Salvador, Filísola planned to continue his campaign for Mexican control of Central America, including subjugating the rebellious city of Granada and solidifying control of Costa Rica. Before he could continue, however, he heard news about a military-led plot to depose Agustín.[87] Filísola returned to Guatemala City in March 1823, abandoning his orders to complete the annexation of Central America.[66][87]

The coat of arms of the Supreme Executive Power (1823–1824)
The coat of arms of the Supreme Executive Power (1823–1824)

As a result of the plot against him, Agustín abdicated the Mexican throne and go into exile on 19 March 1823, marking the end of the Mexican Empire.[88][89] In its place, three Mexican military officers—Nicolás Bravo, Guadalupe Victoria, and Pedro Negrete—established the Supreme Executive Power, serving as joint heads of state of a provisional government formed in the wake of the abolition of the Mexican monarchy.[4] On 29 March 1823, after news of Agustín's abdication reached Filísola, he called for the formation of a Central American congress to decide the future of Central America.[66][90][91] On 1 April 1823, the Mexican Constituent Congress instructed Mexican forces in Central America to cease hostilities with anti-annexation and republican forces, and Filísola expressed his support for the Central American people to determine their own "destiny".[92]

On 7 May 1823, Filísola appointed Codallos, who was his second-in-command during the campaign to annex El Salvador,[58] as the military chief of San Salvador in his absence. Less than one month later on 25 May 1823, Salvadorans managed to pressure Codallos and the garrison of 500 Mexican and Guatemalan soldiers under his command to leave San Salvador.[93] In his place, Salvadoran politicians and military leaders established another Consultive Junta, based in San Salvador. The junta was composed of Prado, Colonel José Justo Milla, and Colonel José Rivas. The junta was later dissolved on 17 June 1823 and Prado assumed sole governance of El Salvador.[94]

Central American congress

On 18 June 1823, the Mexican congress instructed Filísola to be in attendance of the upcoming session of the Central American congress and to maintain friendly relations in the hope that the congress would vote to remain a part of Mexico. The Mexican congress did instruct him, however, to respect the Central American congress' decision whether to remain in union with Mexico or to become an independent state.[95]

The flag of the newly-formed United Provinces of Central America, adopted on 21 August 1823[96]
The flag of the newly-formed United Provinces of Central America, adopted on 21 August 1823[96]

The session of the Central American congress began on 29 June 1823 with representatives from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico in attendance. Chiapas, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua stated that they would boycott the conference until Filísola resigned as captain general and withdrew all Mexican forces from Central America.[66][97][98] During the congress, 37 of the 41 representatives voted to appoint Delgado as the president of the congress, then known as the National Constituent Assembly of Central America.[99][100]

On 1 July 1823, the National Constituent Assembly of Central America issued the Decree of Absolute Independence of the Provinces of Central America, declaring independence from Mexico and reaffirming independence from Spain.[101] The declaration formed the United Provinces of Central America.[62][102] Chiapas, however, did not join the newly declared Central American state, choosing to remain a part of Mexico.[103][104] Its decision to remain with Mexico was confirmed in a referendum on 26 May 1824.[105][106]

After the residents of Guatemala City raised enough money to pay for the Mexican army's withdrawal,[65] Filísola and his soldiers withdrew from Guatemala and returned to Chiapas on 3 August 1823.[107] The United Provinces of Central America, later known as the Federal Republic of Central America, continued to exist until its 1841 collapse following the First and Second Central American Civil Wars.[108]

Central America's independence led many Mexican provinces to desire increased regional autonomy for themselves. Most provinces called upon the national government to establish a new national congress as they believed those under Agustín were illegitimate. Meanwhile, the provinces of Oaxaca, Yucatán, and Zacatecas announced the establishments of their own local juntas in place of a national congress, and San Luis Potosí and the Eastern Interior Provinces[e] stated that they would declare independence from Mexico unless a new congress was established. The situation in Mexico stabilized the Mexican Constituent Congress ratified the 1824 Constitution of Mexico in October 1824 and the country became a federal republic.[110]


Captaincy government

The First Mexican Empire at its territorial peak (1822–1823)
The First Mexican Empire at its territorial peak (1822–1823)

