Cuautla, Siege of

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Cuautla, Siege of

Siege of Cuautla, the most famous engagement by the royalist armies against insurgents during the War of Mexican Independence. In early 1812, with 4,000 to 4,500 men, José María Morelos fortified the town of Cuautla, south of Mexico City. Morelos had threatened Puebla and Toluca before Viceroy Francisco Javier Venegas ordered Félix Calleja and the Army of the Center to march out of the Bajío provinces north of the capital and into the new center of insurgent activity. After destroying the rebel stronghold of Zitácuaro, Calleja arrived near Cuautla on 17 February 1812. As Morelos anticipated, the royalists lacked effective logistics and were short of munitions and provisions. Despite these difficulties, Calleja launched three frontal attacks that were repulsed by the insurgents. After this failure, Calleja called for reinforcements and commenced a formal siege, cutting off all communications, provisions, and water. After seventy-two days, during which the insurgents suffered starvation and disease, on 2 May 1812, Morelos and some of his troops broke through the royalist lines and escaped. Although victory went to the royalists, the fame and glory went to Morelos.

See alsoCalleja del Rey, Félix María; Morelos y Pavón, José María.


Lucas Alamán, Historia de México desde los primeros movimientos que prepararon su independencia en al año de 1808 hasta la época presente, 5 vols. (1849–1852; repr. 1942).

Wilbert H. Timmons, Morelos: Priest Soldier Statesman of Mexico (1963).

Ernesto Lemoine Villicaña, Morelos: Su vida revolucionaria a través de sus escritos y de otros testimonios de la época (1965).

Brian R. Hamnett, Roots of Insurgency: Mexican Regions, 1750–1824 (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Archer, Christon. The Birth of Modern Mexico, 1780–1824. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 2003.

Rodríguez O, Jaime E. The Origins of Mexican National Politics, 1808–1847. Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1997.

                                        Christon I. Archer