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José Joaquín de Herrera

Lifespan: (23 February 1792 – 10 February 1854)
Profession: Regular army officer and politician


José Joaquin de Herrera (23 February 1792 – 10 February 1854) was born in Jalapa, Veracruz and was a soldier and a moderate Mexican politician who served as president of Mexico three times (1844, 1844-45 and 1848-51). He reached the rank of general in the Mexican Army. Herrera spent his childhood in Perote (Veracruz), where his father was administrator of the post. In 1809 he was a cadet in the Crown’s Regiment. He took part in various anti-insurgent activities from 1810 onwards; fighting the insurgents in Aculco, Guanajuato, Calderón, Acatlán, Veladero amongst other locations. He was also part of the royalist expedition to reclaim Acapulco from the insurgents, and he was given the military and civil command of the region. He rose to the rank of captain in the militia forces of Chilapa where he served from 27 November 1814 to 31 January 1816. He was commander of Tecpan and of Acapulco in 1817. On 5 August 1820 having reached the rank of lieutenant colonel he requested leave and moved back to Perote where he opened a store. It was around this time that he established contacts with some of the main leaders of the insurgency in the region including Guadalupe Victoria. When the Plan of Iguala was pronounced Herrera opted to back Iturbide’s movement and took over the garrison of the Fort of San Carlos. He went on to liberate Orizaba which was under the control of the royalists under the leadership of none other than Lieutenant Colonel Antonio López de Santa Anna. It was Herrera who, according to some sources, persuaded Santa Anna to change sides. They joined up in support of the Plan de Iguala, and Herrera went on to join the Army of the Three Guarantees that made its triumphant entrance into Mexico City on 27 September 1821 as brigadier general. He went on to serve as deputy for Veracruz East (1822-23). When Iturbide was proclaimed Emperor, Herrera did not support him and consequently was taken under arrest for conspiracy. On his release he was amongst the pronunciados who caused the downfall of Emperor Iturbide in 1823. He became Captain General of Mexico City and Minister of War (1823-1824) in the freshly formed government, later taking up the latter position again under Santa Anna’s leadership in 1833. He was jefe político of Guadalajara (1824), Commander General of Michoacán (1825), Yucatán (1826), Puebla and Oaxaca (1829), and Durango (1831). He was also deputy for Veracruz (1826-1828), governor of the Federal District (1828), and Head of the Reserve Army (1829). He served as minister of war 21 May 1833-5 November 1833 and 14 February 1834-16 August 1834, and as inspector general of the army 1834-37. Other significant posts he held in the army were those of president of the military tribunal (1840-42), and commander general of Mexico City during the Mexican-American War (1846-48). He served as president in 1844, 1844-1845, and 1848-51, becoming renowned for having been one of Mexico’s finer moderate leaders. After Manuel Gómez Pedraza died in 1851, Herrera became director of the Monte de Piedad, until June 1853 when he retired from public life. He had a modest burial in the cemetery of San Fernando after his life ended on 10 February 1854 at his Tacubaya residence.


Signatory of
Pronunciamiento de la guarnición y pueblo de la capital (27 December 1832; Ciudad de México, México D.F.)

Leader and signatory of
Se declara subversivo el plan de San Luis (23 December 1845; Ciudad de México, México D.F.)