Print this pageHistorical Text Archive © 1990 - 2015
Born in Mexico City on September 29, 1832, he studied in
the Escuela Militar de Chapultepec and was one of the cadet defenders of
Chapultepec against the United States army when it invaded and attacked Mexico
City in 1847. Miramón was captured.
He was a conservative in his politics and an ardent defender of the cause against the liberals who sought to create equality before the law and the abolition of special privilege. He was imprisoned on April 27, 1857 for plotting to overthrow the government of President Ignacio Comonfort. Freed, he served as a lieutenant to General Luis G. Osollo in the War of the Reform between the conservatives and liberals. He distinguished himself in battle and, upon the death of Osollo on June 18, 1858, was seen as the logical person the lead the conservative army. He became head of the Army of the North. Conservatives, disappointed with Félix Zuloaga , had him named President of the Republic; he served from March, 1859 until December 24, 1860. The United States gave diplomatic recognition to his government, rather than that of the liberal Benito Juárez, for he controlled the capital and much of central Mexico. When US Ambassador McLane tried to obtain transit rights and land on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Miramón refused. McLane then negotiated a treaty with the Juárez government in exchange for diplomatic recognition.1 Miramón protested both acts and, in reprisal, voided the decrees which allowed the sales of clerical property. Miramón realized that the Juárez government could continue indefinitely because it controlled the Veracruz customs house, always the chief source of revenue for a Mexican government. He tried to strike a decisive blow but was foiled by the liberal army aided by the USS Saratoga which drove off the two ships of the conservatives. He continued to fight, winning a victory at times, but was defeated by Jesús González Ortega on December 22, 1860. He fled to Mexico City and, finally, escaped to Havana, Cuba with the aid of the French emissary. He went to France where he was well received by Napoleon III. He tried to return to Mexico when the French, Spanish, and English landed a debt-collecting expedition in 1861 but the English admiral would not let him land. He then lobbied the French government to intervene and establish an empire. When France did establish the Empire of Maximilian, Miramón again went to Mexico City, entering the country from the north, and offered his services to this Austrian ruler. He was promoted to a Gran Marshall and sent ton Berlin to study military tactics. The Juárez government continued to resist the foreign invasion and, after French troops were recalled to Europe, had Maximilian on the run. Miramón returned to lead an army. He won several battles but was defeated by Mariano Escobedo. After a trial, he was executed along with Maximilian on June 19, 1867. He was 35.
1. The US Senate, however, rejected the McLane-Ocampo Treaty, thus saving the reputation of Juárez and his government. The US wanted to build an inter-oceanic canal across Mexico.