Villaurrutia, Jacobo de (1757–1833)

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Villaurrutia, Jacobo de (1757–1833)

Jacobo de Villaurrutia (b. May 1757; d. 23 August 1833), judge and journalist in Central America and Mexico. Jacobo de Villaurrutia López Osorio was born in the city of Santo Domingo on the island of Hispaniola. His father was Antonio Villaurrutia, a native of Mexico; his mother was María Antonieta López de Osorio. In his youth, he moved to Spain, where, as part of the family, he was a page for Francisco Lorenzana, archbishop of Mexico and later cardinal and archbishop of Toledo. Under Lorenzana's protection, Villaurrutia began his studies, completing the equivalent of a master's degree on 14 May 1781, and a doctorate in law four days later from the University of Toledo.

Villaurrutia began a successful career in public administration. On 2 November 1782 he was appointed magistrate and chief justice for Alcalá de Henares, a post he held for five years. In May 1792 he was named judge of the Audiencia of Guatemala, and later became a founder of the Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País (Economic Society of Friends of the Country). The purpose of this organization and similar ones in the Spanish dominions was to promote industry and the arts. They also promulgated the ideas of Spanish intellectuals through journalism.

Villaurrutia's innovative ideas led to his removal from his post in 1808 and transfer as a criminal court magistrate to Mexico City, where he continued his work in journalism, aided by Carlos María de Bustamante. His periodical was finally suppressed by Viceroy José de Iturrigaray. When problems arose as a result of Napoleon's invasion of Spain, Villaurrutia played an important role in opposing the Spanish authorities in Mexico, for which he was expelled from Mexico in 1814. Upon returning to Spain, he was appointed judge in Barcelona and became dean and internal regent. When Mexican independence was declared in 1821, he resigned and returned to Mexico, where he was appointed regent of the audiencia in 1822 and president of the Supreme Court of Justice in 1824. In 1827 he was circuit judge for the Federal District, the state of Mexico, and the territory of Tlaxcala. In November of the same year he was elected minister of the Supreme Court, and in 1831 he became its president. He died of cholera in Mexico City.

See alsoGuatemala, Economic Society of .


Manuel Berganzo, Diccionario de historia y geografía (1853–1856), and "Biografía de don Jacobo de Villaurrutia," in Anales de la Sociedad de geografía e historia de Guatemala 25 (December 1951): 388-396.

                          Oscar G. PelÁez Almengor

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Villaurrutia, Jacobo de (1757–1833)

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