History Of Azatlan

War of Independence

The territory of Aztlan, except for the Baja Peninsula, were territories of the United States prior to 1877. After the War of Southern Independence the United States had increasing difficulty controlling its western territories, especially a growing independence movement in Utah and a wide coalition of American Indian. These movements were initially supported by France and Great Britain.

In 1875 Porfirio Díaz became the strong-man in Mexico and began openly encouraging mass emigration into the unsettled American territories by Mexican citizens and called for a "Reconquista". Díaz also began a campaign of surreptitiously promoting chaos and dissent against the US government by providing aid to both the Mormons and the Indians. US immigration into the territories came to a standstill after a series of brutal massacres of settlers over the next two years.

The Confederate States were prohibited by treaty from interfering directly but provided support through willing third-parties, especially to their American Indian allies and maintained a hostile presence back east to keep the bulk of US military forces pinned down.

In 1876 the US mounted a major military invasion of Utah under General George Armstrong Custer. Custer entered the state expecting a quick suppression of the Mormons to be followed by a campaign against the Indians. Custer made no secret of his plans, granting numerous newspaper interviews and leaving Chicago with great fanfare. With advance warning, Brigham Young head of the church sent ambassadors to all of the various groups calling for a council of unity. After a summit at Salt Lake City the Mormons, all of the associated Indian tribes, and Mexican Immigrant leaders all agreed to conduct a common defense under Young.

Custer entered Utah, encountering minimal resistance. Emboldened by the seeming reluctance of the Mormons to fight, Custer pushed his troops forward at a brutal pace through the Spanish Fork toward Provo. At Soldier's Ford, south of Provo Custer encountered a well prepared defensive position and an initial attack by his tired troops was repulsed. Characteristically, Custer attempted to force a crossing with his superior force. While Custer was fully engaged at the ford, Californians, and Mexican regulars posing as Californians, moved up the valley and cut off Custer's escape route. With the cork in the bottle, Young sprung the trap and opened up on Custer's attackers with Mexican artillery hidden on the heights above the ford. Custer's army had had enough and fell back from the position and his officers advised a retreat out of the valley before things got out of hand. A reluctant Custer acceded to their wishes and ordered the withdrawal. But before it could get underway the Californians and Mexicans had pushed forward and encountered Custer's supply train which they promptly wreaked havoc. Custer's found himself withdrawing both ways.

Surrounded, Custer's tired army dug hasty defensive positions but it was only a matter of time. Some of Custer's officers recognizing their dire situation tried to slip away over the mountains at night but found that the hills were full of Indians. There was no escape. The army continued to take plunging fire from the heights and food and ammunition began to get low. Custer's officers urged a surrender but Custer would hear nothing of it and ordered a breakout. At dawn on May 4th, the weary army conducted a frontal attack against the southern force. Brigham Young, hearing the sound of the guns ordered his troops to abandon their prepared positions and strike the rear of Custer's force. After two hours of brutal combat resulting in the loss of a quarter of Custer's force, he was struck in the head by a bullet. Custer's second-in-command immediately ran up a flag of truce and surrendered the army to Young.

The next day, California, and the territories announced their withdrawal from the Union and the formation of a new confederation. Young announced the formation of Deseret out of Utah Territory. The Confederation was immediately recognized by Díaz, England, and France. Unknown to Díaz, Young's territorial representatives in Washington put forward a proposal to the US administration, secretly agreeing to provide access to resources, favorable relations, and the completion of the long awaited trans-continental railroad in exchange for an end to the conflict and protection from Díaz. Young made the same promises to the CSA. The US recognized that they could either deal with Young or with a Díaz, England, France combination and reluctantly agreed.

Díaz and his supporters were furious but Young, in his famous speech before the unity council, made an eloquent and impassioned case for a free and independent "Azatlan" over a Díaz puppet state. Young was also making deals behind the scenes, wooing Díaz supporters with promises of wealth and power. In the end, Utah retained almost complete autonomy, the various Indian tribes obtained a similar autonomy and protected cultural status, while the Hispanic settlers took mastery over California and most of the limited federal mechanisms of government. Díaz had been outmaneuvered no less than Custer had been.

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