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Santos Degollado

Lifespan: (1811 – 1861)
Profession: Regular Army Officer
Place of birth: Guanajuato


Santos Degollado (1811-1861) was born in Guanajuato; the son of Francisco Degollado and María Sánchez. His father was affiliated to the insurgent forces which led to the confiscation of his privileges by the vice-regal government and resulted in him living in great poverty. Following his father’s untimely death, Degollado was looked after by an uncle and he walked to Mexico City where he became a pupil at the Military College. In October 1828 he arrived at Morelia and worked as a writer for the notary Valdovinos and for the bishopric of Michoacán. He held this position for twenty years and during his free time he studied languages and educated himself on cultural matters. In 1846 he was named secretary of the sub-directory committee of studies in Michoacán and president of the Committee of Development of Artisans. The return of the federal system in the summer of 1846 with the restoration of the 1824 Constitution converted the sub-directory post into Director of Studies of the state of Michoacán and placed Degollado at its head. Melchor Ocampo who was governor of Michoacán, named him secretary of the District of San Nicolás and his capacity for organisation earned him great respect within the establishment. A dedicated liberal, Degollado went on to join the 1854-55 Revolution of Ayutla and ascended to the rank of general. Following the triumph of the Revolution of Ayutla, Degollado joined the constituent congress of 1856-1857 as deputy for the district of Michoacán. In the elections of 1 July 1857, during the renovation of the government of the said State Degollado was elected governor. When the War of the Reforma (1858-61) broke out he fought alongside Benito Juárez. On 25 March 1858 Juárez named him minister of war and general of the Federal Army. He fought against Miguel Miramón, Leonardo Márquez, Gregorio Callejo, and other chiefs of the conservative army. The most notable battles in which he fought were Atenquique, Guadalajara, Cuevas de Techaluta, hacienda del Colorado and Tacubaya where he was defeated on the outer limits of Mexico City. His last engagement was at the Monte de las Cruces against the forces of Leonardo Márquez, the “Tiger of Tacubaya.” Santos Degollado fell prisoner in an ambush on 15 June 1861 and died in the hands of his captors. Degollado was buried in Huizquilucan, Mexico.


Signatory of
Acuerdo entre los revolucionarios de Blancarte y el general don Santos Degollado, para el cese de las hostilidades desarrolladas con motivo del Plan de Blancarte (28 October 1858; Guadalajara, Jalisco)

Leader, author and signatory of
Decreto del Estado de Jalisco en el que se declara sostenedor del Plan de Ayutla (10 February 1856; Guadalajara, Jalisco)