The Rotonda of Illustrious Men
by Angie Galicia

In Mexico as in the rest of the world, there are women and men whose acts make them exceptional human beings, and they forever remain in the memory of society.  In order to honor them, in 1872, Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, the president of Mexico at the time, created a special place in the Dolores cemetery of Mexico City to honor all the Mexicans who gave “prestige to the Nation.

Ever since, other distinguished members of society have been added to this select circle.  Military men such as, Generals Juan Alvarez and Mariano Arista, both ex-presidents of Mexico, were added to the list.  Gabino Barreda, who introduced Augusto Comte’s idea of positivism to Mexico, and famous historian Francisco José Clavijero are also respected members of the circle.

However, it is in the area of art, specifically in literature, where the Rotonda honors the most illustrious Mexicans. Among them, to mention only a few, are Doctor Mariano Azuela, author of the novel Los de abajo; poet Rosario Castellanos; modernist Salvador Díaz Mirón; writer Alfonso Reyes; and Ramón López Velarde, author of La Suave Patria.

In music, the composers of the Mexican National Anthem stand out –Jaime Nunó and Francisco González Bocanegra . Agustin Lara Juventino Rosas, composer of the famous waltz “Sobre las olas”;  Angela Peralta, the “Mexican Nightingale”; as well as Carlos Chávez and Manuel M. Ponce, 20th century composers, are all notable participants in the shaping of the Mexican culture.  Representing Mexican art in the Rotonda are the three great painters: Diego Rivera, José Clemente and David Alfaro Siquieros.  Also included is their predecessor, the grandfather of Mexican painters, Gerardo Murillo, or Dr. Atl, as they used to call him.

The Rotonda is a circular structure with a diameter that has been enlarged to make room for Mexico’s outstanding men and women.  Since its creation in 1872, there are around 100 people buried there, all of whose talent accompanied them to the grave.

Other states of Mexico have their own Rotondas de los Hombres Ilustres, where men and women of the particular state have accomplished greatness.

Bellow is a list of the great people that have been buried in the Rotonda.

David Alfaro Siqueiros Painter
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano Writer,politician
Juan Alvarez Revolutionary
Eligio Ancona Historian, Philosopher
Agustín Aragón Scientist, historian, politician
Mariano Arista President, General, politician
Ponciano Arriaga President
Manuel Azpiroz Constitutionalist
Mariano Azuela Writer
Joaquín Baranda Educator, politician
Gabino Barreda Pedagogue
Felipe Berriozábal General
Calixto Bravo Coronel
Emilio Carranza Pilot
Nabor Carrillo Scientist
Julián Carrillo Composer
Alfonso Caso Historian
Antonio Caso Philosopher Rector of UNAM
Rosario Castellanos Writer-Diplomat
Cesáreo Castro General
José Ceballos General
Francisco Javier Clavijero Historian
Diódoro Corella General
Carlos Chávez Composer
Santos Degollado Promoter of the Reform Laws
Juan José de la Garza General,  jurist
Manuel de la Peña y Peña President
Francisco Díaz Covarrubias Astronomer, diplomat
Salvador Díaz Mirón Poet
Mariano Escobedo General
Genaro Estrada Journalist,politician
Virginia Fábregas Actress
Ricardo Flores Magón Revolutionary activist
Valentín Gómez Farías President
Manuel M González President, Defender of Mexico
Francisco González Bocanegra Author of Mexico’s National Anthem
Ignacio González Guzmán Scientist
Enrique González Martínez Poet, diplomat
Jesús González Ortega  
Donato Guerra General, governor
Guillermo Haro Barraza Astronomer
Agustín Lara Composer
Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada President, lawyer, author of the Reform Laws
Pedro Letechipia Coronel
Vicente Lombardo Toledano Union workers leader
Ramón López Velarde Poet
José María Mata  
Juan A. Mateos Writer
Ignacio Mejía General
Juan N. Méndez President, governor
José Vicente Miñón  
Francisco Martínez de la Vega Journalist
Francisco Montes de Oca Military man
José María Luis Mora Political writer, ideologue
Gerardo Murillo (Dr. Atl) Painter
Miguel Negrete General
Amado Nervo Poet
Jaime Nunó Author of music of Mexico’s National Anthem
Melchor Ocampo Promoter of the Reform Laws
Isaac Ochoterana Scientist, biologist
Pedro Ogazón Rubio  
Juan O´Gorman Painter
José Clemente Orozco Painter
Manuel Othón Poet
Carlos Pacheco General
Carlos Pellicer Poet
Angela Peralta Opera Singer
Basilio Pérez Gallardo Constitionalist, writer, politician
Manuel M. Ponce Composer
Guillermo Prieto Politician Promulgated the Reform laws.
Ignacio Ramírez (El Nigromante) Writer
Rafael Ramírez Teacher founder of the Mexican Rural Schools
Carlos Ramírez Ulloa Engineer
Miguel Ramos Arizpe Defender of Federalism
Silvestre Revueltas Composer
Alfonso Reyes Writer, poet
Vicente Riva Palacio Regent of Mexico
Diego Rivera Painter
Sóstenes Rocha Military man, writer
Antonio Rosales Military man
Juventino Rosas Composer
Arturo Rosenbluth Cybernetics pioneer
Carlos Rovirosa Pilot
Miguel Ruelas Diplomat
Moisés Sáenz Pedagogue, defender of Indian’s rights.
Pedro Sainz de Baranda y Barreiro Captain
Rosendo Salazar Labor movement syndicalist
Manuel Sandoval Vallarta Physicist
Francisco Sarabia Pilot
Pablo Sidar  
Justo Sierra Méndez Teacher, historian, politician
Jesús Silva Herzog Historian, economist, politician
José Juan Tablada Poet, journalist
Jaime Torres Bodet Educator, writer, poet
Gregorio Torres Quintero Educator
Luis G. Urbina Poet
Francisco L. Urquizo Benavides Military man, historian, writer
Jesús Urueta Congressman
Basilio Vadillo Educator, politician, diplomat
Ignacio L. Vallarta Governor, Supreme Court president
Leandro Valle Military man
Felipe Villanueva  Composer
Agustín Yáñez Writer, politician, writer