Zavala, Lorenzo de (1788–1836)

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Zavala, Lorenzo de (1788–1836)

Lorenzo de Zavala (b. 3 October 1788; d. 15 November 1836), Mexican politician and writer. Born in Mérida, Yucatán, Zavala distinguished himself as a liberal member of the San Juan group in Mérida during the first constitutional period (1810–1814). Incarcerated in 1814, he spent three years in prison. Elected deputy to the restored Spanish Cortes in 1820, Zavala joined other American deputies in favoring home rule. He returned to Mexico in 1822 and was elected to the First Constituent Congress. He sided with Mexico's emperor, Agustín de Iturbide, when he dissolved the congress.

After the fall of the monarchy, Zavala was elected to Congress once again, this time as a federalist. He joined the yorkinos (York Rite Masons) in 1825, becoming a leading radical. In 1827, Zavala was elected governor of the state of Mexico, where he introduced legislation to disentail church property and to break up village lands to encourage private ownership. The following year he joined the revolt of Acordada, eventually becoming minister of the treasury in the Vicente Guerrero administration. In that capacity he had the temerity to levy new taxes in a vain attempt to restore sound fiscal policy. Driven out of office in 1829, Zavala traveled to the United States and Europe, where he wrote Ensayo histórico de las revoluciones de Mégico. He returned to Mexico and to politics in 1832; the following year he was elected to Congress once again. Shortly thereafter, he accepted the post of minister to France, where he remained until 1835.

With the collapse of federalism, Zavala returned to Texas, where he owned vast properties as a result of many years of land speculation. When Texas declared independence, he joined the separatists, becoming the first vice president of that republic. Suffering from poor health, he died in 1836, apparently from pneumonia.

See alsoIturbide, Agustin de; Texas Revolution.


Raymond Estep, Lorenzo de Zavala: Profeta del liberalismo mexicano (1952) and "Lorenzo de Zavala and the Texas Revolution," in Southwestern Historical Quarterly 57 (January 1954): 332-335.

Charles Macune, El estado de México y la federación mexicana (1978).

Barbara A. Tenenbaum, The Politics of Penury: Debts and Taxes in Mexico, 1821–1856 (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Henson, Margaret Swett. Lorenzo de Zavala: The Pragmatic Idealist. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1996.

                                Jaime E. RodrÍguez O.

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Zavala, Lorenzo de (1788–1836)

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