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.

 

 


 

El Español: The History of the Spanish Language

 


Spanish is one of the most important languages in the world. But what exactly is language?

 

Language emerged due to man’s need to communicate with others. In prehistoric times, men communicated through very simple oral, and sometimes written, language, and made drawings that highlighted their adventures and experiences. 

 

The Greeks developed the first alphabet, giving a specific sound to each sign. This alphabet was the precursor of the Roman alphabet, which is very similar to the one we use today. 

A language is the mirror of its culture. Through it, through the words of each language, we can observe the peculiarities or characteristics of the people that speak it.      

Language brings with it the flavors, colors, and smells of each country.  For example, when we hear the word, fiesta our mind brings forth images of Mexican joyfulness, and what can we say about a resounding Ole What do we imagine? ….. of course!….. the Spanish traditions.

 

And through language, we express not only our opinions and thoughts but our history, our cultural roots, our origins.

Today there are about 5000 different languages spoken in the world. The most frequently spoken languages are English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian and Arabic.

 

The world is increasingly interdependent; this means that we constantly have to deal with people or companies from other countries. Individuals who have the skill to master another language will be more able to be successful in this new world. There are many work opportunities for people who know how to speak another language.

 

In particular, learning Spanish gives us the possibility to communicate with an entire continent! Around 400 million people speak Spanish as their native language. From Spain to Argentina!

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.

The Aztec Sun Stone

 Español 

This huge monolith with at least 500 years of existence seems to speak to us from its silence of stone. The sunken eyes of Tonatiuh, the Aztec sun god, look out from the center of this cyclic sequence of glyphs and dates.

The impressive Stone of  the  Five Eras, has a diameter of  11.75 ft.,  3.22 ft. deep and weighs 24 tons; but above all, it is a work of art, the epitome of the warrior cosmogony and dazzling civilization that occupied the Valley of Mexico.

 

 

It is believed that the Aztecs named this monolith  Ollin Tonatiuhtlan meaning “Sun of Movement“, and refers to the era of the Fifth Sun. This era , according to the Mexica culture, would correspond to our present time, and which is expected to end with a series of earthquakes. 

Replica Showing Original Coloring

 

Despite its calendar-like appearance, some anthropologist maintain that it was used as a temalacatl, circular platform where the gladiatorial sacrifice was performed, and the blood and vitality of the warrior was fed to the sun god.

Obscure were the first centuries of existence of this monolith. It barely had a few years of splendor between 1512, when it was carved, and 1521, when Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, fell under the Spanish rule.

 

 The Spaniards abandoned the monolith near the Viceregal Palace, leaving it outside at the mercy of the elements. Then, in an effort to erase all signs of the magnificence of the Mexica culture, it  was turned face down and buried.

There it remained for two centuries until December 1790, when renovation works were carried out in the city, and was found just under half a meter of dirt, full of mud.

The discovery triggered many reactions. It was proof that the Aztecs were not uncivilized barbarians as the French and English thought at the time.

 

The Aztecs were a very civilized culture that knew and used the geometric circle, and were able to create a work of poignant beauty like that monolith.   So a few months after being discovered, it was decided it would be placed in the west tower of the Metropolitan Cathedral, so it could be admired by all who visited the beautiful city of Mexico.
That same year another Aztec monolith was found, the impressive Coatlicue (Earth goddess of life and death), a complex figure difficult to be understood by the Spanish conquistadors.

These two amazing discoveries ignited the sense of the Mexican people of their right to be an independent, sovereign nation..

Although obviously liberal influences from Europe had already permeated into 1790 New Spain’s society, undoubtedly the Sun Stone and Coatlicue became a spark that ignited the wish to rebel, the trigger that was needed to start the war for independence from Spain.

From its privileged location, the Sun Stone was a quiet witness to this and other battles, such as the American occupation in 1847. For more than 100 years it stood outside it was sheltered in the  Monoliths Gallery of the National Museum, in the Historic Center of Mexico City.

Its permanent location is now, and has been for decades, in the Bosque de Chapultepec at the world known National Museum of Anthropology.  It finally  has a place of honor and the central element in the impressive Mexica Room.