During Mexico's annexation of the region, Mexico and Central America had the same heads of state. Agustín ruled as regent, and then as emperor, from January 1822 until his abdication in March 1823, after which, the three leaders of the provisional government—Bravo, Victoria, and Negrete—served as joint heads of state.[111]

At the regional level, the five provinces were organized into the Captaincy General of Guatemala[112] (Spanish: Capitanía General de Guatemala; IPA: [kapitaˈnia ˈxeneɾal de ɣwateˈmala]), and the captaincy general was governed by a captain general from the capital in Guatemala City. The position of captain general existed throughout Mexico's rule, and it was held by Gaínza, Filísola, and Codallos.[52][55][56][58]

Color key
Captain General Assumed office Left office Time in office
A headshot painting of a man (Gabino Gaínza) in 19th-century military uniform
Gabino Gaínza
5 January 1822 23 June 1822 169 days
A headshot sketch of a man (Vicente Filísola) in 19th-century military uniform
Vicente Filísola
23 June 1822 26 November 1822 156 days
A headshot painting of a man (Felipe Codallos) in 19th-century military uniform
Felipe Codallos
26 November 1822 7 March 1823 101 days
A headshot sketch of a man (Vicente Filísola) in 19th-century military uniform
Vicente Filísola
7 March 1823 1 July 1823 116 days

Individual provincial governments

The following are lists of the political leaders of the five individual provinces. Control of the provinces changed multiple times between monarchists in favor of annexation and republicans in favor of secession, usually as a result of conflicts and unrest within the provinces.

Color key

Costa Rica

Political chief Assumed office Left office Time in office Ref.
1 Rafael Barroeta y Castilla [es] 5 January 1822 13 April 1822 98 days [113]
2 Santiago de Bonilla y Laya-Bolívar 13 April 1822 14 June 1822 62 days
3 José María de Peralta y La Vega 14 June 1822 15 October 1822 124 days
4 José Rafael Gallegos 17 October 1822 31 December 1822 76 days
5 José Santos Lombardo y Alvarado [es] 1 January 1823 14 March 1823 72 days
6 Rafael Francisco Osejo 14 March 1823 29 March 1823 15 days
7 Joaquín de Oreamuno 29 March 1823 5 April 1823 7 days
8 Gregorio José Ramírez 5 April 1823 16 April 1823 11 days
9 José María de Peralta y La Vega 16 April 1823 10 May 1823 24 days
10 Manuel Alvarado e Hidalgo [es] 10 May 1823 1 July 1823 52 days

El Salvador

Political chief Assumed office Left office Time in office Ref.
1 José Matías Delgado 5 January 1822 9 February 1823 1 year and 35 days [114]
2 Vicente Filísola 9 February 1823 7 May 1823 87 days [115]
3 Felipe Codallos 7 May 1823 25 May 1823 18 days [93]
4 Consultive Junta 25 May 1823 17 June 1823 23 days [94]
5 Mariano Prado 17 June 1823 1 July 1823 14 days [116]


Political chief Assumed office Left office Time in office Ref.
1 Gabino Gaínza 5 January 1822 23 June 1822 169 days [55][56]
2 Vicente Filísola 23 June 1822 1 July 1823 1 year and 8 days


Political chief Assumed office Left office Time in office Ref.
1 Juan Lindo y Zelaya 5 January 1822 1 July 1823 1 year and 177 days [117][118]


Political chief Assumed office Left office Time in office Ref.
1 Miguel González Saravia y Colarte [es] 5 January 1822 17 April 1823 1 year and 102 days [86]
2 José Carmen Salazar 17 April 1823 6 May 1823 19 days
3 Pablo Méndez 6 May 1823 1 July 1823 56 days

Representation in the national legislature

The Mexican Constituent Congress was established on 24 February 1822 and was tasked with drafting a constitution for the Mexican Empire.[79][119] In November 1821, the Mexican government decided on the electoral procedures to select representatives for the Constituent Congress, which it decided would consist of 162 members. After Central America joined the empire, Agustín wanted to extend congressional representation to the region. Due to unavailable demographic data at the time, Agustín reluctantly allowed Central America to have 40 representatives in the Constituent Congress, which he thought was a "prudent" amount.[120] Despite being allowed to have 40 representatives, only 38 were elected.

