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This Week In History

The Grito de Dolores. September 16, 1810.

The Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores) is considered to be the act that triggered the Mexican Independence War. According to Mexican tradition, a priest called Manuel Hidalgo y Costilla, together with Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, called his parishioners to rise up against “New Spain”.

There is no documentation of who all the participants or direct witnesses were in the first hours of the independentist movement. The only thing we can be sure about is that in the morning of September 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla summoned the people of Pueblo de Dolores and its surroundings by ringing the bells of the Parish of Pueblo de Dolores, today called Dolores Hidalgo, in Guanajuato.

According to tradition, on the night of the 15th to the 16th of September, Hidalgo and other leaders of the rebellion were warned that the Querétaro Conspiracy, formed to fight back against the threat of Mexico being surrendered to France, had been discovered. The conspirators went to the village´s parish, where the western tower´s bell rang. Most of the inhabitants of the village were nearby, as they were celebrating the patronal feast of Our Virgin of Sorrow (Virgen de los Dolores). Awakened by the alarm and thinking there was an emergency, a crowd gathered at the atrium. Once there, Hidalgo harangued them to rise up against the Spanish authorities, as the king had abdicated the throne to the French. Chants to return the throne to Ferdinand VII started. The exact words of this most famous of all Mexican speeches are not known. Most likely when Hidalgo asked, ‘Will you be slaves of Napoleon or will you as patriots defend your religion, your hearts, and your rights?’ there was a unanimous cry of ‘We will defend to the utmost! Long live religion, long live our most Holy Mother of Guadalupe! Long live America! Death to bad government, and death to the Gachupines (native Spaniards)!’.

Although it is one of the most important dates observed in the Mexican calendar, the holiday has no official ceremonies other than a solemn parade of the national symbols. To commemorate the date, every year at 11 pm on September 15th, mayors, governors, and the President of the Republic, carry the national flag and recite the cry of patriotism (Grito Mexicano) based upon the “Grito de Dolores“, along with the names of other important heroes of the Mexican War of Independence.

Mexicans!
Long live the heroes who gave us our homeland!
Long live Hidalgo!
Long live Morelos!
Long live Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez!
Long live Allende!
Long live Aldama and Matamoros!
Long live the nation’s independence!
Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico!

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