September 16 may be just another day in the United States for some, it is one of the most significant dates in Mexican history. It is the nation’s anniversary of declaring its independence from Spain.
The day honours the time in 1810 when Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo rang the church bells at Dolores, today known as Dolores Hidalgo, and delivered a stirring speech that served as the country’s first call for independence. The occurrence, which came to be known as the “Grito de Dolores,” marked the beginning of the 11-year Mexican War of Independence, which freed Mexico from Spanish colonial authority after more than 300 years.
The holiday might be compared to the American Declaration of Independence by those who are unfamiliar with it. The closest they come to being similar is that they both rebelled against European domination.
In Mexican country, achieving freedom didn’t come instantly
“Technically, they gained their freedom. But the way that freedom was gained was not true freedom,” Alexandro Gradilla, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University, Fullerton, previously told USA TODAY. “It’s a mix of Fourth of July, Juneteenth. Also, I would say April Fool’s, because people didn’t get the freedom they thought they were going to get.”
Being under Spanish rule, according to Gradilla and other historians, was very different from living in America under British rule. The indigenous people of Mexico, who were frequently viewed as second-class citizens, were subject to growing Spanish power.
Because it gave people hope that they would be free, the Grito de Dolores became a symbol of the new nation.
The New World Encyclopedia estimates that over 15,000 Mexicans would die in the coming war. It is a significant increase above the anticipated 6,800 Americans who would die in the Revolutionary War.
“The country was still in such a precarious position,” said Dolores Inés Casillas, director of the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Chicano Research Institute. “It was a war-torn country after that, so building it was much more difficult.”
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