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Manuel María Gándara de Gortari

Lifespan: (1801 – 1878)
Profession: Governor, politician


Manuel María Gándara de Gortari (1801-1878) was a governor of Sonora. He was born in Mineral de Aigame, Sonora. He was son of Spanish parents Juan Gándara and Antonia de Gortari who were expelled from Mexico in the late 1820s for being Spanish along with most of their children. Brothers Manuel María and Fran¬cisco stayed on for having been born in the country. He was landlord of the haciendas of Bamuri and Topahue which had a flour mill. During the 1829 invasion of Brigadier Isidro Barradas, Manuel María Gándara was named as depository of the funds collected in Sonora and he was entrusted with the funds of Ures from 1829-1833. He was deputy to the Constituent Congress of the State and was treasurer of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice for two years. He took part in the rebellion headed by Leonardo Escalante y Mazón, to return the capital of Sonora to Hermosillo. President Anastasio Bustamante named him Constitutional Governor of the Department of Sonora at the end of November 1837. However, one month later he defected and seconded the federalist rebellion headed by General José Urrea, Commander General of the State, only to fight against Urrea in May 1838 defeating him in Sonora. Gándara served as Constitutional Governor and Commander General of Sonora (1838). In 1839 Gándara personally directed the campaign against the Opata Indian uprising and crushed it. In October 1841, he recognized the government of General Antonio López de Santa Anna resulting from the Triangular Revolt which led to the fall of Anastasio Bustamante. Local tensions between Gándara and Urrea were reignited in 1842 and Gándara led an uprising with the support from the indigenous tribes of the region. Thereafter, Gándara would be pursued by the law and would find himself in and out of prison on a number of occasions. In 1845 with close acquaintances and partisans, he initiated a new revolt which was quashed. However, when the federal system was re-established in 1846 he was elected Constitutional Governor of Sonora and took up this post on 5 May 1847. He put forward a new Local Constitution on 13 May 1848. In 1841 he was designated as Interim Governor but did not take possession. In 1852 he seconded the pronunciamientos the were launched against President Mariano Arista. He supported the santanista dictatorship of 1853-55 and was named a Knight of the Order of Guadalupe. On 20 April 1854 he handed over the command of Sonora to

General Yáñez. In 1855 he seconded the Plan of Ayutla and shortly afterwards regained the military and political leadership of Sonora. He promulgated the Organic Statute and renounced. President Comonfort named him Brigadier General. He rebelled again and surrendered but soon after headed another revolt.He seconded the Plan of Tacubaya of 1858. He was then defeated and took refuge in Chihuahua. Zuloaga named him Governor and Commander General and he marched on towards California, waiting for the opportunity to rebel. Governor Pesqueria ordered that he give up his privileges to compensate for the injuries that he caused in his State. In Sinaloa he joined the conservatives Inguanzo and Arteaga and when they were defeated he took refuge in Arizona where he rose up against the cacique Juan Tanori. He supported the French intervention and the Regency, and promoted imperialist movements in the north, recognising Emperor Maximilian and in September 1865 he was reinstated as Brigadier General and Knight of the Order of Guadalupe. In 1866 the order was given by General Manuel Gamboa to restore Gándara’s privileges. In August 1866 Maximilian named him as Imperial Prefect of the Department of Sonora but he did not take up this post. He left the State and marched to take refuge in Tepic with Lozada. In 1867 he tried to justify his service to the Republic but they caught up with him in San Blas on 13 May 1868 and he was sent to San Luis Potosí. On 12 October he was permitted to go to Mexico City and on 9 June 1870 he was given his liberty. He died in the City of Hermosillo, Sonora, in 1878.


Author of
Manifiesto de Manuel María Gándara (30 April 1841; Ures, Sonora)

Signatory of
El Primer Cuerpo de Ejército y la Guarnición de Guadalajara, protestan contra el Manifiesto del Lic. Benito Juárez (19 August 1859; Guadalajara, Jalisco)