Anniversary of the Mexican Independence

The Mexican War of Independence (1810 – 1821), was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and Spanish colonial authorities, which started on September 16, 1810. The Mexican War of Independence movement was led by Mexicans, who sought independence from Spain, and lasted eleven years until the troops of the liberating army entered Mexico City in 1821 with the signing of the Treaty of Córdoba, on August 24 in Córdoba, Veracruz. It started as an idealistic peasants’ rebellion against their colonial masters, but finally ended as an unlikely alliance between “liberales” (liberals) and “conservadores” (conservatives).

The founder and leader of the Mexican Independence movement was Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest from the small town of Dolores. Soon after becoming a priest, Hidalgo y Costilla began to promote the idea of uprising peasants against wealthy Spanish land-owners and foreign aristocrats.

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During his seven years at Dolores, Hidalgo y Costilla and several educated Mexicans organized secret discussion groups. The independence movement was founded over these informal meetings, which were directed against the Spanish colonial government and foreign rulers of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.

During the dawn of September 16, and under the “Viva Mexico” rallying cry, the revolutionary army decided to strike for independence and marched on to Guanajuato, a major colonial mining center governed by Spaniards.

In early 1811, Hidalgo y Costilla and some of his soldiers were captured to later face trial and be found guilty of treason. Following their death, the leadership of the revolutionary army was assumed by José María Morelos. Under his command the cities of Oaxaca and Acapulco were occupied. In 1813, the Congress of Chilpancingo was conveyed and in November 6th of that year, the Congress signed the first official document of independence, known as the “Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of Northern America”. It was followed by a long period of war at the Siege of Cuautla. In 1815, Morelos was captured by Spanish colonial authorities and executed for treason in San Cristóbal Ecatepec on December 22nd.

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In 1820, Agustín de Iturbide was a former Spanish general who switched sides to fight for Mexican independence. His army was joined by rebel forces from all over Mexico. When the rebels’ victory became certain, the Viceroy of New Spain resigned. On August 1821, representatives of the Spanish crown and Iturbide signed the Treaty of Córdoba, which recognized Mexican independence under the terms of the Plan of Iguala, ending three centuries of Spanish colonial rule.

It was then when Iturbide proclaimed himself emperor – officially as a temporary measure until a member of European royalty could be persuaded to become monarch of Mexico. Opposition to his administration soon grew, and in 1823 various regional governors and military commanders, among them Guadalupe Victoria, called for Iturbide’s overthrow to declare Mexico a Republic. A revolt against Iturbide in 1823 established the United Mexican States, and in 1824, Guadalupe Victoria became the first president of the new country.

Two centuries later, Mexico stands as an independent country with pride and respect for the heroes that gave their lives to defend their people and culture. Viva Mexico!

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