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Morelos y Pavón, José María

José María Morelos y Pavón (hōsā´ märē´ä mōrā´lōs ē pävōn´), 1765–1815, Mexican leader in the revolution against Spain, a national hero. He was, like Hidalgo y Costilla, a liberal priest. Joining the revolution (1810), he conducted a brilliant campaign in the south and after the execution of Hidalgo he became insurrectionary chief. He defended Cuautla against Calleja del Rey for several months, and then cut through the siege. After taking Orizaba and Oaxaca (1812) in a brilliant engagement, Morelos captured Acapulco (1813). The Congress of Chilpancingo, convened in 1813 under his protection, elected him generalissimo with the powers of chief executive. Late in 1813 his forces were routed at Valladolid (later named Morelia in his honor) by Iturbide and were later again defeated. In 1815, Morelos was captured, degraded by the Inquisition, and shot. Only a few leaders, notably Guerrero and Guadalupe Victoria, were left to continue the revolution.

See biography by W. H. Timmons (2d ed. 1970).

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Morelos

Morelos (mōrā´lōs), state (1990 pop. 1,195,059), 1,917 sq mi (4,965 sq km), S Mexico. Cuernavaca is the capital. Morelos is separated from the Federal District and from Mexico state by the east-west volcanic chain crossing central Mexico. Morelos itself is mountainous, with many broad, semiarid valleys in the south. The climate is cold in the mountains and hot in the valleys. Chiefly agricultural, the state grows sugarcane, rice, cereals, tropical fruits, and vegetables. Industrial progress is prevalent; automobile manufacturing is significant, and mining is being developed. The principal towns are Cuernavaca and Cuautla, which is famous for its defense (1812) by José María Morelos y Pavón in the war against Spain. The state, created in 1869, was named in his honor. It is one of Mexico's most densely populated states.

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Morelos

Morelos

Morelos, Mexican state created in 1869. Covering 1,976 square miles, Morelos borders on the states of Puebla, Guerrero, Mexico, and the Federal District. Altitudes range from 17,700 feet above sea level in the mountainous north to 2,624 feet in the south.

Between 1430 and 1437 the Triple Alliance, dominated by Tenochtitlán, conquered the indigenous Tlahuica and Xochimilca peoples of Morelos. After Spaniards entered the area in 1521, the conqueror Hernán Cortés incorporated its most prosperous communities into his encomienda. By 1550, epidemics of European diseases had reduced the local population from a precontact estimate of 725,000 to about 158,000. The cultivation of sugarcane, introduced in the 1520s, expanded rapidly between 1580 and 1630 as aspiring hacendados accumulated land through governmental grants and other means. Throughout the colonial period, indigenous villagers produced fruits, vegetables, and maize for Mexico City markets, while prospects for small-scale commercial agriculture attracted many Spaniards, mestizos, and mulattoes to the area. By 1800 non-Indians out-numbered Indians in most major communities.

Late colonial expansion of sugar haciendas accelerated competition for land and water, and spawned local support for the insurgent José María Morelos y Pavón. After 1821 the area formed part of the state of Mexico. Outbursts of discontent continued: in the 1850s local villagers endorsed Juan Álvarez's Revolution of Ayutla, hoping that a liberal victory would help them defend their lands and water from the hacendados. However, the liberals who came to power in 1854 forcefully stifled agrarian unrest in the region. In 1869 the government of Benito Juárez created the state of Morelos, appointing the liberal general Francisco Leyva as governor.

The introduction of railroads and steam-powered equipment in the 1880s further stimulated sugar cultivation at the expense of village agriculture. By 1910 national political ferment provided an opening for local leaders, led by Emiliano Zapata, to challenge the power of the hacendados. Heavy fighting during the 1910 Revolution destroyed many haciendas, while the state's population declined from 180,000 in 1910 to 103,500 in 1921. Overturning an earlier redistribution sponsored by Zapata, the government of Álvaro Obregón formalized local land reform, creating 120 ejidos on three-fourths of the state's arable land.

After 1930 the numbers of landless peasants rapidly increased. By 1960 the state's population had reached 386,000, and by 2005, it had reached 1,612,899. Since the 1930s commercial agriculture has remained the economic mainstay of Morelos. Sugarcane continues to be important, with many ejidos producing for the cooperative mill at Zacatepec. Other crops include rice, sorghum, peanuts, maize, fruits, and vegetables. Tourism has grown, as entrepreneurs have converted colonial haciendas into lavish resorts.

See alsoSugar Industry .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

John Womack, Zapata and the Mexican Revolution (1969).

G. Michael Riley, Fernando Cortés and the Marquesado in Morelos (1973).

Arturo Warman, "We Come to Object": The Peasants of Morelos and the National State, translated by Stephen K. Ault (1980).

Guillermo De La Pena, A Legacy of Promises: Agriculture, Politics, and Ritual in the Morelos Highlands of Mexico (1981).

Cheryl E. Martin, Rural Society in Colonial Morelos (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Hernández Chávez, Alicia. Mexico: A Brief History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

Scharrer Tam, Beatriz. Azúcar y trabajo: Tecnología de los siglos XVII y XVIII en el actual estado de Morelos. Mexico: CIESAS: Instituto de Cultura de Morelos: Miguel Angel Porrua, 1997.

                                 Cheryl English Martin

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