Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos

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Caudillo, Field Marshal, His Excellency

Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos
Saelices Dávalos in 1840.
Saelices Dávalos in 1840.
Xefe d'Estáu[note 1]
In office
3 June 1826 – 19 June 1845
MonarchAdolfo I
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
25th Prime Minister of Castilliano
In office
24 March 1824 – 19 June 1845
MonarchAdolfo I
Preceded byIgnacio Menéndez Morillo
as Provisional Prime Minister
Succeeded byÁngel Carvallo Piñón
as Provisional Prime Minister
In office
18 March 1823 – 12 December 1823
Provisional Prime Minister
MonarchAdolfo I
Preceded byLuciano Carita Cavallería
Succeeded byIgnacio Menéndez Morillo
as Provisional Prime Minister
Caudillo of the National Pro-Fatherland Front
In office
18 March 1823 – 19 June 1845
DeputyIgnacio Menéndez Morillo
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
Born
Maximiliano Alexander Saelices Dávalos

10 November 1767
Sonsonate, Castilliano
Died19 June 1846(1846-06-19) (aged 78)
Chalatenango, Castilliano
Cause of deathExecution by hanging
Political partyNational Pro-Fatherland Front
Spouse(s)
Marta Lainfiesta Castañeda
(m. 1784; his death 1846)
Children5
MotherMaría Dávalos Morteno
FatherMaximiliano Saelices Hernández
RelativesSaelices Family
Alma materChalatenango Military School
OccupationMilitary officer, politician
Military service
Nickname(s)El Caudillo, General Max, Jefe Saelices
AllegianceCastilliano Kingdom of Castilliano
Branch/serviceCastilliano Castillianan Army
Years of service1785–1845
RankCaudillo Caudillo
CommandsCastillianan Army
Battles/warsSan Pabloan Revolution
1823 Castillianan coup d'état
1845 Castillianan coup d'état  Surrendered
AwardsOrder of Santiago Matadeltinianos

Maximiliano Alexander Saelices Dávalos (10 November 1767 – 19 June 1846) was a Castillianan military officer and politician who served as Prime Minister of Castilliano following a coup d'état on 18 March 1823 to 12 December 1823 and again from 24 March 1824 until he himself was overthrown on 19 June 1845. From 3 June 1846 until he was deposed, he styled himself as Chief of the State.

Saelices Dávalos was an officer in the Castillianan Army beginning in 1785. He was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal by King José VII in 1820 for his leadership against the San Pabloan Revolution, making him one of the most powerful military figures in the country. He had begun to grow ambitious for power and began planning to run in the upcomming 1825 general election until the King suddenly died and was succeeded by his young son, Emmanuel III. He convinced the Army that the King's brother, Adolfo, deserved the throne insetad. Emmanuel III was captured on 18 March 1823, and when the Parliament immediately condemned the action, Saelices Dávalos had everyone in Parliament arrested and he declared himself Provisional Prime Minister.

He had everyone in Parliament who was a member of the National Liberal Party, including Prime Minister Luciano Carita Cavallería, executed by firing squads, while sparing politicians from the Party for National Resurrection who joined his newly formed National Pro-Fatherland Front. He briefly resigned on 12 December 1823, but won the heavily rigged 1824 general election and resumed the Prime Ministership on 24 March 1824.

Saelices Dávalos ruled Castilliano as a dictator, styling himself as Caudillo, for nearly 23 years from 1823 to 1845. King Adolfo I reigned as a figurehead as the King had since the establishment of the Parliament of 1565. In 1845, the military turned on Saelices Dávalos and arrested him on 19 June 1845, in a coup lead by exiled politicians Bernabé Sarmiento Cambeiro and Ángel Carvallo Piñón. Carvallo Piñón became Provisional Prime Minister and Sarmiento Cambeiro became Prime Minister after winning the 1846 general election. Saelices Dávalos was put on trial for treason was was found guilty on 11 May 1846 and was sentenced to death by hanging. Saelices Dávalos was executed on 19 June 1846, the anniversary of his removal from office.

