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José Antonio Echávarri


José Antonio Echávarri was Spanish by birth, a royalist commander and later a General. He began his military career during the War of Independence, enlisting in the cavalry unit ‘Fieles de San Luis’. Echávarri fought amongst the troops of the notoriously brutal and effective commander-cum-viceroy Félix María Calleja. He was commended for his bravery and skill gaining the title of Colonel in 1821.

He initially supported Agustín de Iturbide and the Plan of Iguala, and was rewarded with the post of Captain General of Puebla, Oaxaca and Veracruz in 1822. He fought alongside Santa Anna against the Spanish forces based in the fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, in the messy battle of 27 October 1822, and accused Santa Anna of deliberately trying to get him killed.

Following Santa Anna’s Impulso de Veracruz of 2 December 1822 Colonel Echávarri was entrusted with the imperial forces that placed Veracruz under siege. However, Santa Anna succeeded in repulsing Echávarri’s troops in the action of 2 January 1823 and Echávarri found that the longer the siege lasted the greater was the risk of his men succumbing to yellow fever.

Fearful of catching the disease, but also persuaded to rebel against Iturbide by the Scottish Rite of Masons which he had recently joined, Echávarri issued his own Plan of Casa Mata of 1 February 1823. With its defence of the Provincial Deputation of Veracruz, Echávarri’s plan inspired all the provincial deputations in Mexico, resentful of the manner in which Iturbide had curtailed their sphere of influence, to come out with proclamations of allegiance.

Echávarri’s Plan of Casa Mata was a key factor in compelling Iturbide to abdicate on 19 March 1823 and to go into exile. In 1827 Echávarri was himself forced into exile as he was believed to be involved in the conspiracy of Padre Arenas and it is thought that he died some years later in the United States of America.


Author of
Acta de Casa Mata (1 February 1823; Veracruz, Veracruz)

Signatory of
Proclama iturbidista (19 May 1822; Ciudad de México, México D.F.)