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Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire

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Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire

Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire
Original copy of the Declaration
Ratified September 28, 1821
Location National Archives
Author(s) Juan José Espinosa de los Monteros
Signatories 33 members of the board and Agustín de Iturbide
Purpose To declare independence from Spanish Empire

The Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire (Spanish: Acta de Independencia del Imperio Mexicano), is the document by which the Mexican Empire declared independence from the Spanish Empire. The founding document of the Mexican nation was drafted in the National Palace in Mexico City on September 28, 1821 by Juan José Espinosa de los Monteros, secretary of the Provisional Governmental Board.

Two copies of the act were drafted. One copy remained in the Chamber of Deputies until it was destroyed in the fire of the Chamber in 1909. The other copy was stolen and sold in 1830. That copy was recovered by Maximilian I of Mexico and after his execution it was taken out of the country by Agustín Fischer, confessor of the former emperor.

Later, the Spanish antiquarian Gabriel Sanchez sold the act to the historian Joaquin Garcia Icazbalceta who retained it and subsequently bequeathed it to his son Luis García Pimentel. García Pimentel sold the act to Florencio Gavito and he stipulated in his will that after his death, the act should be given to the president Adolfo López Mateos. On November 14, 1961 the result of two opinions were given to the president by which it was found that the act is one of the two original drafted in 1821. In November 21, Florencio Gavito Jáuregui gave the act to the president López Mateos.

The document 20 ½ inches wide and 28 ¾ high is currently kept at the General Archive of the Nation.


Entry of the Trigarante Army to México City.

On September 27, 1821 eleven years and eleven days after the Grito de Dolores, the Army of the Three Guarantees headed by Agustín de Iturbide entered to Mexico City, concluding with that the Mexican War of Independence.[1] On September 28, Iturbide installed the Provisional Governing Board formed by 38 people. The board was chaired by Antonio Pérez Martínez y Robles and Juan José Espinosa de los Monteros as secretary.[2][3] The board immediately proceeded to elect the five members of the Regency of the Empire.[4]

On October 13 the same year, Ramon Gutierrez del Mazo, the first political chief of Mexico City published a proclamation with the Declaration of Independence to all the people could read it, especially the courts, governors and military authorities, for them to publish it nationwide.[5]

Drafting and signing

On the afternoon of September 28, members of the Board met at the National Palace to draft the Declaration of Independence of the newly independent nation. The resulting two documents were drafted in its final form by Juan José Espinosa de los Monteros, Secretary of the Board.[6] The acts were signed by 33 of the 38 members of the Board and Iturbide as President of the Regency of the Empire. Juan O'Donoju, last Superior Political Chief of New Spain, Francisco Severo Maldonado, José Domingo Rus, José Mariano de Almanza and Miguel Sánchez Enciso did not sign the documents, but in the acts was written: Place of signature Juan O'Donoju and later his signature was added in the printed copies. The signatures of other four members were not added.[7] Juan Jose Espinoza de los Monteros signed twice in each act, once as a member of the Board and the second as secretary, so that the acts contain 35 signatures and the designated to O'Donoju.[8] A copy of the act was for the government and one for the board, the last one was later sent to the Chamber of Deputies.[9] None of the former insurgents as Guadalupe Victoria, Vicente Guerrero or Nicolas Bravo signed the Declaration of Independence; the reason is unknown but probably because they wanted a Republic not an Empire.[10][11][12]

Text of the Declaration

Declaration of the independence of the Mexican Empire, issued by its Sovereign Junta, assembled in the Capital on September 28, 1821. The Mexican Nation, which for three hundred years had neither had its own will, nor free use of its voice, leaves today the oppression in which it has lived. The heroic efforts of its sons have been crowned today, and consummated is an eternal and memorable enterprise, which a spirit superior to all admiration and praise, out of love and for the glory of its Country started in Iguala, continued, and brought to fruition, overcoming almost insurmountable obstacles. Restored then this part of the North to the exercise of all the rights given by the Author of Nature and recognized as unalienable and sacred by the civilized nations of the Earth, in liberty to constitute itself in the manner which best suits its happiness and through representatives who can manifest its will and plans, it begins to make use of such precious gifts and solemnly declares by means of the Supreme Junta of the Empire that it is a Sovereign nation and independent of old Spain with which henceforth it will maintain no other union besides a close friendship in the terms prescribed by the treaties; that it will establish friendly relationships with other powers, executing regarding them whatever declarations the other sovereign nations can execute; that it will constitute itself in accordance to the bases which in the Plan of Iguala and the Treaty of Córdoba the First Chief of the Imperial Army of the Three Guarantees wisely established and which it will uphold at all costs and with all sacrifice of the means and lives of its members (if necessary); this solemn declaration, is made in the capital of the Empire on the twenty-eighth of September of the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty-one, first of Mexican Independence.


