Mina, Francisco Espoz
MINA, FRANCISCO ESPOZ Y (1781-1836) Spanish guerrillero leader and general, was born at Ydozin in Navarre on the 17th of June 1781. His father, Juan Esteban Espoz y Mina, and his mother Maria Teresa Hundain y Ardaiz, belonged to the class of yeomen. Mina remained working on the small family inheritance till 1808. When Napoleon endeavoured to seize Spain in that year he enlisted in the regiment of Doyle, and then passed to the guerrilla band commanded by his nephew Xavier Mina. When Xavier was captured by the French on the 21st of March 1810, seven men of the band elected to follow Francisco; and on the 1st of April of the same year the Junta of Aragon gave him the command of the guerrilleros of Navarre.^ His first act was to arrest and shoot at Estella, one Echevarria, who, under pretence of being a patriotic guerrillero, was in fact a brigand. The national government at Cadiz gave him rank, and by the 7th of September 1812, he had been promoted to be commander- inchief in Upper Aragon, and on the left bank of the Ebro. In the interval he claimed that he had fought 143 actions big and little, had been repeatedly wounded with bullet, sword and lance, had taken 13 fortified posts, and 14,000 prisoners, and had never been surprised by the French. Though some maintain that he was not at his best as a leader in battle, as a strategist he was very successful, and he displayed great organizing capacity. The French authorities were compelled to allow him to levy customs dues on all goods imported into Spain, except contraband of war, which he would not allow to pass without fighting. The money thus obtained was used to pay his bands a regular salary. He was able to avoid levying excessive contributions on the country and to maintain discipline among his men, whom he had brought to a respectable state of efficiency in 1812. Mina claimed that he immobilized 26,000 French troops which would but for him have served with Marmont in the Salamanca campaign. In the campaign of 1813 and 1814 he served with distinction under the duke of Wellington. After the restoration of Ferdinand he fell into disfavour. On the 25th and 26th of September he attempted to bring about a rising at Pamplona in favour of the Liberal party, but failed, and went into exile. His political opinions were democratic and radical, and as a yeoman he disliked the hidalgos (nobles). The revolution of 1820 brought him back, and he served the Liberal party in Galicia, Leon and Catalonia. In the last district he made the only vigorous resistance to the French intervention in favour of Ferdinand VII. On the 1st of November 1825 he was compelled to capitulate, and the French allowed him to escape to England by sea. In 1830 he took part in an unsuccessful rising against Ferdinand. On the death of the king he was recalled to Spain, and the government of the regent Christina gave him the command against the Carlists in 1835, though they feared his Radicalism. By this time, years, exposure and wounds had undermined his health. He was also opposed to Thomas Zumalacarregui (q.v.) , an old officer of his in the War of Independence, and an even greater master of irregular mountain warfare. His health compelled him to resign in April 1835, and his later command in Catalonia was only memorable for the part he took in forcing the regent to grant a constitution in August 1836. He died at Barcelona on the 24th of December 1836. Mina was a brave and honest man, who would have conducted the war against the French in 1810-12 with humanity if they had allowed him, but as they made a practice of shooting those of his men whom they took, he was compelled to retaliate. He finally forced the French to agree to an exchange of prisoners.
AUTHORITIES. In 1825 Mina published A Short Extract from the Life of General Mina, in Spanish and English, in London. Mention is made of him in all histories of the affairs of Spain during the first third of the 19th century. His full Memoirs were published by his widow at Madrid in 1851-1852. (D. H.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)