Early life

Maximiliano Alexander Saelices Dávalos was born on 10 November 1767 in Sonsonate, Castilliano. His father was Maximiliano Saelices Hernández, a Colonel in the Castillianan Army, and his mother was María Dávalos Morteno who ran a successful restaurant in Sonsonate. He was a member of the Saelices Family which had an extensive military background stretching to the 1600s. At age ten, he worked as a child laborer for a local fisher. When he was sixteen, he left his job to help his mother in the restaurant and when he was eighteen, he enrolled in the Chalatenango Military School at his father's insistence to continue the family's tradition of military service.

Military career

Saelices Dávalos entered the Chalatenango Military School in 1785 with the intention of becoming a military officer like his father. In 1789, he graduated as a Lieutenant and was a part of the 12th Army. In 1814, he was promoted to General and was in command of the 8th Infantry Division which was stationed in San Pablo.

San Pabloan Revolution

On 3 August 1820, peasants in the countryside of San Pablo revolted against the rule of the government and demanded the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Primitivo Pozo Cicerón, despite the fact his term expired in twenty days, and demanded better wages and greater freedoms. After burning down two private estates, killing all fifteen of their inhabitants, and besieging several city halls, Saelices Dávalos mobilized his forces to put down the rebellion.

The army was ordered to kill as many peasants as possible to "make them suffer" for rebelling against the government. After six days, the rebellion was put down by Saelices Dávalos' forces. Casualties among the army were low, but casualties were very high among the peasant population.

Becoming field marshal

On 5 April 1821, Field Marshal Anastasio Bustamante Oseguera, the commander of the 12th Army, retired. King José VII promoted Saelices Dávalos to Field Marshal to fill in the gap and as a reward for putting down the rebellion. Saelices Dávalos then requested the promotion of Ignacio Menéndez Morillo to General to fill in his empty spot in the 12th Army, to which José VII accepted the request.

1823 coup d'état and purges

Saelices Dávalos in 1823.

By 1822, Saelices Dávalos began to have political ambitions and wanted to become Prime Minister. He planned to establish a political party in 1824 and run for the seat in Sonsonate and gain enough influence to become Prime Minister in the 1925 general election.

On 13 March 1823, King José VII suddenly died of illness and was succeeded by his young son, Emmanuel III. Saelices Dávalos saw a chance at a quick power grab and went to the deceased King's brother, Adolfo, and asked if he would support a coup to bring him to the throne. Adolfo accepted and Saelices Dávalos proceeded to convince his army and other armies to join in the plot. By 17 March, twelve of the country's sixteen armies had joined in on the coup and set the date for 18 March.

On 18 March 1823, the military stormed the royal palace and arrested everyone inside, including King Emmanuel III. The invasion occured during a session of Parliament and when the members of Parliament heard what happened, the Parliament unanimously voted to condemn Saelices Dávalos and ordered his immediate arrest. Saelices Dávalos then ordered an army to storm the Parliament and everyone inside was arrested. At 3:00pm, he arrived at the Parliament building and stated that the military had taken control of a nation which was on the break of falling apart and that it was his job to keep Castilliano together. He declared that the Parliament was officially dissolved and that he would schedule new elections in 1824. Members of Parliament protested and stated that the King had not consented and that legally, Parliament was still together. Saelices Dávalos ordered the army to bring Emmanuel III to the Parliament and Saelices Dávalos declared that a military tribunal was established. Emmanuel III was tried to high treason by Saelices Dávalos and he found him guilty after a one minute trial and ordered his immediate execution. Emmanuel III was beheaded in the Parliament. Saelices Dávalos then decreed that his uncle was to succeed him and become King Adolfo I. Adolfo I entered Parliament and officially dissolved the session and scheduled new elections for 1824. All members of Parliament were then officially arrested and imprisoned. Saelices Dávalos declared himself Provisional Prime Minister and declared the establishment of the National Pro-Fatherland Front, a totalitarian, social conservative, proto-fascist, National Catholic political party.

