Mexican Independence Day 16 de Septiembre


El Grito every 16th of September is the Mexican Fiesta par excellence! On this day Mexicans all over the world celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spanish rule.

This 2019 Mexico commemorates   219 years of Independence from Spanish rule and 119 years of its Revolution that began in 1910 and toppled dictator Porfirio Diaz.  Indigenous peoples were the first to inhabit what is now known as Mexico. They founded great civilizations such as the Olmec, the Teotihuacan, MayaToltec, and of course the most powerful of all, the Aztec Empire.

After Christopher Columbus “discovered” America, the Spaniards carried out expeditions to find gold and riches from these faraway lands.   In 1521, about 500 Spanish soldiers arrived in Mexico, headed by an ambitious man: Hernán Cortés.  At this time, the Aztecs had built a great empire that ruled over all Mesoamérica. So the Spaniards decided to direct their attacks towards them.

The indigenous nations that were under the Aztec rule were tired of the physical and economic hardships imposed upon them by this empire.  This circumstance made them think that by helping the Conquerors defeat the Aztecs, they would be better off.  So they decided to aid the Spaniards.

This is how the Conquest of what is now Mexico began.

On the 13th of August 1521, Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec emperor was captured. The indigenous allies of the Spaniards raided Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec empire.

They didn’t know it at the time, but they had been liberated from one oppressor and fallen in the hands of a much more powerful authoritarian.

This was the beginning of three centuries of Spanish rule. The new colony was namedNueva España, New Spain.

The years that followed were devastating. The conquerors brought with them diseases unknown to the natives. The epidemics that broke out as well as the merciless workload imposed upon the natives dramatically diminished the Indian population.   There were approximately 20 million Indians inhabiting this territory before the Conquest, and after just one century of Spanish rule there were only 1 million left!

Don Miguel Hidalgo: Father of Our Independence

Father of Mexico’s Independence

by Angie Galicia

Late one September evening the name of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla became forever engraved in Mexico’s history.  Since that night, his life as well as that of Mexico, changed radically.

Before that historic moment when his voice cried out to demand Mexico’s independence from the Spanish crown El Cura Hidalgo, Father Hidalgo, as he was called, was exactly that — an old priest from a parish in the small town ofDoloresGuanajuato.  It was there that he organized meetings with the townspeople and taught the farmers to work the land.

He was an enthusiastic and hard-working man, always worrying about the well-being of his community.  To help the indigenous, he built an estate where he established a pottery shop, a tanning shop, a blacksmith stable, a carpentry store, and a looming shop.  In addition, he sent for bees from La Habana and introduced apiculture to the inhabitants of Dolores.

Up until that famous night, Hidalgo was a Creole priest, born in a hacienda inPénjamoGuanajuato in 1753, and Mexico continued as a Spanish colony, one of the most prosperous ones though full of social injustice.

Hidalgo’s liberal ideas led him to join forces with a group of people who opposed the Spanish dominance.  Together with this group of liberals, among them Ignacio AllendeAldama and Abasolo, they reached an agreement in Queretaro to begin a revolution in October of 1810.  However, they were discovered and forced to move up the date to September 16, 1810.   … continued

Doña Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez Mexican Independence Heroine

Spanish

Doña Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, a Mexican patriot as well as a heroine of Mexico’s Independence War, made her name in history  for her bravery when she risked her own life alerting the rebel insurgents about the discovery of the Queretaro Conspiracy for Independence.

Thanks to her, Father Miguel Hidalgo moved forward the date in which the Independence movement would start to the early hours of September 16th, 1810. Without her timely notice, the struggle for independence would have been discovered and the efforts of the conspirators would never have achieved their ultimate purpose:  Mexico’s Independence from the Spanish Crown.

Maria de la Natividad Giron Josefa Ortiz is best known as Doña Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, “La Corregidora” (the Chief Magistrate) of Queretaro. She was the daughter of the Spaniards Juan Jose Ortiz and Maria Manuela Giron.

She was born in Valladolid– what is now Morelia– in 1768 and was raised in Mexico City.  Her parents died when she was a small child so her older sister Maria Sotero was granted custody.  Maria enrolled her sister in the  Colegio de las  Vizcaínas, a very prestigious school to which she was accepted because she was a criolla, creole, that is, the children of  Spaniards born in the New Spain.

While still a college student she met Miguel Dominguez, a widower who often visited the school. They fell in love and were married secretly in 1791; they had 14 children.

As secretary of the Royal Court, Miguel Dominguez was subsequently appointed magistrate of Queretaro in 1802  where the family settled. They quickly won over the sympathy of the Queretaro society of the time, joining various social groups.

