Morelos y Pavón, José María

Morelos y Pavón, José María

(hōsā` märē`ä mōrā`lōs ē pävōn`), 1765–1815, Mexican leader in the revolution against Spain, a national hero. He was, like Hidalgo y CostillaHidalgo y Costilla, Miguel
, 1753–1811, Mexican priest and revolutionary, a national hero. A creole intellectual, he was influenced by the French Revolution. As parish priest of the village of Dolores, Hidalgo attempted to improve the lot of the natives.
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, a liberal priest. Joining the revolution (1810), he conducted a brilliant campaign in the south and after the execution of Hidalgo he became insurrectionary chief. He defended CuautlaCuautla
, city (1990 pop. 110,242), Morelos state, S Mexico, in the Cuautla River valley. It is a highway junction and the heart of a sugarcane and rice district; in the late 20th cent. it experienced growth as an outlying suburb of Mexico City.
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 against Calleja del ReyCalleja del Rey, Félix María
, 1750–1826, Spanish general, viceroy of New Spain (1813–16), conde de Calderón. In command of the post of San Luis Potosí when the revolution under Hidalgo y Costilla broke out, he led a large force into the
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 for several months, and then cut through the siege. After taking Orizaba and Oaxaca (1812) in a brilliant engagement, Morelos captured Acapulco (1813). The Congress of Chilpancingo, convened in 1813 under his protection, elected him generalissimo with the powers of chief executive. Late in 1813 his forces were routed at Valladolid (later named Morelia in his honor) by IturbideIturbide, Agustín de
, 1783–1824, Mexican revolutionist, emperor of Mexico (1822–23). An officer in the royalist army, he was sympathetic to independence but took no part in the separatist movement led by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, and in fact helped to
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 and were later again defeated. In 1815, Morelos was captured, degraded by the Inquisition, and shot. Only a few leaders, notably GuerreroGuerrero, Vicente
, 1782–1831, Mexican revolutionist and president (Apr.–Dec., 1829). He fought under the command of Morelos y Pavón, spreading the revolution in the south. Guerrero won victory after victory.
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 and Guadalupe VictoriaGuadalupe Victoria
, 1786?–1843, Mexican general, first president of Mexico (1824–29), whose original name was Manuel Félix Fernández. He joined (1811) the revolution proclaimed by Hidalgo y Costilla, and even after the defeat and death of Morelos y
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, were left to continue the revolution.


See biography by W. H. Timmons (2d ed. 1970).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Morelos Y Pavón, José María


Born Sept. 30, 1765, in Valladolid (present-day Morelia); died Dec. 22, 1815, in Mexico City. Leader of the Mexican people’s struggle against the Spanish colonialists from 1811 to 1815 and a national hero.

After graduating from a seminary, Morelos taught at an elementary school, later becoming a village priest. When a popular uprising broke out in Mexico in 1810, he joined Hidalgo’s insurgent detachments. After the latter’s death in 1811, Morelos led the fight for independence, winning a number of victories over the Spanish in 1812–13. He sought not only to liberate Mexico from colonial oppression but also to carry out socioeconomic and political reforms.

At the national congress assembled at his request in September 1813 in Chilpancingo, Morelos presented a programmatic document entitled “The Feelings of the Nation,” calling for independence, popular sovereignty, and the abolition of slavery. The congress appointed Morelos generalissimo and entrusted him with the functions of chief executive. It also adopted a declaration of independence and decrees aimed at eliminating feudal exploitation and racial discrimination. By the end of 1815, however, the main forces of the insurgents were defeated, and Morelos was taken prisoner and executed.


Al’perovich, M. S. Voina za nezavisimost’ Meksiki (1810–1824). Moscow, 1964.
Teja Zabre, A. Vida de Morelos. Mexico City, 1959.
Timmons, W. H. Morelos. El Paso, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.