The Esvástica was the symbol of the National Pro-Fatherland Front.

On 4 May 1823, the anniversary of the Battle of Sahagún, Saelices Dávalos had all 172 present members of Parliament put on trial with him as the sole judge. Two members of Parliament evaded arrest as they were not in attendance: Bernabé Sarmiento Cambeiro and Ángel Carvallo Piñón. They later fled the country to Creeperopolis and then later Atlántida for exile. Every defendant was tried privatly by Saelices Dávalos. First, the trials began with Prime Minister Luciano Carita Cavallería. Saelices Dávalos asked Carita Cavallería if he would accept Saelices Dávalos as the legitimate Prime Minister and join his National Pro-Fatherland Front. Carita Cavallería denounced Saelices Dávalos and stated that he would never join a party built on treason. Saelices Dávalos silenced Carita Cavallería and declared that he found him guilty of high treason and sentenced him to death by firing squad. Carita Cavallería was taken by guards and imprisoned to await his execution. Saelices Dávalos then continued to ask the same thing to every member of the Castilliano, all of whome refused, and all of whom were found guilty and sentenced to death. Then, he asked all members of the Party for National Resurrection the same thing. Most agreed to his terms due to their sympathies to his ideologies and were found innocent by Saelices Dávalos. Only seven members of the Party for National Resurrection refused and were found guilty and sentenced to death.

At 6:00pm, Saelices Dávalos ordered all the executions to take place. In total, ninety-eight people were executed by firing squads, with Carita Cavallería being the final one executed. Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos eliminated all his rivals and secured several allies through the trials and executions.

On 12 December 1823, Saelices Dávalos resigned as Provisional Prime Minister and appointed his friend, Menéndez Morillo, as Provisional President to assure voters that the election will not be rigged in any way. Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos won the 1824 general election in a landslide winning 1,432,343 votes in a 100% margin. The National Pro-Fatherland Front won all 174 seats. Adolfo I confirmed that the election was not rigged nor meddled with.[note 2]

Early Prime Ministership

On 24 March 1824, Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos assumed office as the 25th Prime Minister of Castilliano. All 174 seats were held by supporters, many of whom were themselves military officials.

1825 and 1826 elections

On the first day of his term as Prime Minister, Saelices Dávalos introduced a bill. Entitled An Act to Preserve National Order, the bill authorized Saelices Dávalos to rule Castilliano with unchecked power and didn't need to consult the Parliament to handle internal and external affairs. The bill passed unanimously with 174 votes for and none against. The next day, Menéndez Morillo introduced a bill. Entitled The Enabling Act, the bill granted Saelices Dávalos the power to appoint and dissmiss any and all government officials, including members of Parliament. The bill received mixed views and eventually ended up barely failing with eighty-three votes for, eighty-five votes against, and six abstentions. Saelices Dávalos did not like how the Parliament voted and announced new elections in 1825. He justified the new elections by stating that general elections must continue to be held every five years, and since the last scheduled elections were in 1820, the 1825 elections must occur as well.

Before the 1825 general election, Saelices Dávalos evicted the eighty-five members of Parliament who voted against the bill out of the National Pro-Fatherland Front, effectively banning them from serving in Parliament again. In the 1825 general election, the National Pro-Fatherland Front won all 174 seats and an addition 6 seats which were added to raise the total to 180. The party won 1,444,444 votes in a 100% margin again and Saelices Dávalos won another term as Prime Minister.[note 3]

On 24 March 1825, Saelices Dávalos began his second term and Menéndez Morillo again introduced another bill, also called The Enabling Act, which again granted Saelices Dávalos the power to appoint and dismiss any and all government officials, including members of Parliament. By an even closer margin, the bill failed again, this time with eighty-nine votes for, ninety votes against, and one abstention. Again, Saelices Dávalos was mad about the results and again declared new elections would be held. Before the 1826 general election, Saelices Dávalos evicted the ninety members of Parliament who voted against the bill out of the National Pro-Fatherland Front, effectively banning them from serving in Parliament like he did the year prior. In the 1826 general election, The party won all 200 seats, increased from 180. The party won 10,000,000 votes in a 100% margin and Saelices Dávalos was awarded a third term as Prime Minister.[note 4]

