Filísola, Vicente (c. 1789–1850)

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Filísola, Vicente (c. 1789–1850)

Vicente Filísola (b. ca. 1789; d. 23 July 1850), captain-general of Guatemala (12 June 1822–4 July 1823). Born in Rivoli, Italy, Filísola immigrated to Spain at a young age and began his military career. By 1810 he had attained the rank of second lieutenant and had received honors for his valiant fighting. He was sent to Mexico with royalist forces in 1811, but by 1815 he had become a close friend of Agustín de Iturbide. In 1821 he gave his support to Mexican independence, proclaimed in Iturbide's Plan of Iguala. At the head of four thousand men, he was the first insurgent leader to enter Mexico City on 24 September 1821, securing it for Iturbide's triumphal entry. Iturbide promoted him to brigadier general and gave him the title of Knight of the Imperial Order of Guadalupe, then sent him on a mission to Central America. There he was to keep order while the region decided on annexation to Mexico. On 4 November 1822, after most of Central America had voted in favor of union with the Mexican Empire, Filísola published a decree splitting the captaincy-general of Guatemala into the three commandancies-general of Chiapas, Sacatepéquez, and Costa Rica, with their capitals at Ciudad Real, Nueva Guatemala, and León respectively. Later that month, on Iturbide's orders, he led about two thousand men against San Salvador, the only major city to resist union with the Mexican Empire. After routing Manuel Jos é Arce's troops, he entered the city on 9 February 1823. Upon learning of Iturbide's overthrow, he returned to Guatemala and convoked a congress of the provinces. Believing the basis for Mexican annexation to be gone, he accepted their declaration of independence.

After returning to Mexico, Filísola fought as a division general in the Texas Revolution in 1835 and ended his career as president of the Supreme Court of War. He also wrote extensively. He published his two-volume Memorias para la historia de Tejas in 1848–1849, and conducted a lively polemic with José Francisco Barrundia. Most of the documents ended up in Central America and were burned, but Filísola's biographer, Don Jenaro García, was able to obtain copies of Filísola's papers from one of his descendants and published them in two volumes as La cooperación de México en la independencia de Centro America (1911). Filísola died in Mexico during a cholera epidemic.

See alsoCentral America, United Provinces of .


Alejandro Marure, Bosquejo histórico de las revoluciones de Centroamérica desde 1811 hasta 1834, 2 vols. (1834–1837), pp. 92-110, 113.

Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Central America Vol. 8, The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft (1887), pp. 56-57, 62-64.

Pedro Zamora Castellanos, Vida militar de Centro América, 2 vols. (1966–1967), pp. 120-125.

Luis Beltranena Sinibaldi, Fundación de la república de Guatemala (1971), pp. 42-45.

Additional Bibliography

Pearcy, Thomas L. The History of Central America. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006.

                                              Philippe L. Seiler