Lorenzo de Zavala bigraphy, stories - Vice president of Texas

Lorenzo de Zavala : biography

October 3, 1788 - 15 November 1836

Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala y Sáenz (October 3, 1788 – November 15, 1836) was a 19th-century Mexican politician. Texas State Historical Association He served as finance minister under President Vicente Guerrero. A colonizer and statesman, he was also the interim Vice President of the Republic of Texas, serving under interim President David G. Burnet from March to October 1836.


A leader of the Federalist Party, he served in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, and took an active part in establishing American York Rite Freemasonry in Mexico as an alternative to the older, well-established Scottish Rite (Escosese) of Freemasonry that had been introduced by the aristocratic elements previously loyal to the royal House of Bourbon. In 1826, the Grand Lodge of New York issued charters to five Masonic lodges in Mexico City. These five new Yorkino lodges formed the nucleus of the movement that favored decentralization of governmental power. Zavala became the Charter Worshipful Master of Independencia Lodge No. 454, but his political enemies forced him to leave Mexico in 1830.Normand, Pete (1986). The Texas Masons: The Fraternity of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons in the History of Texas. College Station, Texas: Brazos Valley Masonic Library & Museum Assn.


When he traveled to New York, Zavala sought to interest Americans in the empresario grants he had received in 1829. These grants authorized him to settle 500 families on a tract of land in what is now southeastern Texas. In October 1830, he transferred his interest in the grants to the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company. After spending several months during 1831 in France and England, Zavala decided to live in New York City until his return to Mexico in 1832. From December 1832 until October 1833 he again served as governor of the State of México, and in Congress as a deputy for his native state of Yucatán. In October 1833 President Antonio López de Santa Anna named Zavala to serve as the first minister plenipotentiary of the Mexican legation in Paris. When he learned that Santa Anna had assumed dictatorial powers later that year, Zavala denounced Santa Anna and resigned his commission. Santa Anna warned Zavala not to return to Mexico City, but this did not stop Zavala. In 1835 he traveled to New York and then to Texas, where he briefly shared a house with his friend Stephen F. Austin. Zavala was naturally drawn into the politics of Texas. He at first advocated the cause of Mexican Federalism, but later became a supporter of the independence movement. de Zavala was one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. He served in the Permanent Council and later as the representative of Harrisburg in the Consultation and the Convention of 1836. Zavala's legislative, executive, and diplomatic experience uniquely qualified him to help draft the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. The respect of his fellow delegates was evident when they elected him ad interim vice president of the new republic.

Zavala rejoined his family at their home at Zavala Point on Buffalo Bayou, from where they fled to Galveston Island as Santa Anna's army approached. After the Battle of San Jacinto, in accordance with the Treaties of Velasco, Zavala was appointed one of the peace commissioners to accompany Santa Anna to Mexico City, where the general was to persuade the central authorities to recognize the independence of Texas. Shortly thereafter, Zavala returned to his home due to failing health and gave up his part in the affairs of government. While out boating, his rowboat overturned in Buffalo Bayou. Zavala contracted pneumonia and died at his home on 15 November 1836. He preceded Austin in death by only four weeks. He is buried in his home town of Channelview, Texas. The State of Texas erected a monument over his grave.

Memorial namesakes

  • Lorenzo de Zavala Elementary School, Grand Prairie, Texas
  • Lorenzo de Zavala Elementary School, San Antonio, TX
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