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José María Morelos

José María Morelos y Pavon (30 September, 1765 - 22 December, 1815) was one of the main early leaders of Mexico's struggle for independence from Spain.

Morelos was born in Morelia (then known as "Valladolid") in what is now the Mexican state of Michoacán, then part of New Spain. At the age of 33 he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.

In 1810 he joined the rebellion against Spain called for by Miguel Hidalgo. After Hidalgo was captured and executed, Morelos took over as the leader of the revolution.

He skillfully fought against the Viceroy's Spanish army, and captured the cities of Oaxaca (in 1812) and Acapulco, Mexico's main Pacific seaport, the following year.

He was captured by Spanish forces and shot as a traitor at the village of San Cristóbal Ecatepec. His lieutenant Vicente Guerrero continued the fight after his death.

José María Morelos is a national hero of Mexico. The Mexican state of Morelos is named after him.

See also: History of Mexico