A 1821 Mexican Independence Commemorative Medal
A 1821 Mexican Independence Commemorative Medal - In bronze, obverse inscribed "SEGUNDA EPOCA" above a wreath, artist "J. GUERRERO" (Jose Guerrero), while reverse illustrates two hemispheric globes with broken chains, three interlaced rings inscribed "INDEPENDENCIA, RELIGION and UNION" above and inscribed "DESATO A UN ORBE DE EL OTRO" below, measuring 47.8 mm, with loop suspension, fine. Footnote: The medal dates circa 1821 and is the first medal to commemorate the independence of Mexico, struck for the supporters of Agustin de Iturbide. The First Mexican Empire lasted eighteen months, from September 28, 1821 to March 19, 1823 and had one emperor, Agustin de Iturbide. Its origins can be traced to Napoleon I of France's conquest of Spain in 1808 and his installation of Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain. These events loosened Spain's hold on her American colonies, and the movement for Mexican independence grew stronger. The Mexican War of Indepenedence began in 1810 and continued until 1821, when rebel troops entered Mexico City after the treaty of Cordoba was signed, whereby Spain's representative, Juan O'Donoju, recognized Mexico's independence. In that year, General Agustin de Iturbide, a Mexican-born criollo (locally born people of pure or mostly Spanish ancestry) former royalist who had switched his allegiance to the insurgents in the final phases of the war, was elected head of a provisional junta government and of a regency that held the imperial power that the Spanish crown once had. On the night of May 18, 1822, a mass demonstration led by the Regiment of Celaya, which Iturbide had commanded during the war, marched through the streets and demanded that their commander-in-chief accept the throne. The next day the Sovereign Congress named him emperor, and on May 21 issued a decree officially confirming this appointment, which was officially a temporary measure until a European monarch could be found to rule Mexico. Iturbide's official title was "By Divine Providence and the National Congress, First Constitutional Emperor of Mexico". His coronation took place on July 21, 1822, in Mexico City. The territorial area of the Mexican Empire of 1821 was about 5,000,000 square kilometers, ranging from the Oregon-California border at 42nd latitude north, to the boundary with Panama (at that time, part of Colombia). Most of the countries of Central America were part of Mexico and became a seperate federal republic after the Empire collapsed. As factions in the Congress began to sharply criticise both Iturbide and his policies, the emperor decided on October 31 to dissolve it. This enraged the commander of the garrison at Veracruz, Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, who with his troops rose up against Iturbide and declared a republic on December 1. Fearing for his life as the rebellion grew stronger, the emperor ordered the dissolved Congress to reassemble on March 4, 1823. He presented his abdication to it in a night-time session on March 19. He fled to Italy shortly after. In April 1824 the Congress, having already declared his administration void, declared Iturbide a traitor. When he returned to Mexico in July 1824 he was arrested on arrival in Soto la Marine, Tamaulipas, and executed.