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MORELOS, Jose Maria (too-ray'-los), Mexican patriot, born in Valladolid (now Morelia), 30 September, 1765; died in San Cristobal Ecatepec, near Mexico, 22 December, 1815. He was of humble parentage, and after the early death of his father, his mother, an-able to give him an education, sent him to a relative, whom he assisted for many years as a muleteer between Mexico and Acapulco. At the age of thirty he had saved enough to enter the College of San Nicolas in Valladolid, of which at that time Miguel Hidalgo (q. v.) was rector, and in 1800 he was ordained to the priesthood. He obtained by competition in 1801 the parishes of Caracuaro and Nueupetaro, where he constructed a church. When Miguel Hidalgo proclaimed independence in 1810, Morelos sympathized with him, and when, after the capture of Guanajuato, the former marched upon Valladolid, Morelos offered his services, was appointed colonel, and commissioned to organize the revolution in the southwest of Mexico. Setting out with 25 men from his parish, he displayed great activity, and soon gathered a force of about 700 men, with which he invested Acapulco early in December, defeated the governor of the fortress, and captured a large quantity of arms. After his junction with the brothers Galiana he surprised in the night of 4 January, 1811, the Spanish chief Paris, who had marched from Oajaca against him, and captured 600 guns, 5 cannon, and much ammunition. But in the same month he lost his artillery in meeting a sally from the fortress, and to evade superior royalist forces, which were gathering from all sides, he raised the siege, and by quick marches soon captured every place on the Pacific coast and the provinces of Guerrero and Michoacan, leaving the Spaniards in possession only of the fortress of Acapulco. He defeated the royalists at Chautla de la Sal and Izucar, and on 16 August, 1811, entered Tixtla, after gaining twenty-two victories within nine months, and carrying dismay into the Spanish ranks. By the end of the year all the southern provinces from the Pacific coast to the confines of the valley of Mexico were freed from the enemy. On 22 January, 1812, he captured Tenancingo, and, preparing to attack the capital, established his headquarters in the town of Cuautla Amilpas ; but the viceroy, Venegas, alarmed at the proximity of the enemy, hurried forward the army of the centre under General Felix Calleja (q. v.), ordering the Oajaca division to join him. Morelos, with about 5,000 men and 30 pieces of artillery, fortified Cuautla as well as he could, and awaited Calleja. The latter, after placing his batteries, tried to take the place by assault on 19 February, but was driven back with the loss of 500 men, and laid siege to the city. Morelos withstood daily attacks until, after seventy-two days of defence, the ammunition and provisions were exhausted, and an attempt of Mariano Matamoros to relieve the place having failed, Morelos resolved to evacuate it, and on the morning of 2 May made a bold attack, and after an obstinate fight broke through the lines of the enemy, whose forces numbered more than double his own. He soon gathered his men at Chiautla and began the campaign anew, capturing Orizaba in October, 1812, with a great quantity of arms and ammunition. Although he was defeated on his march to the south on the heights of Acultzingo, he soon collected 5,000 men in Tehuacan and marched on Oajaca, which he took by storm on 25 November After organizing a government there, he marched again to the Pacific coast, invested Acapulco, and occupied the city on 15 August, 1813, and after he had captured the island of Roqueta, in a night attack, the fortress surrendered on 20 August Morelos now convoked a congress from the southwestern provinces that had submitted to the independent forces. This assembly met on 13 September, 1813. at Chilpantzingo, and on 6 November the solemn declaration of independence was formally signed by the first Mexican congress. Morelos now resolved to establish a regular government in Valla-dolid, organized his forces with those of the other patriots, and with more than 20,000 men appeared before that city on 22 December, 1813, and summoned the commander to surrender. But the garrison had been re-enforced, and in the night of 24 December Agustin de Hurbide made a daring sally. Morelos's army, surprised and fighting in the darkness, was totally routed, and retired to Chupio. After the second defeat of his troops at Puruaran, 15 January, 1814, where Matamoros was taken prisoner, Morelos fled toward Acapulco. With what forces he could gather he joined the congress at Texmacala, and that body, on 22 October, 1814, proclaimed at Apatzingan the first Mexican constitution, and appointed Morelos one of three to take charge of the executive. Soon there were dissensions among the three, and congress, not feeling secure at Uruapam before the advancing royalist armies, resolved to transfer the seat of government to Tehuacan, and ordered Morelos to act as escort. With about 1,000 men he set out on 29 September, 1815, and, although pursued by several bodies of Spanish troops, he was able to conceal his movements until he passed Mescala river, but at Texmalaca he was overtaken by Colonel Concha, and after a short fight was totally routed on 5 November After his flight he was recognized by a Spanish officer who formerly had served under him, and delivered to Con-cha, who conducted him to Mexico. After a brief trial he was degraded from the priesthood and condemned to death. While in prison he could have escaped through the intervention of the physician of the prison, Francisco Montesdeoca, but, fearing to expose the latter to Spanish vengeance, he refused to avail himself of the offer. Fearing a popular commotion if the execution should take place in the capital, the authorities transported him early on 22 December to the small village of San Cristobal Ecatepec, near Guadeloupe, and there he was shot from the rear, according to the sentence, as a traitor. He died like a brave man. walking with a firm step to the place of execution, and, when the order was given that he should be blindfolded, he tied the handkerchief himself. As a military leader, Morelos is considered one of the best of his time. His memory and name are greatly revered by the Mexicans, and his remains, which were buried after the execution in the church of San Cristobal, have been transferred to the cathedral of Mexico, and are there preserved, together with those of Miguel Hidalgo and other heroes of the independence. His native city was called Morelia in his honor, and the state that has been formed from a part of the former state of the Valley of Mexico, containing Cuautla, where he distinguished himself, has been named Morelos. Several districts in other states have also received his name.
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