Causes of the WarEdit
The Mexican occupation of Guatemala in the Isthmian War of 1886 prompted a protest from New Granadan Premier Adolfo Camacho. Mexican Chief of State Benito Hermión responded by claiming that documents had been found in Guatemala City linking Camacho and deposed Guatemalan President Vicente Martinez to a French plot to attack the U.S.M. On 17 March 1887 Hermión produced documents that he claimed proved that Camacho and Martinez were planning an alliance or union directed against the U.S.M. Two months later, he produced more documents showing that New Granada, Guatemala and France were plotting to attack Mexico. French Premier Pierre Fornay claimed the documents were forgeries, and they were later proven to be so.
From 1887 to 1889, tens of thousands of Frenchmen suffering persecution in the U.S.M. fled to New Granada, while Hermión continued to denounce Camacho and his cabinet as "the devils of Bogotá." On 10 February 1890 Hermión addressed the Mexican Senate, claiming to have learned of a plot "hatched in Bogotá to assassinate leading members of this body, the Cabinet, and the Chief of State." Four days later, shots were fired at the homes of five senators, and bombs were found in the Presidential Palace. Hermión ordered the Fourth Army, stationed in Guatemala, to a state of readiness, and alerted elements of the U.S.M.'s Gulf and Pacific fleets to prepare for action.
Premier Camacho called the ambassadors of Great Britain, the C.N.A., and Spain to his offices on 15 February and told them of events in Mexico, saying, "We will fight the Mexicans if it comes to that, but in our struggle we may need help. What will your countries do in this time of trouble?" He warned C.N.A. Ambassador Wesley Eagen that "today Hermión threatens La Guaira, tomorrow he may attack Norfolk. You must realize that we will fight, and may be able to defeat this madman without your help. But if we fail, you will be next. Guatemala was the doorway to Bogotá, and Bogotá may prove the gateway to Burgoyne." However, Governor-General Ezra Gallivan was unwilling to intervene militarily on New Granada's behalf, and the British and Spanish refused to act without him.
Course of the WarEdit
Camacho chose to strike first, and the war began on 1 March 1890 when the New Granadan army under General Roberto Bermúdez invaded Guatemala, advancing to the Kinkaid Canal. The next day, the Mexican First Fleet under Admiral Frank Butland took La Guaira, followed by Caracas on 3 March. Further west on the Gulf coast, the Mexican Third Fleet under Admiral Howard Loyo captured Santa Marta on 4 March, and the 34th Marine Brigade under Colonel David Brewster began advancing south through Cundinamarca. Colonel Brewster captured Bogotá on 8 June, while the Mexican First Army under General Francisco Goodspeed secured the Venezuelan provinces to the east.
Camacho was captured on 18 September, and Bermúdez surrendered to General Miguel Aguilar on 21 September. Chief of State Hermión sent his elder brother Victoriano Hermión to rule New Granada on his behalf. Governor-General Gallivan responded to the conquest of New Granada by stating that he "deplored the seizure of this land which had done no harm" while taking no steps to disturb trade with the U.S.M. He permitted New Granadan refugees to settle in the C.N.A., but refused to allow them to establish a government-in-exile in Tampa, Georgia in 1891.
Sobel's sources for the War for Salvation are Ambassador Wesley Eagen's memoir In the Twilight (New York, 1909) John Earley's A History of the New Granada Expedition (New York, 1914), Humbert Eames' The Drive for Wealth (New York, 1941), Lydia Sulloway's El Jefe and the Lust for Empire (New York, 1943), Miguel Olin's El Jefe's War for Salvation (New York, 1956), Edward McGraw's The Mexican Empire and Its Cost (Melbourne, 1957), and Willkie Devlin's Formation of the Mexican Empire (Mexico City, 1967).