Mescala, Island of

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Mescala, Island of

Island of Mescala. Located in Lake Chapala, to the south of Guadalajara in western central Mexico, the small island was seized and fortified late in 1812 primarily by Indian insurgents from the lakeside villages. Repeated military attacks against the entrenched rebel forces proved unsuccessful. These failures not only embarrassed the Spanish commander José de la Cruz but also drew off royalist forces from more vital antiguerilla action in western Mexico. Eventually weakened by a combination of naval blockade, plague, and offers of amnesty and land, the rebels surrendered in late 1816 after a four-year siege. Subsequently the island served for some years as a high-security penitentiary.

See alsoGuadalajara .


Vicente Riva Palacio, México a través de los siglos, vol. 3 (1940).

Brian R. Hamnett, Roots of Insurgency: Mexican Regions, 1750–1824 (1986), esp. pp. 190-192.

William B. Taylor, "Banditry and Insurrection: Rural Unrest in Central Jalisco, 1790–1816," in Riot, Rebellion, and Revolution: Rural Social Conflict in Mexico, edited by Friedrich Katz (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Santoscoy, Alberto. "Defensa Heroica de la Isla de Mezcala en el Lago de Chapala, por los valientes Indios Insurgentes de la Región."

Schroeder, Susan. Native Resistance and the Pax Colonial in New Spain. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press,, 1998.

                                        Eric Van Young