It is well known that Doña Josefa was vehemently against the abuse that the Spaniards– that is, the European-born Spaniards – exercised over the natives considering and treating them as second-class citizens.   She always identified with the native’s social problems, for they were relegated to secondary positions in public administration as well as in the military.

Hispanic Heritage Month Mes de la Herencia Hispana


Every year in the US, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15.  Hispanic Heritage Month was established in 1968 proclaimed by President Lyndon B Johnson.  At first, it was only one week but later was expanded to 30 days by President Ronald Regan in 1988.

 

September 15 was set as the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month because it coincides with the Independence of several Latin American, Hispanic, countries: Costa RicaEl SalvadorGuatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico  (early September 16), and Chile.

 

Hispanic Heritage Month honors and celebrates the contributions of the Hispanic community to the American culture. Hispanics have had a great and positive influence on our country.  

 

Let’s not forget that an important area of the US territory was once Mexico: Texas,  Arizona, New Mexico, California, Utah, parts of Colorado & Wyoming.  Thus, Hispanic culture and traditions have been a part of the American culture for centuries.

 Through Hispanic Heritage Month, we honor the values such as the strong sense of family, community and hard work.  Their festive culture, imagery, art, icons, heroes, artists, social activists, athletes, and scientists. 

 

 

The Hispanic population of the United States in2015 was  56.6 million, making it the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanics constituted 17.6 percent of the nation’s total population.

 

 


 

The Beautiful Face of Courage: The Adelitas Women of the Mexican Revolution


They looked for water and food for the soldiers, built barricades to protect them in the evening, healed the sick, carried the weapons. They went on foot to the sidewalk, following the battalions where husbands, fathers, brothers, and lovers participated. They are the soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution (1910), better known as “the adelitas”, and participated in all the sides that made up this armed movement: Maderistas, Zapatistas, Villistas, Carrancistas.

 
Many times they had the worst part of the war and some leaders never acknowledged their commitment to the cause. Most of them are anonymous faces and their drama barely appears in the history books. However, some of them were immortalized in the corridos, songs of the time that compiled the experiences of the Revolution.

 
In these corridos their leaders were portrayed, events were narrated and the female presence was reflected in the battalions, always faithful, brave, cheerful, self-sacrificing and even flirtatious, with a personality so typical that it inspired the rest of the group. They even had the courage to dance and find fun in hiding.

 
The photographs of the movement reveal their appearance: dressed almost always in their petticoats or long skirts, wearing scarves and hats. Other times they are practically disguised as men, only their eyes give them away. They rarely appear smiling. Their look had become stern and distrustful, however, they are seen preparing food, guarding their children in their rebozo, sharing the fate of the soldiers.

 

 The “adelitas” or “soldaderas” also occupied more strategic roles as spies, distributing propaganda or clandestine mail agents. Despite this, there were privileges to those who could not access, for example, horseback riding. Even when pregnant, they had to follow the troops walking. If their partner died, they could take their place in the battalion and this was how they could get to occupy military ranks. The greatest rank for a woman was that of a colonel, although almost all the troops had a woman who distinguished herself by her leadership and was the one who coordinated the rest of the women.

 
About how many women participated in the Revolution, there are no precise figures. You have to immerse yourself in the archives to know the names of these brave women and the tragedies they suffered: Petra Guerrera, Hermila Galindo, Juana Belén Gutiérrez, Coronela Caritina …

 
One of the saddest events occurred in 1916, at the Santa Rosalía station in Camargo, Chihuahua, when Villa snatched the train station from the Carrancistas. Ninety women Carrancistas were arrested and one of them shot Villa. Enraged, the “Centaur of the North” demanded to know who had fired at him. As none responded, they were all shot.

 
The “adelitas” or soldaderas were also part of the coveted booty in the clashes between the various revolutionary groups. They were wanted to rape them and thus disgrace the enemy. Thus, these brave and loyal women do not differ much from what other women have been in the wars of the world: consolation and relief, soldiers of a lesser category, cannon fodder. But they have also known to be the most beautiful face of courage.

 


 

The Legend of the Foundation of Tenochtitlan The Foundation of Mexico City





 

One of the most beautiful Mexican legends recounts that the people of Aztlan, north of what is today Mexico, had to leave their homes by orders of their gods in search of the promised land.
It is believed that the Aztecs, whose name means the people of Aztlan, began to emigrate in the 6th century.

The future Aztecs or Mexica, formed by the Nahua peoples, on orders of their god Huitzilopochtli, the Sun and War god, had to abandon the place where they lived and start a pilgrimage to find a place where an eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus, devouring a snake would be.

Huitzilopochtli told the Aztecs that when they found the eagle it would be the signal that they had reached land where they would build the most powerful empire in Mesoamerica, Middle America.