Arista, Mariano (1802–1855)

By: David Vigness

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 13, 2020

Mariano Arista, Mexican general, was born at the city of San Luis Potosí, Mexico, on July 26, 1802. He entered the army as a cadet in the Puebla regiment about 1819 and rose to the rank of brigadier general. After an unsuccessful pronunciamento in favor of Centralism in 1833, he went in exile to the United States until he was repatriated and reinstated in the army in 1836. He served on the Supreme Tribunal of War and in the Supreme Military Court and in 1839 was made commandant general of Tamaulipas and general of the Mexican Army of the North. In that capacity he defeated the movement to establish the Republic of the Rio Grande in northern Tamaulipas in 1840. After a period in private life, he was recalled to active duty just before the outbreak of the Mexican War, was ordered to command the Army of the North, and was in command of Mexican troops in the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma on May 8 and 9, 1846. After suffering defeat in both engagements and being criticized by subordinates, he relinquished his command to Francisco Mexía, requested trial by a court-martial, and was absolved of guilt. He became Mexican secretary of war in June 1848. In January 1851 he was declared by the Mexican Congress the constitutional president of Mexico. He resigned in January 1853, was forced into exile, and died near Lisbon, Portugal, on August 7, 1855.

Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of the North Mexican States and Texas (2 vols., San Francisco: History Company, 1886, 1889). Diccionario Enciclopédico Hispano-Americano de Literatura, Ciencias y Artes (25 vols., Barcelona: Montaner y Simón, 1887–98). Miguel Ángel Peral, ed., Diccionario Biográfico Mexicano (Mexico City: Editorial P.A.C., 1944). Herbert Ingram Priestley, The Mexican Nation: A History (New York: Macmillan, 1923).

Time Periods:
  • Republic of Texas
  • Antebellum Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David Vigness, “Arista, Mariano,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 13, 2020