Lorenzo de Zavala

Born: 10/3/1789
Birthplace: Tecoh, Yucatan, Mexico

De Zavala played a pivotal role in Texas' battle for independence from Mexico. He was imprisoned in 1814 for his outspoken support of democratic reform in Mexico. After spending three years in prison, he was elected secretary of the provincial assembly of Yucatán. He represented Yucatán in Spain's national legislative body, called the Cortes from 1820 until 1821, when Mexico won independence from Spain.

De Zavala returned to Mexico and served in both the Mexican Constituent Congress (1822–1824) and the Mexican Senate (1824–1826). He was governor of Mexico from 1826 to 1828, an extremely volatile period in Mexican politics during which opposing political parties battled for control of the national and state governments. In 1829 President Vicente Ramón Guerrero appointed him secretary of the treasury. He served only six months before Guerrero was overthrown and de Zavala was forced into exile. He returned to Mexico in 1832 and served again as governor of Mexico and in Congress. President Antonio López de Santa Anna named de Zavala first minister to France in 1833. De Zavala resigned his post when Santa Anna began to assume dictatorial powers. He moved to Texas, where he owned land and became active in the independence movement.

As a delegate to the Consultation of 1835 and Convention of 1836, de Zavala signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. An experienced politician, de Zavala was named vice president of the new Republic of Texas. When Santa Anna was captured at the Battle of San Jacinto, de Zavala was set to return to Mexico to negotiate a permanent treaty with Santa Anna. Texas soldiers thwarted this plan, and de Zavala returned home. He resigned as vice president in October 1836 and died a month later.

Died: 11/15/1836