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 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.

Cinco de Mayo

by May Herz

¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!

Mexicans are truly festive; any excuse gives way for a celebration! But the most important and exciting are the 16th of September, Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May. They are good occasions to show the pride of being Mexican, the love of the Motherland, and the certainty of being a free country, thanks to the many men and women whose struggle made history.
 

The quest for independence started on the 16th of September 1810, following the will to become a free nation, no longer submitted to Spanish rule. The struggle went on for 10 years. Finally, in 1821, the first independent Mexican government was established.

Presidente Benito Juarez

 Being an independent nation was not easy. Over the years, Mexico received economic support from several nations, France and England among them. Later on, even Spain supported the new country. 

Thus, Mexico became indebted. Due to ongoing political unrest caused by many groups struggling for power, Mexico was not able to pay back the loans. On July 17, 1861, President Benito Juarez issued a moratorium in which all-foreign debt payments would be suspended for a period of two years, with the promise that after this period, payments would resume.

 

In 1862, the three European countries dispatched their fleets to Mexican shores pursuing not only money but also land and rights as payment for their loans. A government representative greeted them and explained that Mexico did acknowledge its debts, but it had no funds to pay them. They were offered payment warrants in exchange.

The Spaniards and the British decided to accept the warrants and withdrew from the scene. But the French government’s representative did not accept the offer and prompted his troops to invade the country and head toward Mexico City, the nation’s capital. They had to cross through the state of Puebla to get to the capital.

 

The Mexican President, Benito Juarez, reacted immediately and prepared the defense. He commanded Ignacio Zaragoza , a young and brave General, to fortify the City of Puebla and repel the French invaders.

 


General Ignacio Zaragoza: Cinco de Mayo Hero


Spanish

Cinco de Mayo Hero

When “Cinco de Mayo” is mentioned in Mexico, one of the most symbolic battles in the Mexican collective unconscious immediately comes to mind: the Battle of Puebla. General Ignacio Zaragoza, with only a small army, took on the powerful French forces of Napoleon III during the Second French Intervention.

Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin was born on March 24, 1829 in the city of Presidio de La Bahia de Espiritu Santo, now Goliad, in southern Texas, USA. He was the second son of the marriage between Miguel Zaragoza and Maria de Jesus Valdez Martinez Seguin.

When he was five years old, after the independence of Texas, his family moved to Matamoros in Tamaulipas state, where he began his studies and ten years later he moved to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.

For several years he leaned toward the priesthood, but then left, perhaps to continue the example of his father, who was an infantryman.

During the United States intervention in Mexico between 1846 and 1848,young Zaragoza tried to enlist as a cadet, but was rejected.

He saw, however, from a distance, how Mexico lost more than half of its territory in an unequal war. It was not until 1853 that he managed to enter the Nuevo Leon army, first as a sergeant, then later as captain of his regiment. In 1854, he decided to join the Plan de Ayutla, a movement that attempted to overthrow the dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.