Biography of Francisco Morazán – Procer of Honduras
José Francisco Morazán Quezada was born in Tegucigalpa on October 3, 1792 and died in San José, Costa Rica, September 15, 1842, he was a military and politician who ruled the Federal Republic of Central America during the turbulent period from 1827 to 1842.
- Private life of Francisco Morazán
- Marriage and Family
- Beginning of his political and military career
- October 3 – Soldier’s Day
- What’s more
Francisco Morazán rose to fame after his victory in the legendary Battle of La Trinidad, on November 11, 1827. From then until his death in 1842, Morazán dominated the political and military scene in Central America. He was known as the Paladin of Central American.
In the political sphere, Francisco Morazán was recognized as a great thinker and visionary. I have tried to transform Central America into a great and progressive nation. During his tenure as president of the Federal Republic, Morazán promulgated liberal reforms, which included: education, freedom of the press and religion, among others. It also limited the power of the Catholic Church with the abolition of the tithe by the government and the separation of the State and the Church.
With these reforms, Morazán made powerful enemies, and his period of government was marked by bitter infighting between liberals and conservatives. However, through his military capacity, Morazán remained firmly in power until 1837, when the Federal Republic was irrevocably fractured.
This was exploited by the Church and conservative leaders, who came together under the leadership of Rafael Carrera, and, in order to protect their own interests, ended up dividing Central America into five states.
Private life of Francisco Morazán
Early years and their education
José Francisco Morazán Quezada was born on October 3, 1792 in Tegucigalpa, then part of the Comayagua Intendancy, Captaincy General of Guatemala, during the last years of the rule of the Spanish colony. His parents were Eusebio Morazán Alemán and Guadalupe Quezada Borjas, both members of an upper-class Creole family dedicated to commerce and agriculture.
His grandparents were: Juan Bautista Morazán, a Corsican emigrant, and María Borjas Alvarenga. Thirteen days after his birth, Morazán was baptized in the church of San Miguel Arcángel, by Father Juan Francisco Márquez.
Francisco Morazán was for the most part a self-taught man. In 1804, his parents took advantage of the opening of a Catholic school in the town of San Francisco where they sent the young José Francisco.
According to historian Ramón Rosa, Morazán “had the misfortune of being born […] in that sad time of isolation and total darkness in which Honduras lacked schools. […] Morazán then, had to learn his first letters, reading, writing, the elementary rules of arithmetic in private schools with poor organization and sustained with a kind of contribution that the parents prepared.
The teachings he received were through Fray Santiago Gabrielino, appointed religious instructor to the Guatemalan priest José Antonio Murga.
In 1808, José Francisco moved with his family to Morocelí. There he worked on the lands inherited by Don Eusebio Morazán. In addition, he had the opportunity to work as an employee of the mayor’s office. In 1813 the family moved back to Tegucigalpa. Once there, Mr. Eusebio placed his son under the tutelage of León Vásquez, who taught him civil law, criminal proceedings, and notarization.
At the same time, he had the opportunity to learn to read French in the library of his uncle-in-law, Dionisio de Herrera, which allowed him to become familiar with the works of Montesquieu, the social contract of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the French Revolution, history of Europe, as well as biographies of Greek and Roman leaders. This dedication and spirit of improvement, from time to time led José Francisco to stand out in his hometown, where he came to represent the interests of some people before the colonial court.
Marriage and Family
Francisco Morazán married María Josefa Lastiri in the Cathedral of Comayagua on December 30, 1825. From this marriage Adela Morazán Lastiri was born in San Salvador in 1838: Morazán’s only daughter. María Josefa belonged to one of the richest families in the province of Honduras.
His father was the Spanish merchant Juan Miguel Lastiri, who played an important role in the commercial development of Tegucigalpa. His mother was Margarita Lozano, a member of a powerful Creole family in the city.
María Josefa was a widow who had first married the landowner Esteban Travieso, with whom she had 4 children. Upon his death, Lastiri inherited a fortune. The inheritance of María Josefa and the new circle of powerful and influential friends, who came out of this marriage, helped to greatly lift the businesses of Morazán himself, and consequently his political projects.
Outside of his marriage, Francisco Morazán was the father of a son, Francisco Morazán Moncada, who was born on October 4, 1827 from the general’s relationship with Francisca de Moncada, daughter of a well-known Nicaraguan politician named Liberato Moncada. Francisco Morazán Jr. lived in the house of the Morazán-Lastiri couple, and accompanied his father in Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Peru and finally in Costa Rica.