The following is a list of Central America's representatives in the Constituent Congress:

Agustín abolished the Constituent Congress on 31 October 1822 before a constitution was approved,[79] and replaced it with the National Institutional Junta.[119] Of the 55-member legislature, 13 were from Central America. The Central American representatives in the National Institutional Junta were Arrollave, Beltranena, Celís, de la Plata, Fernández de Córdova, Figueroa, Gutiérrez, Larreynaga, Montúfar, Orantes, Peralta, Quiñones, and Rubí.[129] The National Institutional Junta was abolished on 29 March 1823, five months after it formed and shortly after Agustín abdicated.[129]


For Mexico, the annexation of Central America was seen as a way to help stabilize the country's struggling economy, especially the mining and agricultural industries, after a decade of fighting against Spanish rule. Central America's annexation offered the Mexican government a larger tax base, which would help the country rebuild its infrastructure. Additionally, leaders in Central America saw annexation as a way to help its own economy by allowing diversification and opening trade to Mexico and potentially Europe.[28]

Spanish coin minted in 1821
Spanish coin minted in 1821

Upon gaining independence from Spain in September 1821, the Central American government owed 3,138,451 pesos (equivalent to $76,665,384 in 2022) of foreign debt; by October 1823, after the end of the period of Mexican rule, the debt increased to 3,583,576 pesos (equivalent to $87,538,798 in 2022).[130] Further economic difficulties included a decline in indigo production which predated independence, the decline of textile production to a "state of extreme decadence" due to competing English cotton goods,[131] and the government's failure to collect 385,693 pesos (equivalent to $9,421,623 in 2022) in taxes from the provinces.[132] In an attempt to alleviate its debt and economic troubles, the captaincy general passed a tariff law in 1822 which placed taxes on various exports from Central America and made the exporting of coins illegal.[133] That same year, Gaínza issued 40,000 pesos (equivalent to $977,111 in 2022) in the form of banknotes, which was the first use of paper money in Central America.[134] The Central American federal government eventually defaulted on its debt the mid-1820s.[135]

Sometime between 1823 and 1825, a congressional commission by the government of the Federal Republic of Central America began an investigation into why the mint in Guatemala City had been "reduced" to the "condition of insignificance" it was in. Initially, the commission believed that the mint was "despoiled" between 1822 and 1823 by Gaínza and Filísola, who supposedly used the mint to directly fund their military operations in the annexation of El Salvador.[136] Additionally, the residents of Guatemala City were forced to raise enough money to pay for the Mexican army's withdrawal from Central America in August 1823.[65] Eventually, the commission's initial belief was proven incorrect, as it later found that the reason the mint had been producing less money was that the mint failed to make loans to miners.[136]

To celebrate the incorporation of Central America into the Mexican Empire, Agustín authorized the minting of proclamation medals in gold, silver, and bronze; however, the medals did not have any monetary value.[137] Four types of medals were struck for Central America dating to late-1822 for Chiapas, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and León; the location of where the medals were minted is unknown.[138]

Although Mariano de Aycinena y Piñol made a proposal to abolish slavery in 1821, slavery was legal in Central America while it was ruled by Mexico. It was not made illegal until 24 April 1824 by an executive decree and Central America's later adoption of its constitution [es]. Prior to then, many slaves had already been freed by their owners.[139]

See also


  1. ^ Agustín de Iturbide used the title "President of the Regency Council" until 19 May 1822,[2] after which, he used the title Emperor of Mexico as Agustín I.[3] After the abolition of the monarchy, Nicolás Bravo, Guadalupe Victoria, and Pedro Negrete each served as joint heads of state.[4]
  2. ^ The Spanish provincial governors of Central America at the time of independence were: Juan Manuel de Cañas y Trujillo [es] (Costa Rica),[23] Pedro Barriere (El Salvador),[24] Gabino Gaínza y Fernández de Medrano (Guatemala),[18] José Gregorio Tinoco de Contreras [de] (Honduras),[25] Miguel González Saravia y Colarte [es] (Nicaragua).[24]
  3. ^ Although the Consultive Junta appointed Delgado as political chief of El Salvador on 11 October 1821, he actually assumed office on 28 November 1821.[37]
  4. ^ Each singular vote represents the decision of an entire municipality's population, not the vote of single individuals.[44][45]
  5. ^ The Eastern Interior Provinces consisted of Coahuila, Nuevo León, Nuevo Santander, and Texas.[109]
  6. ^ El Salvador was entitled to elect 6 representatives, but none attended the Constituent Assembly due to being in armed rebellion against Mexican annexation.[123] Juan de Dios Mayorga [es], a representative of Guatemala, diplomatically represented El Salvador in the Constituent Assembly.[124]
  7. ^ José Cecilio del Valle was elected from both Chiquimula, Guatemala, and Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Since he was not a resident of Chiquimula, del Valle was considered to be a Honduran representative.[127]



