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A Brief Overview of Mexican Independence Day

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1 A Brief Overview of Mexican Independence Day

2 If you thought May 5th was Mexican Independence Day, you are Mistaken!

3 September 16th and 5 de Mayo
Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th, not May 5th. Mexican Independence Day commemorates the “Grito de Dolores” or “Cry of Dolores” of September 16th, 1810.

4 El Grito de Dolores Dolores was (and still is) a small hamlet in the agricultural, mining and manufacturing region northwest of Mexico City. The region’s population had been growing around the turn of the century (1800) and was suffering the strains of unemployment, and poverty. The Encomienda system was still officially in place

5 (Dolores, cont.) Economic difficulties were compounded by a series of droughts that created unrest among the region’s large peasant population.

6 Father Miguel Hidalgo Father Miguel Hidalgo was a parish priest in Dolores who, moved by the suffering of his parishioners and his own political views, sparked the brewing rebellion. On September 16th, Father Hidalgo rang the bells of his church, calling on the gathered masses to join him in a revolt against the Spanish colonial government.

7 “El Grito de Dolores” One of the bells today.

8 Guanajuato Hidalgo led his followers to the large mining city of Guanajuato where they killed the local governor, sacked the city and raided its food warehouses. However, two thousand insurgents were killed in the battle for the city (only 300 defenders were killed) and Father Hidalgo realized that his revolt was disintegrating into mob violence.

9 The Revolt Breaks Down After Guanajuato, Hidalgo and his followers marched to the outskirts of Mexico City, which they could have taken. However, Father Hidalgo did not want to see a repeat of the bloodshed in Guanajuato and retreated.

10 The end of the revolt. The retreating Father Hidalgo was captured by royal troops, defrocked (his right to act as a priest) and executed in 1811. Mexico did not actually achieve its independence for another 10 years, but Father Hidalgo’s actions were an important first step to ending Spanish rule in Mexico. To this day the Grito de Dolores inspires Mexican national pride and campaigns for social justice.

11 5 de Mayo 5 de Mayo on the other hand celebrates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The French under Napoleon III had taken Mexico, in an attempt to make Mexico a French colony now that the Spanish had been driven out. The Battle of Puebla was the beginning of the end for the French in Mexico.

12 Puebla

13 5 de Mayo (cont.) This was an important day in Mexican history, but the holiday remains largely a regional celebration. In the United States this day has become an important one for the recognition of Mexican culture, but its historical significance has been lost. To prove my point, when I did an internet search of “5 de Mayo” I came up with this image. (Next slide)

14 America’s perception of May 5

15 But when I searched for “Battle of Puebla,” I found this.
Mexico’s perception of May 5

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