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History of the Declaration of Independence of Honduras

Escrito el: 18 de January de 2022 - Modificado: 18 January, 2022 - por: RedHonduras.com - en: History - Origin, Times and Periods, Historical Facts

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  • For nearly three centuries, Honduras was part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, so its independence revolved around pro-independence events in the other provinces. After the occupation of Spain by the French, the first acts of insurrection in favor of the independence of Central America took place in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala (1811-1813). In Honduras, the Spanish would resort to perpetuity in power with the purpose of drowning the independence cause.

    Table of Contents

    First Precursor Movements of Independence

    In San Salvador on November 5, 1811, a movement was unleashed against the colonial authorities led by Fray Matías Delgado, General Manuel José Arce, priest Nicolás Aguilar and his brothers Vicente and Manuel. The rebellion did not prosper, since the captain general of that time, José de Bustamante y Guerra, upon learning of it, sent a commission to appease the rebels, which he preferred. This is how the first attempt at independence failed.

    On December 13, 1811, another movement was made, this time in León, Nicaragua Province, to depose Brigadier José Salvado, who had governed the province for 18 years. This rebellion was headed by the Guatemalan friar Felipe Michelena. To avoid bloodshed, Brigadier Salvado resigned and handed over the position to Bishop Nicolás García Jerez.

    In Nicaragua several independence movements took place, requesting the dismissal of Spanish officials, but they did not have good results. The leaders of these uprisings were imprisoned and sent to Guatemala, many were sentenced to death, but it is assured that said sentence was not carried out; it is stated that this sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

    Arrival of the Declarations of Independence to Honduras
    Painting on the signing of the Sheets of Independence of Honduras

    Bethlehem conjuration of 1813

    In the province of Guatemala there were also men who thought about independence and held meetings in the Convent of Belén, currently the Instituto de Señoritas Belén, zone 1. This movement, which was called Conspiración de Belén, was presided over by Fray Juan de la Concepción and attended by To them Tomás Ruiz, Manuel Julián Ibarra, José Francisco Barrundia, Manuel Tot, Fray Victor Castillo and several officers.

    At these meetings it was decided that when a rocket was launched at midnight on Christmas Eve, Bustamante would be arrested and sent to Spain along with those who did not join the plot. In addition, he would free the prisoners of Nicaragua, seize the arms and money from the royal coffers, and declare independence. But unfortunately the conspiracy did not go beyond the plans, since on December 21, 1813 one of the conspirators betrayed and denounced him to the authorities. Bustamante persecuted the patriots and imprisoned many of them.

    The session of September 15, 1821

    Two days before September 15, a mail arrived in Guatemala from Tuxtla, Comitán, Ciudad Real and Chiapas, in which copies of the minutes by which these towns joined the Plan of Iguala were sent. The Plan of Iguala or of the Three Guarantees was the Plan that sealed the independence of Mexico that began in 1810. In those specifications, the other provinces of the Kingdom were encouraged to become independent as they had already done. That same afternoon, Brigadier Gabino Gaínza summoned the civil, military and ecclesiastical authorities to a session to be held on September 15; he would deal with matters of great interest to the colony.

    The meeting began without further delay. The atmosphere was tense due to the importance of what would have to be dealt with and resolved. The meeting was open door, at the Royal Palace. There were around 50 people in the hall, but more and more people were gathering in the anteroom and in the corridor, as well as in the patio, exterior portals and in the plaza itself.

    During the previous rainy night, they went to the neighborhoods to invite the neighborhood. At first, the turnout was not very large, so Basilio Porras and Dolores Bedoya de Molina tried to gather more people, they put music in the square and burned rockets to get people’s attention.

    First, the documents that had arrived from Chiapas were read and then the opinions of the attendees were heard. It was thus shown that there were different points of view, some wanted independence to be proclaimed and others wanted to delay it. The people who heard such opinions applauded excitedly and shouted for the declaration of independence to be made immediately.

    Finally, around eleven o’clock in the morning, the Act of Independence will be drafted by means of which Central America will separate from Spain. The Editor of the same was Mr. José Cecilio del Valle.

    Later moves towards true independence

    The euphoria of independence came out very little, since in January 1822, at the initiative of the conservatives and Emperor Agustín de Iturbide, the united provinces of Central America joined the Mexican empire. However, this union was broken, until the fall of Iturbide himself in March 1823.

    In March 1824, a congress met in Guatemala and the Federal Republic of Central America was founded, made up of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. The new Republic had a short existence, and after several civil wars, it the Union on October 26, 1838, and the five states of the Republic became five independent states.

    Some of the Central American states tried several times to reconstitute the Federal Republic of Central America. But these attempts failed and cost the lives of several of its initiators. A last attempt was carried out, under the influence of Dr. Policarpo Bonilla, President of Honduras, a treaty with Nicaragua and El Salvador was used, according to which the three republics constitute a federation under the name of the Greater Republic of Central America.

    The three republics were concluded in states, and the sovereignty of the federation fell to a Diet composed of three members, one for each state, which had a meeting each year in the capital of the federal states. At the invitation of this Diet, the three states appointed a delegation that met as a Constituent Assembly in Managua, and established a Constitution, according to which terms the three states took the name of the United States of Central America, on November 1, 1898.

    This Constitution…which in the minds of those who had formed it meant a consolidation of the three federal states and a prompt reorganization of the great Republic of Central America, dreamed of by Francisco Morazán, had a sad end. The day after the Constituent Assembly met, a revolutionary movement, hostile to the new federation, took place in San Salvador, which resulted in a new administration in this state. His first step was to withdraw from the Union, and this separation caused the dissolution of the United States of Central America, since, following the example of El Salvador, the states of Honduras and Nicaragua resumed their sovereignty.

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