The following is the list of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence, the names are written like in the acts. Juan O'Donoju did not signed but his name was written in the acts. Of the 38 members of the Provisional Governmental Board only 34 signed the document (including the aforementioned firm O'Donoju). The signatures of Francisco Severo Maldonado, José Domingo Rus, José Mariano de Almanza and Miguel Sánchez Enciso did not appear to have suffered a possible impairment due to illness.[13]

History of the documents

After being drafted, one copy was given to the Provisional Governmental Board, which was later put on display in the Chamber of Deputies until 1909, when fire destroyed the place.[14]

The other copy was given to the Regency of the Empire, which remained at the National Palace and was stolen in 1830. Foreign Minister Lucas Alamán made this reference about the stolen:[15]

"There is not in the republic anothe copy (handwritten) that the one in session hall of the Chamber of Deputies, the other was sold by an unfaithful employee to a curious traveler from France."
Delivery of the lost act.

Alamán wanted to get the record during his tenure as chancellor but failed even when he offered a lot of money for it.

Decades later, the act was acquired by emperor Maximilian I, although it is unknown how and where he got it. The act contains in the back the figure of the ex libris of Maximilian library and it was taken out of the country after the execution of the emperor by his confessor, Agustin Fischer.[16][17]

Time later, the act appeared in Spain in the library of antiquarian Gabriel Sanchez. It is also unknown how he get it, but is a fact that the act has in the back of the stamp of the Spanish antiquarian library. Sanchez sold the document to the Mexican historian Joaquín García Icazbalceta, who preserved it and inherited it to his son Luis García Pimentel.[17][18]

Florencio Gavito Bustillo lived in France and there he was contacted by Luis García Pimentel, who offered to sell him the Declaration of Independence. After buying the act 10 thousand pesos he returned to Mexico with the intention of delivering the act to the Mexican government himself, but he died of leukemia in 1958. Gavito expressed in his will the wish that the act should be delivered to the president.

The Mexican government sent to do the opinions of authenticity. The opinions were ready on November 14, 1961.

The ceremony to deliver the act was held on November 21 of the same year. Florencio Gavito Jauregui, son of Gavito Bustillo gave the act to the president Adolfo Lopez Mateos. In the ceremony were also Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, Secretary of the Interior and Jaime Torres Bodet, Secretary of Education.[19][20]

The act was put on display for a while in the Castillo de Chapultepec and then it was withdrawn and sent to the General Archive of the Nation.

In 2008, the restoration works of the act began and it was exhibited for a month at the Palace of Lecumberri. In 2010 it was put on display at the National Palace as part of the celebration of the bicentennial of the beginning of Mexico's independence. The National Institute of Anthropology and History was concerned about the exposure of the act and recommended not to expose more time because it does not have a special system for that.[21][22]

The act is currently protected within two guards made with acid-free materials in the vault of the General Archive of the Nation under climate monitoring. Experts of the National Autonomous University of Mexico are working on a system of preservation and exhibition of historical documents in order to permanently exhibit the act in the near future.[23][24]



  1. ^ "27 de septiembre de 1821 Consumación de la Independencia.". SEDENA. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Discurso de Agustín de Iturbide al instalar la Junta.". 500 años de México en documentos. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  3. ^ "El Ejército Trigarante toma la capital e instituye la Junta Provisional Gubernativa.". Memoria Política de México. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Proclama de Agustín de Iturbide.". Archivo General de la Nación. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Bando del Acta de Independencia del Imperio Mexicano...". SEDENA. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ "PONEN AL ALCANCE DOCUMENTOS DE LA INDEPENDENCIA.". Azteca 21. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ "1821 Acta de Independencia del Imperio Mexicano.". Memoria Política de México. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ "El Acta de Independencia del Imperio Mexicano... guarda buen estado.". Azteca 21. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  9. ^ Alamán, Lucas. Historia de Méjico. Desde los primeros movimientos que prepararon su independencia en el año 1808 hasta la época presente. pp. 259–261. 
  10. ^ "Historia México.". Historia México. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  11. ^ "CONFORMACIÓN DE MÉXICO COMO NACIÓN.". Prezi. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ "El triunvirato de Guadalupe Victoria, Nicolás Bravo y Celestino Negrete.". INEHRM. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Paleografía". Archivo General de la Nación. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Celebra SEGOB los 187 años de la firma del acta de Independencia". Presidencia de la Republica. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Acta de Independencia de México.". p. 1. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Afirman que el Acta de Independencia guarda buen estado.". Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "Ficha Acta de Independencia del Imperio Mexicano, 1821.". Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Acta de Independencia, manuscrito que da fe del nacimiento de México.". Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Un acta de Independencia fugitiva.". El siglo de Torreón. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Invaluable regalo a México.". Diario de Yucatán. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  21. ^ "México expone tesoros de 200 años de historia en Palacio Nacional.". CNN. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  22. ^ "En riesgo Acta de Independencia: INAH". El Universal. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Acta de Independencia, en buen estado: INAH". El Universal. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Diseñan en la UNAM exhibidores para resguardar el Acta de Independencia.". Universidad Pedagógica Nacional. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 


  • Vicente Riva Palacio (1880) México a través de los siglos Volume IV: "México Independiente". Mexico City, Cumbre.

External links

  • México in documents Photograph of the original Act of Independence of the Mexican Empire of the Nation's General Archive
  • Acta de Independencia del Imperio mexicano. 500 años de México en documentos. Consulted on 4 November 2009.
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