Mexico's Independence Day: the story

On September 16, 1810, a priest called on people to rise up against the colonial government

The story behind Mexico's Independence Day
Mexico celebrates its independence with a huge party - Photo: Christian Palma/AP
English 12/09/2019 13:23 Newsroom Mexico City Actualizada 13:30
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On September 16, 1810, a priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla called on people to rise up against the colonial government the Spanish imposed in Mexico, therefore, he has been regarded as the “father” of the Independence movement. Miguel Hidalgo adopted the ideal of different independentist groups that extended throughout the country in 1809.

On that fateful night, “the father of the nation” rang the church's bell and called people to rise up against the Spanish colonizers so that Mexico would become an independent country. In Dolores, a town located in the state of Guanajuato, Hidalgo pronounced his historical speech along with the words “Long live the Americas and death to the Spanish invaders!”.

The fight for Mexico's independence was first led by many heroes such as Hidalgo, Allende, Aldama, and Jiménez and continued thanks to José María Morelos, Hermenegildo Galeana, Mariano Matamoros, Vicente Guerrero, Leona Vicario, and thousands of women and men and after a long fight, Mexico become an independent country in 1821.

Nevertheless, the rebels didn't plan to rise up against the colonizers until October 1, 1810, but their plan was discovered by the colonial government on September 13.

Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, the heroine who hosted the rebels at her home, warned Hidalgo and he decided to rise up immediately and on September 16, at 5 a.m., Hidalgo called on the community to rise up and fight for Mexico's independence. Hidalgo used the Virgin of Guadalupe as his banner.

Around 600 people armed with old rifles, machetes, sticks, and farming tools joined the rebels: farmers, workers, and artisans joined the movement.

In 1811, Hidalgo was captured by the enemy and was executed that same year.

Celebrating Mexican independence

In 1825, the first president of Mexico, Guadalupe Victoria declared September 16 as a national party, nevertheless, president Porfirio Díaz changed the date and established that Mexico's Independence Day would be celebrated on September 16.

Since 1825, Mexico has celebrated its independence even when it was at war with the U.S. or France.

For decades, Mexico celebrates this date with a party in Mexico City's main square, the Zócalo, on September 15, where the president rings the Dolores church's bell and remembers the heroes.

The Dolores bell

The bell Miguel Hidalgo rang on September 16 has been preserved as one of the symbols of Mexico's independence. Nowadays, the bell is kept at the National Palace in Mexico City.

Every year, the Mexican president rings the bell to commemorate and remember the who made Mexico a free and independent country.



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