Mier Noriega y Guerra, José Servando Teresa de (1765–1827)

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Mier Noriega y Guerra, José Servando Teresa de (1765–1827)

José Servando Teresa de Mier Noriega y Guerra (b. 18 October 1765; d. 3 December 1827), Mexican political theorist and independence leader. Born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mier entered the Dominican order, obtained a doctorate in theology, and became notorious on 12 December 1794 when he delivered a sermon questioning aspects of the account of the Virgin of Guadalupe and arguing that the Apostle Thomas had introduced Christianity to America before the arrival of the Europeans, thus questioning the Spanish mandate to govern the New World. Exiled to Spain by the archbishop, he traveled through Europe. After the 1808 coup in New Spain, he became the paid defender of the ousted viceroy José de Iturrigaray in Spain. As a result, he published the first history of the struggle for independence, Historia de la Revolución de Nueva España (1813).

An avid polemicist, Mier wrote extensively in support of independence, alleging that the New World had possessed an unwritten constitution since the sixteenth century. In 1817 he joined the ill-fated Mina expedition to free New Spain and was captured and jailed until 1820 when he managed to escape. He traveled to the United States, where he sought support for his country's independence.

Returning to Mexico in 1822, Mier was elected to Congress and numbered among those congressmen opposed to Emperor Iturbide. Subsequently he distinguished himself in Congress as the champion of a strong federal system. He died in 1827, a patriot and an honored legislator.

By exalting Indian society, Mier created the myth of an ancient Mexican empire, thus establishing the foundations of Mexican nationalism. He was also a brilliant political thinker who integrated the Indian past with Hispanic constitutionalism to form a unique Mexican political ideology.

See alsoMexico, Wars and Revolutions: War of Independence.


Nettie Lee Benson, "Servando Teresa de Mier, Federalist," in Hispanic American Historical Review 28 (November 1948): 514-525.

John V. Lombardi, The Political Ideology of Fray Servando Teresa de Mier (1968).

Edmundo O'Gorman, ed., El hetorodoxo guadalupano, 3 vols. (1981).

Jaime E. Rodríguez O., ed., La formación de un republicano (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Arenas, Reinaldo. Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Life and Adventures of Fray Servando Teresa de Mier. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

Mier Noriega y Guerra, José Servando Teresa de. The Memoirs of Fray Servando Teresa de Mier. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Van Young, Eric. The Other Rebellion: Popular Violence, Ideology, and the Mexican Struggle for Independence, 1810–1821. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.

                     Jaime E. RodrÍguez O.