Cortina, Juan Nepomuceno

Cortina, Juan Nepomuceno,

1824–94, Mexican military leader and politician. Born into a wealthy cattle-ranching family that moved to the Rio Grande Valley, Cortina joined the Mexican army in 1846 and formed an irregular cavalry regiment that fought against the United States in the Mexican WarMexican War,
1846–48, armed conflict between the United States and Mexico. Causes

While the immediate cause of the war was the U.S. annexation of Texas (Dec., 1845), other factors had disturbed peaceful relations between the two republics.
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. After the war, his family's lands were divided between the two countries. Cortina became active in Texas politics and formed a militia that thwarted the eviction of poor Mexican-Americans from their lands. In 1859, following a confrontation with the Brownsville marshal, Cortina and his forces took over the town for two months, then fought Texas forces until he was driven into Mexico in 1860. In 1861, as the Civil War began, Cortina invaded Zapata co., Tex., but was quickly defeated and retreated into Mexico. In 1862 he fought alongside Benito JuárezJuárez, Benito
, 1806–72, Mexican liberal statesman and national hero. Revered by Mexicans as one of their greatest political figures, Juárez, with great moral courage and honesty, upheld the civil law and opposed the privileges of the clericals and the army.
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 against French intervention in Mexico, becoming (1863) a general in the Mexican army and serving (1864–66) as interim governor of Tamaulipas state. He returned to his estate in Matamoros (1870), but President DíazDíaz, Porfirio
, 1830–1915, Mexican statesman, a mestizo, christened José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz. He gained prominence by supporting Benito Juárez and the liberals in the War of the Reform and in the war against Emperor Maximilian and the
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) had him arrested (1876) on charges of cattle rustling. He was imprisoned until 1890, when he was released into internal exile near Mexico City.


See biographies by C. Goldfinch and J. Canales (1974) and J. Thompson (2013).

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