I had fun shooting this video and mingling among the people at last year's Independence celebration here in La Paz! Los Nietos, a well known band were hired by the government to play during the free celebration. The song says " You are like the girl of my dreams, with smiling lips......
Tonight Mexicans in Mexico and all over the world celebrate Hidalgo's call to Independance. President Felipe Calderon will recreate the call for freedom using the original bell that wAS tolled by Hidalgo and IS now at the Palace at the Zocalo, MexicO. Miguel Hidalgo raised the revolt form the small village of Dolores. Regardless to his human imperfections, he is highly loved and respected as a symbol of our country. There was a strong division of casts in Mexico back then being the Spaniards on the higher rank, followed by criollos, Spaniards born in Mexico who did not have te same rights, followed by mestizos who were half Spaniard half Mexican. Mexican Indians and slaves brought from Africa were considered at the lowest rank. The emotional wounds of a country that was once conquered have not healed completely, to be called an Indian is considered an insult, there's' a mocking rejection to our beautiful Indian features, even though many deny this fact, there's a strange fascination for blond hair and white skins. It's good to remember the Indians thought of the Spaniards as Gods because of their physical appearance.
THE FATHER WHO FATHERED A COUNTRY(1753 - 1811)
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla had the unique distinction of being a father in three senses of the word: a priestly father in the Roman Catholic Church, a biological father who produced illegitimate children in defiance of his clerical vows, and the father of his country. Though Guadalupe Victoria was, like Washington, his country's first president, Hidalgo was, like Washington, the man who launched a colonial independence struggle against a European mother country that had become excessively oppressive.
Hidalgo was born on the Corralejo hacienda near Pénjamo, Guanajuato, on May 8, 1753. His father, don Cristóbal, was of middle-class creole background and served as the hacienda's administrator. Sent to the Colegio San Nicolás in Valladolid, Hidalgo received his bachelor's degree in theology in 1773 and was ordained in 1778.
But he never took his priestly vows too seriously. He fathered two daughters out of wedlock, read the anti-clerical works of the French Encyclopedic philosophers and seemed to regard the Church as a sort of sinecure which would provide him with a regular income. Among classmates he was known el zorro, "the fox."
Shortly before dawn on September 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla made a monumentous decision that revolutionized the course of Mexican history. Within hours, Hidalgo, a Catholic priest in the village of Dolores, ordered the arrest of Dolores’ native Spaniards. Then Hidalgo rang the church bell as he customarily did to call the Indians to mass. The message that Hidalgo gave to the Indians and mestizos called them to retaliate against the hated gachopines or native Spaniards who had exploited and oppressed Mexicans for ten generations.
Although a movement toward Mexican independence had already been in progress since Napoleon’s conquest of Spain, Hidalgo’s passionate declaration was a swift, unpremeditated decision. "Mexicanos, Viva México!" Hidalgo told the Mexicans who were the members of New Spain’s lowest caste. He urged the exploited and embittered Mexicans to recover the lands that was stolen from their forefathers. That he was calling these people to revolution was a radical change in the original revolution plot devised by the criollos (Mexican-born Spaniards).
Groups of criollos across Mexico had been plotting to overthrow the authority of gachupines who, because of their Spanish nativity, had legal and social priority over the criollos. When Joseph Bonaparte replaced King Ferdinand as the leader of Spain, the criollos recognized a prime opportunity for Mexican sovereignty. The nucleus of this movement was a group of intellectuals in Queretaro led by the corregidor of Queretaro, his wife and a group of army officers distinguished by the adventurous Ignacio Allende.
The criollos plan for revolution did not originally focus on the manpower of the Mexicans. Rather, the criollos sought to avoid military confrontation by convincing criollo army officers to sever their allegiance to the gachopines. By claiming loyalty to the defeated King Ferdinand, the criollos aimed to establish Mexico as an independent nation within King Ferdinand’s Spanish empire. The gachopines who claimed authority under Bonaparte’s rule would be driven out of Mexico.
Hidalgo had close ties with this group. Approaching sixty years of age, Hidalgo was beloved and greatly respected by Mexicans. Once the dean of the College of San Nicolas at Valladolid in Michoacan (now Morelia), Hidalgo was a well-educated, courageous humanitarian. He was sympathetic to the Indians, which was unusual amongst Mexican clergymen. Against gachopine law, Hidalgo taught Indians to plant olives, mulberries and grapevines and to manufacture pottery and leather. His actions irritated the Spanish viceroy who, as a punitive measure, cut down Hidalgo’s trees and vines.
Gachupines were alerted to the criollos independence movement bycriollo officers who had refused to join the revolutionary movement and by a priest who had learned of the plot through a confessional. Hidalgo was among the central figures targeted for arrest on September 13, 1810. The Queretaro corregidor’s wife informed the criollos of the gachopines plan. Allende immediately departed from Queretaro to inform Hidalgo.
Allende arrived in Dolores in the early morning hours of September 16. His message forced Hidalgo to make the most significant decision of his life, a decision which marked the first struggle for Mexican independence and that would distinguish Hidalgo as the national hero of the revolution. The criollos had not gained enough military alliance to forfeit the gachopines rule, as the plot had leaked three months before the criollos target date of December 8.
On Sept. 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a priest in the small village of Dolores, raised the standard of revolt, demanding the abolition of Indian serfdom and caste distinctions. Although initially successful, the Hidalgo revolt was short-lived. The priest was captured by royalist forces and shot at Chihuahua in 1811