  1. ^ a b Zoradia Vázquez 1997, p. 47.
  2. ^ a b Rodríguez Ordóñez 1993, p. 312.
  3. ^ a b Kirkwood 2000, p. 87.
  4. ^ a b Kirkwood 2000, p. 90.
  5. ^ Sosa 1985, p. 289.
  6. ^ Carpenter 2013, pp. 15–18.
  7. ^ Carpenter 2013, pp. 21–22 & 27.
  8. ^ Stanger 1932, p. 31.
  9. ^ Rodríguez Ordóñez 1993, p. 299.
  10. ^ Kirkwood 2000, p. 86.
  11. ^ Rodríguez Ordóñez 1993, pp. 299 & 308.
  12. ^ Rodríguez Ordóñez 1993, p. 266.
  13. ^ Stanger 1932, p. 21.
  14. ^ Stanger 1932, pp. 27 & 29.
  15. ^ Cruz Pacheco & Cadenas y Vicent 1981, p. 479.
  16. ^ Stanger 1932, p. 32.
  17. ^ Trabanino & Herrerte 1956, pp. 3–5.
  18. ^ a b c d Munro 1918, p. 24.
  19. ^ Stanger 1932, pp. 31–33.
  20. ^ Munro 1918, pp. 24 & 27.
  21. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 132.
  22. ^ Marure 1895, p. 1.
  23. ^ Obregón Quesada 2002, pp. 18 & 21–23.
  24. ^ a b Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 134.
  25. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 133.
  26. ^ Kenyon 1961, p. 176.
  27. ^ Kenyon 1961, p. 178.
  28. ^ a b Carpenter 2013, pp. 32–33.
  29. ^ a b Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 139.
  30. ^ a b Stanger 1932, p. 34.
  31. ^ Pollack 2019, p. 89.
  32. ^ Stanger 1932, pp. 34–35.
  33. ^ a b c Foster 2007, p. 135.
  34. ^ Stanger 1932, p. 35.
  35. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, pp. 134–135.
  36. ^ a b Stanger 1932, p. 36.
  37. ^ Meléndez Chaverri 2000, p. 257.
  38. ^ Kenyon 1961, p. 177.
  39. ^ Carpenter 2013, p. 29.
  40. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 138.
  41. ^ a b Stanger 1932, p. 37.
  42. ^ Benson & Berry 1969, p. 683.
  43. ^ Kenyon 1961, p. 181.
  44. ^ a b c d Kenyon 1961, pp. 183–184.
  45. ^ a b c d Stanger 1932, p. 38.
  46. ^ a b Stanger 1932, p. 39.
  47. ^ Meléndez Chaverri 2000, p. 258.
  48. ^ Trabanino & Herrerte 1956, pp. 6–7.
  49. ^ Kenyon 1961, pp. 182–183.
  50. ^ a b Kenyon 1961, p. 192.
  51. ^ a b Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 143.
  52. ^ a b Marure 1895, p. 135.
  53. ^ Aceña 1899, p. 42.
  54. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, pp. 143–144.
  55. ^ a b c Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 145.
  56. ^ a b c Kenyon 1961, pp. 191–192.
  57. ^ a b Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 144.
  58. ^ a b c Meléndez Chaverri 2000, p. 264.
  59. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, pp. 145–146.
  60. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, pp. 145–147.
  61. ^ López Velásquez 1998, p. 29.
  62. ^ a b Munro 1918, p. 28.
  63. ^ a b Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 147.
  64. ^ Kenyon 1961, pp. 192–193.
  65. ^ a b c Foster 2007, p. 136.
  66. ^ a b c d Stanger 1932, p. 40.
