Mexico Trek!   Trekkers DISPATCH: September 14 Monica's Log

The Shout that Defeated a King

Virgin TshirtLast update I wrote of our visit to the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. (If you missed it, go to the calendar and go to September 12 and find "Come See the Miracle! Our Lady of Guadalupe") I wrote about how important the Virgin of Guadalupe is as a religious figure. Well she fulfills not only a religious role, but a political one as well. She helped inspire a movement that ended Spanish rule in Mexico!

For almost 200 years, since they conquered the mighty Aztec nation (and most other people in South and Central America and beyond) the Spaniards ruled Mexico and changed it Independence LIPS!completely. Most everything was set up to promote Spanish culture and to make the Spanish richer. (To learn more about how they took over, read "A Report from the Battlefield" from September 5 in the calendar.)

Then on September 15, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo, the priest of a parish in Dolores, climbed to the top of the church tower, rang the bell, and protested the Spanish domination. He gave the famous "Grito de Dolores," or The Shout of Dolores. Although the original words of the "Grito" haven't been recorded, the gist of Hidalgo's speech was, "...Will you be free, my children? Will you try Shawn celebrates!to recover land stolen from our ancestors by the Spaniards long ago? We must act now! Long live religion! Long live the 'Virgen de Guadalupe'! Death to the bad government! Death to the Spaniards!"

With this cry to action, Hidalgo led the gathering mob to march on Guanajuato, a silver-mining community with many "peninsulares," or Spaniards. His men spread quickly, growing to almost 80,000 by October 30, where they attacked Las Cruces, a neighbor of Mexico City.

Unfortunately, he then made some strategic errors and ended up being defeated by the Spanish. They chopped his head off, put it in a birdcage and hung it on a building in Guanajuato to scare the other Mexicans. However, inspired by Father Hidalgo the Mexicans continued to struggle for their freedom and ten years later they successfully expelled the Spanish from their country!Happy Birthday Monica!

On Tuesday night (September 15), on the 188th anniversary of that night long ago, the President of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo will emerge from the Palacio Nacional at 11pm and again give a rousing speech, which ends with the hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the Zocalo yelling, "Viva Mexico!" September 15th is also my birthday, so I'm excited to be a part of this celebration.



Related Dispatches: 
Monica -The Shout that Defeated a King
Silvia - íViva Mexico!

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