After the death of his father, Francisco Morazán Moncada settled in Chinandega (Nicaragua), where he dedicated himself to agriculture. He died in 1904, at the age of 77. General Morazán also had an adopted son named José Antonio Ruiz.
He was the legitimate son of Eusebio Ruiz and the Guatemalan lady Rita Zelayandía, who gave her son to General Morazán when the boy was only 14 years old. José Antonio accompanied his adoptive father in various military actions and became a brigadier general. He died in Tegucigalpa in 1883.
Beginning of his political and military career
The Captaincy General of Guatemala became independent from Spain in 1821. It was at that time that Francisco Morazán began to take an active part in politics. He worked in the city hall of Tegucigalpa, where he served as secretary to Mayor Narciso Mallol and as a public defender in judicial cases in civil and criminal matters, among other things.
This allowed Morazán to acquire a great knowledge of the structure and operation of the public administration of the province. Thus it also allowed him to come into close contact with the problems of colonial society.
On November 28, 1821, a note from General Agustín de Iturbide arrived in Guatemala suggesting that the Kingdom of Guatemala, and the Viceroyalty of Mexico, form a great empire under the Plan of Iguala and the Treaties of Córdoba.
The Provisional Advisory Board stated that this was not an immediate order to make such a determination, but rather an option; so it was necessary to explore the will and listen to the opinion of the people of Central America. With this idea, open town councils were held in different parts of the Kingdom, since the new form of government had to be decided by the congress that would meet in 1822.
The issue of annexation to Mexico caused divisions within each of the provinces since some cities were in favor of it and others against it. In Honduras, for example, Comayagua – through its governor José Tinoco de Contreras – came out in favor of annexation; but Tegucigalpa, the second largest city in the province, opposed the idea of it. This caused Tinoco to take repressive actions against the authorities of that city.
Faced with this situation, an army of volunteers was organized in Tegucigalpa, in order to counteract Tinoco’s aggressiveness and defend its independence. It was during these events that Francisco Morazán enlisted as a volunteer, at the service of the Tegucigalpa authorities. He was appointed as captain of one of the companies, by decision of the official chiefs who organized the militias. Thus began the military life of Morazán and his fight against conservative interests.
Tegucigalpa, however, could not maintain its opposition, and was forced to recognize its annexation to Mexico on August 22, 1822. Agustín de Iturbide’s annexation to the Mexican Empire did not last long, because he abdicated on March 19, 1823, and on July 1 of that same year, Central America proclaimed its definitive independence, and became the United Provinces of Central America.
Subsequently, on September 28, 1824, Francisco Morazán was appointed secretary general of the government of his in-law uncle and first head of State of Honduras, Dionisio Herrera. This was until 1826, when he became president of the Representative Council.
October 3 – Soldier’s Day
In 1942 to commemorate the worthy of the homeland and the heroic defenders of the nation, the National Congress of Honduras declared by decree No. 49, the anniversary of the birth of General Morazán as Day of the Honduran Soldier because it is a duty of the State “pay tribute to the memory of the illustrious citizens who sacrificed their lives for the Homeland,” as the Honduran hero did.
Decree of the Day of the Honduran Soldier and Birth of Francisco Morazán
DECREE No. 49
THE NATIONAL CONGRESS
CONSIDERING: That the institution of arms constitutes the supporting foundation of the nations, and that in our country it is represented by the Honduran soldier;
CONSIDERING: That it is a duty of the State to pay tribute to the memory of the illustrious citizens who sacrificed their lives for the Homeland, who, like General Francisco Morazán, died to support the Union of Central America;
CONSIDERING: That the Honduran hero General Francisco Morazán, is an unsurpassed model of honor, self-denial and sacrifice,
Article 1 – Declare “Day of the Honduran Soldier”, on October 3, anniversary of the birth of General “Francisco Morazán”.
Article 2 – This Decree will take effect from the day of its promulgation.
Given in Tegucigalpa, DC, in the Sessions Hall, on February 5, nineteen hundred and forty-two.
(f) Plutarco Muñoz, President. (f) Vicente Cáceres, Secretary. (f) Fernando Zepeda, Secretary.
To the Executive Branch
Tegucigalpa, DC, February 5, 1942.
The Secretary of State in the War, Navy and Aviation Offices.
(f) Juan Manuel Gálvez.