  67. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, pp. 148–149.
  68. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, pp. 150–151.
  69. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, pp. 151–152.
  70. ^ Aceña 1899, p. 30.
  71. ^ Stanger 1932, pp. 39–40.
  72. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 52.
  73. ^ Kenyon 1961, p. 193.
  74. ^ Meléndez Chaverri 2000, p. 267.
  75. ^ a b Marure 1895, p. 8.
  76. ^ Aceña 1899, pp. 36–37.
  77. ^ Obregón Quesada 2002, pp. 25–26.
  78. ^ Fernández Guardia 2007, p. 30.
  79. ^ a b c d e Obregón Quesada 2002, p. 27.
  80. ^ Fernández Guardia 2007, pp. 76–77.
  81. ^ a b Obregón Quesada 2002, p. 30.
  82. ^ Fernández Guardia 2007, p. 86.
  83. ^ a b Pollack 2019, p. 62.
  84. ^ Obregón Quesada 2002, p. 31.
  85. ^ Obregón Quesada 2002, pp. 33–34.
  86. ^ a b c d Bolaños Geyer 2018.
  87. ^ a b Kenyon 1961, pp. 194–195.
  88. ^ Kirkwood 2000, p. 88.
  89. ^ Kenyon 1961, p. 196.
  90. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 153.
  91. ^ Kenyon 1961, pp. 196–197.
  92. ^ Kenyon 1961, p. 198.
  93. ^ a b Casa Presidencial c. 2005b.
  94. ^ a b Casa Presidencial c. 2005c.
  95. ^ Kenyon 1961, p. 199.
  96. ^ Meléndez Chaverri 2000, p. 277.
  97. ^ Kenyon 1961, p. 200.
  98. ^ Meléndez Chaverri 2000, p. 274.
  99. ^ Ayala Benítez 2007, p. 154.
  100. ^ Meléndez Chaverri 2000, pp. 274–275.
  101. ^ Trabanino & Herrerte 1956, pp. 8–10.
  102. ^ Stanger 1932, pp. 40–41.
  103. ^ Bethell 1991, p. 7.
  104. ^ Zamacois 1877, pp. 515–516.
  105. ^ Buttrey 1967, p. 234.
  106. ^ Wortman 1976, p. 259.
  107. ^ Zamacois 1877, p. 515.
  108. ^ Munro 1918, pp. 30–31.
  109. ^ Weber 1982, p. 167.
  110. ^ Carpenter 2013, pp. 63–65.
  111. ^ Kirkwood 2000, pp. 88–90.
  112. ^ Kenyon 1961, p. 175.
  113. ^ Obregón Quesada 2002, pp. 26–34.
  114. ^ Casa Presidencial c. 2005d.
  115. ^ Casa Presidencial c. 2005e.
  116. ^ Casa Presidencial c. 2005a.
  117. ^ Honduras Educacional 2007.
  118. ^ Benson & Berry 1969, p. 694.
  119. ^ a b Benson & Berry 1969, p. 679.
  120. ^ Benson & Berry 1969, pp. 680–681.
  121. ^ Benson & Berry 1969, p. 684.
  122. ^ Benson & Berry 1969, pp. 696–698.
  123. ^ Benson & Berry 1969, p. 698.
  124. ^ Benson & Berry 1969, p. 689.
  125. ^ Benson & Berry 1969, p. 687.
  126. ^ Benson & Berry 1969, pp. 691–692.
  127. ^ Benson & Berry 1969, p. 691.
  128. ^ Benson & Berry 1969, p. 695.
  129. ^ a b Benson & Berry 1969, pp. 698–699.
  130. ^ Smith 1963, p. 486.
  131. ^ Smith 1963, pp. 504–506.
  132. ^ Wortman 1976, p. 253.
  133. ^ Smith 1963, p. 490.
  134. ^ Smith 1963, p. 497.
  135. ^ Paolera & Taylor 2012, p. 207.
  136. ^ a b Smith 1963, p. 498.
  137. ^ Buttrey 1967, pp. 234–235.
  138. ^ Buttrey 1967, pp. 236–237.
  139. ^ Smith 1963, p. 510.



Journal articles

Web sources

Further reading