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Born in Mexico City on February 18, 1789, he enrolled in El Colegio de San
Ildefonso in 1808 and passed from there to the College of Mines from which he
graduated with an the engineering degree in 1811. That year he joined the forces
of Ignacio López Rayón in Saltillo to fight for independence from Spain. On
November 24, 1812, he was part of the army which included Generals Morelos,
Matamoros, Victor Bravo, and Guadalupe Victoria which took Guadalajara. His specialty,
based on his knowledge of mathematics and engineering, was artillery. His
successes brought rapid promotions; by the end of 1814, he was a colonel. Defeated
by the royalist Lamadrid on January 20, 1817, he negotiated good terms for his
troops and refused the royalist offer to join with them. Instead, he went to
Puebla and stayed under the command of Guadalupe Victoria until 1821 when he
joined General Nicolás Bravo in the Plan de Iguala. By this time he was a
general. He served Emperor Agustin Iturbide and, when he was ousted and exiled,
Guadalupe Victoria. He was a deputy in the first constituent congress in 1822.
In 1824, he was made a brigadier general. In 1827 he was named chief of the
Comisión de Limites (Boundary Commission) and inspector of the Texas
province. His expedition was very scientific and diaries were kept which
detail the flora, fauna, and terrain as well as political problems. He left
Mexico City on November 10, 1827, arrived in San Antonio on March 1, 1828, and
stayed in the province until January, 1829. His observations told
him that the Americans would take Texas unless Mexico made changes to solidify
its control. Mexico should encourage the immigration of Mexicans and Europeans
to offset the American majority. He had a low opinion of the Mexicans already in
Texas. He wanted additional forts around the settlements and closer
economic ties with the rest if the country. The government passed his
suggestions in the Law of April 6,
1830, which also called for the prohibition of slavery and closed the borders of Texas to
Americans, but was not able to enforce these measures because of political
When the Spanish, under the command of General Isidoro Barradas, invaded Tampico, in September, 1829, he was sent to join General Antonio López de Santa Anna; their success made them heroes. Early in 1830 President Anastasio Bustamante named Mier y Terán commandant general of the Eastern Interior Provinces, a position in which he supervised both political and military affairs in Texas, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas. He tried to get the Texians to obey the law and to pay taxes. He wanted national laws regarding titles enforced and the Liberty ayuntamiento (town government) recently created without government authorization terminated. The Texians were unhappy with these measures. His concern for law caused him to try to defend the Eastern Internal Provinces against the forces of Santa Anna when the latter revolted against the Anastasio Bustamante administration in January, 1832. By this time the law of 1830 had been abrogated and Americans, who refused to be assimilated, were pouring into Texas. Generals vied with each other for power and money and there was no consistent government in the country.
Despondent, General Mier y Terán committed suicide by falling on his own sword in Padilla, Tamaulipas. He had dressed himself in full uniform, indicating his loyalty to the army and Mexico. Padilla was where Agustin Iturbide had been shot when he returned from exile. Mier y Terán was only 43 years old.
See http://www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/teranmanuel.htm; Mier y Terán, Manuel de, The Handbook of Texas Online; Margaret S. Henson, Juan Davis Bradburn: A Reappraisal of the Mexican Commander of Anahuac (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982). Ohland Morton, "Life of General Don Manuel de Mier y Terán" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1939); and David J. Weber, The Mexican Frontier, 1821-1846 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982). Juan López de Escalera, Diccionario Biográfico y de Historia de México. México, Edirorial del Magisterio, 1964. pp.704.