16 de Septiembre
The “16th of September of 1810, marks the beginning of Mexico’s struggle for independence from Spain. Hence, this day is similar in many ways to the American “4th of July,” which commemorates American Independence from Britain.
“El Grito de Dolores,” (The cry in the village named Dolores-Sorrows-.) “Long live Independence! Long live America! Death to bad Government!”
This proclamation for Independence was made on this day by Miguel Hidalgo, from the Balcony of the Parish of Nuestra Senora de Los Dolores.(Our Lady of Sorrows.)
A heroic Parish Priest, who is widely regarded as the Father of Mexican Independence and a symbol of patriotism, Miguel Hidalgo De Costilla was responsible for leading the first large revolutionary forces against the Spaniards. Tragically, however, shortly thereafter, he was captured and executed by a firing squad.
Father Hidalgo’s martyrdom, however, galvanized the Mexican people to struggle and fight for independence. After Father Hidalgo’s demise, Jose Maria Morelos, a small village priest, and a farseeing political and military genius, rallied the revolutionary forces until his capture and execution on December 22, 1815.
Historians sum up his service to the cause of Mexican Independence by stating that “with him ended the heroic days of the Mexican Revolution.”
As he read of the guerilla leader’s brilliant campaigns, the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte said,” with three such men as Jose Morelos, I could conquer the world.”
Vicente Guerrero, a liberal rebel and the inheritor of the Hidalgo/Morelos tradition, continued the revolutionary struggle against the Spaniards until 1824, when the Spanish were overthrown and Guadalupe Victoria, a liberal became the first elected president of the Republic of Mexico.
At the time, the Mexican Empire encompassed all of Central America and the Southwestern United States including California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and parts of what now is the State of Kansas. There is even today great controversy and debate as to the questionable, and perhaps unethical political means, the United States used to acquire this vast territory from Mexico. A few Spanish land grants still survive today , and Hispanic land grant heirs still argue the United States should be forced to honor land rights they were promised in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican War.
To commemorate these revolutionary heroes, Mexico named three states after them. Hidalgo, is a state just North of Mexico City, whereas Guerrero and Morelos are two adjacent states in Mexico’s West coast. In addition, many hospitals, schools and colleges, state and federal parks, universities and government buildings have been named to honor these three Mexican Revolutionary Heroes – Hidalgo, Morelos, and Guerrero.