Zuloaga, Félix María (1813–1898)

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Zuloaga, Félix María (1813–1898)

Félix María Zuloaga (b. 1813; d. 1898), Mexican military officer and president of Mexico (January 1858–January 1859). Born in Álamos, Sonora, Zuloaga was raised in Chihuahua. He studied for a time in Mexico City but returned to the north, where he began a military career by joining the civic militia of Chihuahua in 1834 and fighting the Apaches and Comanches. He then returned to Mexico City, where he passed the engineering exam in 1838 and received a commission as second lieutenant in an engineering battalion of the regular army. He fought against the separatists in Yucatán, and was raised to the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1841. During the war with the United States, Zuloaga directed the fortifications at Monterrey in 1846 and fought in defense of Mexico City in 1847. After the war he returned to Chihuahua, where he held posts in the city government before returning to the army in 1851. He served as president of the Council of War of the Plaza of Mexico under President Santa Anna in 1853. Zuloaga fought against the Revolution of Ayutla in 1854 and was raised to the rank of brigadier general before being taken prisoner by the liberals.

After President Ignacio Comonfort reintegrated him into the army, Zuloaga fought against a conservative rebellion in Puebla before supporting the Plan of Tacubaya in December 1857. The Plan of Tacubaya backed President Comonfort in the struggle between puros and moderados, and called for a new congress to write a new constitution "more in harmony with the will of the Nation." At first Comonfort supported the plan; then he organized against it and was deposed by General José de la Parra in January 1858. Benito Juárez, head of the supreme court and next in legal succession to the presidency, assumed that office with the support of the liberals. Zuloaga, however, was elected president by the conservative Council of Representatives of the Departments (22 January 1853). This political clash began the War of the Reform. By presidential decree, Zuloaga annulled the Ley Iglesias, the Ley Juárez, and the Ley Lerdo, and reinstated all government employees who had lost their jobs for failing to swear allegiance to the Constitution of 1857. For his part in the execution of Melchor Ocampo, Zuloaga was declared an outlaw by the liberals. He spent the years of the French Intervention in Cuba but returned to Mexico before his death.

See alsoComonfort, Ignacio; Ocampo, Melchor.


Walter V. Scholes, Mexican Politics During the Juárez Regime, 1855–1872 (1957), pp. 23, 28-29; Diccionario Porrúa de historia, biografía y geografía de México, 5th ed. (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Fowler, Wil. Mexico in the Age of Proposals, 1821–1853. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998.

Rodríguez O, Jaime E. The Divine Charter: Constitutionalism and Liberalism in Nineteenth-century Mexico. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.

Villegas Revueltas, Silvestre. El liberalismo moderado en México, 1852–1864. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1997.

                                                 D. F. Stevens