Biography of José Matías Delgado (1767-1832)

Religious and Salvadoran jurist born on February 24, 1767 in San Salvador and died on November 12, 1832 in the same city. Supporter of Spanish constitutionalism and after American independence against the Mexican occupation, chaired the pro-independence Congress in 1823 and then caused a schism by its claim to erect diocese in el Salvador. In 1832 he/she was Deputy of the constituent Assembly that created the United Provinces of Central America. Delgado is well known in El Salvador as one of the fathers of the fatherland.

He was born in San Salvador on February 24, 1767 and was son of the Panamanian Pedro José Delgado, former Mayor and Royal Ensign. José Matias studied ecclesiastical career at the Seminary of Guatemala, where he/she graduated in 1794, and then law at the University in the same city. He/She tried to opositar to chairs, but it did not succeed, so he/she devoted himself completely to his apostolate. In 1797 he/she was appointed vicar of San Salvador, who served as exemplary for several years.

He is considered that Delgado was a central figure in the uprising against Spain occurred November 5, 1811 (Baron Castro does not agree with this), in which of course his brothers intervened. He/She then sought conciliatory postures with the Spanish authorities to prevent secession and enthusiastically welcomed the promulgation of the Cortes of Cadiz to publicly profess their adherence to the Constitution of 1812, when he/she was elected to preside over the provincial Council. It was not Spain, but neither intervened in the insurgent movement of El Salvador in 1814. After the restoration of the Spanish Constitution, as a result of the revolution of irrigation, he/she was again elected for County Council (1820).

He then suffered a great political change and began to manifest itself supporter of American independence. He/She participated in the meeting of September 15, 1821, who decided to become independent of Central America from Spain, and was part of its new Governing Board. It was one of those who signed the Declaration of independence, after which he/she was appointed mayor of San Salvador, where he/she had to go for forcing the Spanish authorities.

He then opposed the proposal of Gainza joined Mexico Central America and revolted along with Manuel José de Arce. He/She later faced Iturbide, when it sent to Filisola (1822) to compel the Central American part of the Mexican Empire. After the fall of Agustín de Iturbide, Delgado had the great satisfaction to preside over Congress that proclaimed the independence of Central America from July 1, 1823. The following year saw the Constitution of the United Provinces of Central America, a federal Republic, which brought together the five States of Central America.

For the federal Government, Delgado was determined in San Salvador were declared bishopric to free it from dependence on the Cassaus Archbishop of Guatemala. The Government created the diocese in 1824 and awarded it to Delgado, but a schism ensued due to opposition from Cassaus, which had to meet the Pope Pope Leo XII in 1826, to disapprove of the new creation and restoring the previous situation. The problem continued however, as when the civil war of 1828, Delgado led the Salvadoran revolt against the federal Government. Cassaus was deported to Cuba and the new mitrado named slim vicar general of el Salvador, which rejected Cassaus from exile. He/She subsequently devoted himself to his apostolic work, but his enormous prestige did that in 1832 he/she was elected Deputy of the constituent Assembly of the Central American federal State. He/She died on 12 November in the city of San Salvador.


Rodolfo BARÓN CASTRO. José Matías Delgado and the insurgent movement of 1811. (San Salvador: 1962).