Gutiérrez de Lara, José Bernardo Maximiliano (1774–1841)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 2, 2020

José Bernardo Maximiliano Gutiérrez de Lara, Mexican revolutionary and diplomat, son of Santiago Gutiérrez de Lara and Maria Uribe, was born at Revilla (present Guerrero), Tamaulipas, Mexico, on August 20, 1774. He married his cousin María Josefa Uribe and became a merchant, blacksmith, and property owner at Revilla. During the Mexican War of Independence, led by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Gutiérrez and his brother were successful in fomenting revolution in Nuevo Santander, and Gutiérrez was sent by Hidalgo to recruit along the Rio Grande. After the Casas Revolt, Gutiérrez was commissioned by the rebels to solicit aid in the United States. He left Saltillo for the United States on March 17, 1811, going by way of Revilla to collect supplies. After the capture of Hidalgo, he resolved to continue his mission and in August 1811 went to Natchitoches, Louisiana. In October he left for Washington, D.C., with letters of introduction from John Sibley and arrived on December 11, 1811. He was received by Secretary of State James Monroe, who listened to the plans for establishment of a republican government in Texas and use of Texas as a base for effecting the liberation of Mexico. During his stay in Washington the Mexican leader met the ministers of Britain, Denmark, and Russia, and visited the representative from revolutionary Venezuela. Also in Washington, Gutiérrez met José Álvarez de Toledo, and with Álvarez in Philadelphia in January 1812 made plans for the liberation of Texas and Mexico. Back in Louisiana in March 1812, Gutiérrez was introduced to William Shaler, special agent from the United States, who helped Gutiérrez to return to Texas. In April 1812 the two men were in Natchitoches, where the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition assembled and set out for Texas.

Early in April 1813, after the expedition had advanced across Texas, Gutiérrez became president protector of the provisional government set up for the state, but after the arrival of Toledo, Gutiérrez was asked by the junta at Bexar to resign the presidency; he resigned on August 4, 1813, and on August 6 left with his family for Natchitoches. In April 1814, after Toledo's defeat in Texas, Gutiérrez went to New Orleans to attempt a new liberation movement. He fought in the battle of New Orleans in 1815 and while in Louisiana refused the proposal of a group known as the New Orleans Associates to lead troops against Pensacola. Late in 1816 he was in Natchitoches as an agent of Louis Michel Aury. Gutiérrez cooperated with Francisco Xavier Mina's expedition in 1817, accompanied James Long on expeditions into Texas in 1819 and 1820, and in 1820 was vice president of the council of the Long expedition at Bolivar Point. Governor Agustín de Iturbide recognized the Gutiérrez independence efforts, and in 1824 Gutiérrez returned to Revilla, where he was elected governor of Tamaulipas in July, 1824 and commandant general of Tamaulipas in March 1825. He resigned the governorship in June 1825 but in December became commandant general of the eastern division of the Provincias Internas and held the office until his resignation late in 1826. Gutiérrez opposed efforts of Antonio Canales Rosillo to set up the Republic of the Rio Grande in 1839 and was protected from Canales's violence by the intervention of Reuben Ross. Early in 1840 Gutiérrez went to Linares to live with his son, José Ángel. He became ill on a trip to Santiago and died at his daughter's home there on May 13, 1841. He was buried in the parish church at Santiago.

Vito Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas en la época colonial (Mexico City: Editorial Cultura, 1938; 2d ed., Mexico City: Editorial Porrúa, 1978). Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of the North Mexican States and Texas (2 vols., San Francisco: History Company, 1886, 1889). Julia Kathryn Garrett, Green Flag Over Texas: A Story of the Last Years of Spain in Texas (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1939). Rie Jarratt, Gutiérrez de Lara: The Mexican Experience in Texas (New York: Arno Press, 1976).

Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas

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

Anonymous, “Gutiérrez de Lara, José Bernardo Maximiliano,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 2, 2020

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