On September 16, 1810, a progressive priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla became the father of Mexican independence. He gave a historic speech urging his fellow Mexicans to rebel against the Spanish government. Hidalgo’s declaration started a decade-long struggle to establish an independent Mexico. It also helped form a unique Mexican identity. The proclamation’s anniversary is now celebrated as the country’s birthday.
The land that is now Mexico fell into Spanish hands in 1521 when Hernán Cortés and his army of conquistadors toppled the Aztec empire. Three centuries of Spanish colonial rule followed. The territory was called New Spain.
The earliest revolt against the Spanish colonial government was led by Martín Cortés, son of Hernán Cortés. In the years leading up to the Mexican War of Independence, most plans to end Spanish rule were supported by Mexican-born Spaniards, who ranked below native Europeans in Mexico’s caste system.
In 1810, Hidalgo gave his rallying cry, known as the “Cry of Dolores,” declaring war against the colonial government. He called for the end of Spanish rule in Mexico, the redistribution of land, and racial equality. Hidalgo reached out to mestizos and native people. Hidalgo led his growing militia from village to village on the way to Mexico City.
In 1811, Hidalgo was captured and executed in Chihuahua.
Others took up leadership of the rebellion. Known as the Mexican War of Independence, the conflict dragged on until 1821, when Mexico became an independent constitutional monarchy.
Just 18 months later, rebels ran off the emperor and established the first Mexican Republic.
Source: Struggle for Mexican Independence
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