He studied at the Valladolid Seminary, and at age 14 he entered the colonial militia as a second lieutenant because of his father’s aristocratic status.
When Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla began the revolution for independence in 1810, Iturbide became an officer with the Spanish troops. By 1820 he was a colonel.
In Spain in 1820, constitutional government was revived. This prompted monarchist Iturbide to favor independence for Mexico to keep out liberalism. He negotiated independence with the last Spanish Viceroy Juan O’Donojú, on September 27, 1821. On May 20, 1822, he proclaimed himself emperor of Mexico. The army ousted him on March 23, 1824, and executed him on July 19 for attempting to overthrow the new republic.