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Father Hidalgo

Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla is known as the father of Mexican independence because he led the first revolt against Spanish rule in Mexico.

Hidalgo, a priest from the village of Dolores near Guanajuato, ordered the arrest of the native Spaniards in Dolores on September 16, 1810. Then he rang the church bell and called the Indians and mestizos of the town to mass. There, he made a speech known as the Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores), where he called for a rebellion so that Mexicans, rather than Spaniards, could govern Mexico. Although Mexico did not officially become independent from Spain until 1821, Mexicans celebrate September 16 as Independence Day because this is the day that the movement towards independence began. Every year, late on September 15, Mexico's president rings a bell and repeats the Grito de Dolores.

Hidalgo was later captured and, after he was excommunicated and degraded from the priesthood, was shot as a rebel on July 31 or August 1, 1811. Mexico was later conquered by the French army. The Mexican army defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The Mexican people celebrate this victory every May 5 on Cinco de Mayo.

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critical thinking
How is the Mexican fight for independence similar to that of the United States? Why?

Related Links:

Hidalgo’s Call for Mexican Independence

Basic history of Mexican independence

Read More, Learn More:

Meyer, Michael C. and William L. Sherman. 1979. The Course of Mexican History. New York: Oxford University Press.

Priestley, Herbert Ingram. 1923. The Mexican Nation: A History. New York: Macmillan.