Sunday, April 27, 2014

Biography: William Walker (filibuster)

This is someone I had never heard of, and some events I did not know about.  This individual, between the period of the Mexican American War and the Civil War, attempted to establish countries in Mexico and South America, which he hoped would become part of the United States as slave states.  This activity was known as filibustering; and in it Walker found his calling. 
He first asked to be granted land in Mexico, and being denied that, with a group of men invaded Baja California and established the Republic of Lower California.  He then expanded into Sonora.  However eventually Mexico had enough of him and their resistance and his own lack of supplies caused him to retreated..  He was arrested in the United States and tried for conducting and illegal war.  However, because of sentiments of manifest destiny, he was acquitted.
He next set his sights on Nicaragua, and with a larger group of men, and using local conflict of two political groups to his advantage, he was able to conquer the country and set himself up as dictator.  He ruled for almost a year 1856-57.  His government was even recognized by President Franklin Pierce of the United States.  He ruled with an iron fist.  Part of his maneuvering included interfering with transportation through Nicaragua.  This eventually went too far, and several different groups and countries united against him and ousted him; killing several of his men.  He again escaped, but did not give up his hopes. 
Over the years he tried to invade Nicaragua again several times, without success.  In 1860 he tried again, invading Honduras first.  Honduras was a protectorate of Britain and he fell into British hands.  They turned him over to Honduran officials, who had him shot.  He died at the age of 36 in 1860.

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