Mexicans celebrate their country’s Independence Day with fireworks, parties (fiestas), food, dance and music on September 16. Because the 16th at midnight, or the 15th at night in 1810, Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Criollo Priest (criollo = born in the Americas of pure Spanish blood) rang the bell of his church to shout to all the people of his community that Mexico would be loyal to the Spanish King Ferdinand 7th, but not the Napolean French-Installed Joseph Bonaparte.
Why Mexico Celebrates Independence on September 16 Every Year
The “Grito” (“shout”) was done on that day because the insurgent plot, of which Hidalgo was an accomplice, was discovered by the Viceroy and arrested. This is how the War for Mexican Independence begun. It ended in 1821, with the Crowning of a Mexican Emperor, Agustín de Iturbide, a former Royalist Captain who ended up killing Hidalgo and his successor, José María Morelos. (For Reference: Hidalgo is in the $1000 MXN bills and Morelos in the $50 bills, but Iturbide is nowhere honored in Mexico; there isn’t even a Statue of him!).
Iturbide gained power when, after failing to defeat Vicente Guerrero (the revolutionary leader), he betrayed the Viceroy and joined forces with Guerrero in a unified army that was called the “Ejército Trigarante” (The Tri-guaranteed Army, or the Army of the 3 Guarantees of Union, Independence, and Catholicism). Guerrero wanted a Liberal Democracy, Iturbide and the conservatives he led wanted a European-Style Monarchy. They settled on a Parliamentary Democracy with a Monarch. The Monarch was Iturbide, crowned Emperor, and the Prime Minister was Guerrero. In less than a year the entire system collapsed and there was Civil War. Vicente Guerrero was made Mexico’s second President (the first was Guadalupe Victoria, which wasn’t even his real name, but a name chosen because of what it meant: “Victory” and “Guadalupe” after the Virgin of Guadalupe!!). Vicente Guerrero is not in any bills or currency, but an entire State is named after him (The State of Guerrero is home to the city of Acapulco).
Shortly after that, there was a Civil War, ended when “President” Santa Anna took power and governed Mexico like a Dictator making everyone call him “his most serene highness”!! A dictator that was popular until he lost the Mexican-American War, and with it, half of Mexico’s territory. What the Americans couldn’t claim by military victory, they bought it from Santa Anna, who sold it to them… Santa Anna was born in Xalapa, a place that in the present day is so fed up with politicians that the community has nominated a cat (El Candigato Morris, or the “Candi-cat Morris”) for Mayor.
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