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Ignacio José de Allende y Unzaga (January 21, 1769 – June 26, 1811), born Ignacio Jose de Jesus Pedro Regalado Allende y Unzaga, was a captain of the Spanish Army in Mexicomarker who came to sympathize with the Mexican independence movement. He attended the secret meetings organized by Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, where the possibility of an independent New Spain was discussed. He fought along with Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in the first stage of the struggle, eventually succeeding him in leadership of the rebellion. Allende was captured by Spanish colonial authorities while he was in Chihuahuamarker and executed for treason.

Biography

Allende was born on January 21, 1779 to a wealthy Spanish criollo family in San Miguél el Grande in Guanajuatomarker, Mexico. His father was Domingo Narciso de Allende, a wealthy trader.

In 1802, he joined the Viceregal army of New Spain, serving under general Félix María Calleja. In 1806, he started to favor the possibility of independence from Spainmarker.His attendance at a conspiratorial meeting in Valladolid (today Moreliamarker) was discovered, in 1809, by the Spanish and went unsanctioned. Regardless, Allende kept supporting the underground independence movement. He was eventually invited by the mayor of Querétaromarker, Miguel Domínguez and his wife Josefa Ortíz de Domínguez to discuss further plans for independence at their home. It was during one of these meetings where Allende met Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and his captain Juan Aldama.

Originally, the independence movement was to be led jointly by Allende and Aldama. A change of plans prompted by the discovery of the conspiracy forced Hidalgo y Costilla to start the rebellion earlier than agreed. The famous Grito de Dolores by Hidalgo y Costilla signaled the beginning of the revolution, after which the conspirators rallied behind him. The rebel army quickly captured the town of Dolores and marched towards San Miguel el Grande, where Allende obtained the support of his cavalry regiment. On September 22, 1810, Hidalgo y Costilla was officially made captain general of the Revolutionary army while Allende was made lieutenant general.After the famous capture of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, in Guanajuato, and his victory in the Battle of Monte de las Cruces Allende suggested Hidalgo y Costilla march toward Mexico Citymarker and capture it.As a consequence of the rebels' defeat in the Battle of the Bridge of Calderón, the leadership of the Revolutionary army demanded the replacement of Hidalgo y Costilla as their leader. Allende took this new responsibility and, with a decimated army, he decided to march north to the United Statesmarker, hoping to gather more money, weapons and troops. The rebels, however, were ambushed in Acatita de Baján due to the betrayal of Ignacio Elizondo, leading to the capture of Allende and several other rebel commanders. Allende's illegitimate child Indalecio was killed during this ambush.

Allende was taken to the city of Chihuahuamarker where he was tried for insubordination and executed by firing squad on June 26, 1811. His body was decapitated and his head taken to the Alhóndiga de Granaditas where it was shown to the public inside a cage hung from one corner of the building. In 1824 his remains were buried in the vault reserved for the viceroys and presidents in the cathedral of Mexico. His remains were moved in 1925 to the Independence Columnmarker in Mexico City.

Legacy

Allende is a national hero of Mexico. Places in Mexico named in his honor include the municipality of Allende and town of San Miguel de Allendemarker in the state of Guanajuatomarker, and the Chihuahuamarker municipality of Allendemarker and its municipal seat, Valle de Allendemarker.

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