On 24 March 1826, Saelices Dávalos began his third term and Menéndez Morillo again introduced another bill, also called The Enabling Act, which again granted Saelices Dávalos the power to appoint and dismiss any and all government officials, including members of Parliament. This time, the bill passed with one hundred and three votes for, ninety-six votes against, and one abstention. With the passage of the bill, Saelices Dávalos ordered the immediate arrest and removal of the ninety-six members of Parliament that voted against the bill. He then ordered the arrest of the eighty-five members from the first Parliament and the ninety members from the second Parliament who voted against their respective bills to be arrested.

In total, 277 politicians were arrested. On 4 May 1826, he put all 277 members of Parliament on trial. In every trial, Saelices Dávalos told the accused, "You have been accused of high treason against the Fatherland. I find you guilty and sentence you to death by firing squad." Each trial took ten seconds and all the trials were finished in one hour. At 6:00pm, all 277 politicians found guilty of treason were executed by firing squads. Historians have since questioned why Saelices Dávalos simply didn't assume total control for himself when An Act to Preserve National Order was approved or even when he assumed power in 1823 and the general consensus is that he wanted to hold a formality to make his absolute power legitimate.

Chief of the State

On 3 June 1826, Saelices Dávalos announced that all future elections will be cancelled in order to protect Castilliano from collapsing into civil war and to keep the nation strong. He also declared himself "Chief of the State."

Fall from power

Imprisonment, trial, and execution

Personal life

Legacy

Castillianan military

Castillianan politics

Electoral history

Overall

1824 Castillianan general election
Party Leader Parliament Votes
Of total Of total
National Pro-Fatherland Front Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos 174 100%
174 / 174
1,432,343 100%
1825 Castillianan general election
Party Leader Parliament Votes
Of total Of total
National Pro-Fatherland Front Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos 180 100%
180 / 180
1,444,444 100%
1826 Castillianan general election
Party Leader Parliament Votes
Of total Of total
National Pro-Fatherland Front Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos 200 100%
200 / 200
10,000,000 100%

National Pro-Fatherland Front

Election year No. of overall votes % of overall votes Seats won Prime Minister
After Election
1824 1,432,343 100% (No. 1)
174 / 174
Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos (National Pro-Fatherland Front)
1825 1,444,444 100% (No. 1)
180 / 180
Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos (National Pro-Fatherland Front)
1826 10,000,000 100% (No. 1)
200 / 200
Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos (National Pro-Fatherland Front)

Orders and decorations

Domestic

Castilliano Kingdom of Castilliano

Foreign

 Creeperopolis

Ancestry

Notes

  1. Meaning "Chief of the State."
  2. Despite King Adolfo I, Provisional Prime Minister Ignacio Menéndez Morillo, and Prime Minister-elect Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos all stating that the election was not rigged in any way, the Castillianan Parliament conducted an investigation into the election's legitimacy and discover that only 2,158 people actually voted for the National Pro-Fatherland Front. The investigation confirmed that 1,432,343 did in fact vote in the election, but that the other 1,430,185 votes were blank and/or invalid as a way to protest Saelices Dávalos's government.
  3. Despite King Adolfo I Prime Minister Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos all stating that the election was not rigged in any way, the Castillianan Parliament conducted an investigation into the election's legitimacy and discover that only 1,009 people actually voted for the National Pro-Fatherland Front. The investigation also found that only 982,441 people actully voted in the election.
  4. Despite King Adolfo I Prime Minister Maximiliano Saelices Dávalos all stating that the election was not rigged in any way, the Castillianan Parliament conducted an investigation into the election's legitimacy and discover that only 458 people actually voted for the National Pro-Fatherland Front. The investigation also found that only 11,492 people actully voted in the election.

See also