An hour’s drive Northeast brought our group to the birthplace of Mexico’s fight for independence. Driving over a hill and looking off into the distance reveals a city; whose name was changed honoring the man who led Mexico’s revolution. Dolores-Hidalgo, ground zero for the push by Father Miguel Hidalgo’s army, is a city home to centuries of history, and the answer to our desire to learn.
In la Iglesia de Dolores-Hidalgo (The Church of Dolores-Hidalgo), one can see firsthand the power the Spanish possessed by the sheer size and detail of the cathedral standing tall in the middle of this desert city. Within its walls, intricate depictions of religious figures tower over those seeking to hear the word of their priest. Gold lines these walls, sculptures, and paintings all-the-while adding an overwhelming sense of being looked down on or watched. In addition, there is a town square across the street in front of the church open for residents to gather; to which they did.
On the night of 15 September 1810, Father Hidalgo rang the bells of his church with a sense of urgency in an effort to rally what would later be known as “Grito de Hidalgo” or “Cry of Hidalgo.” The Spanish caught on to the rebellion planned for December, and decided to mobilize their army in order to quell it preemptively. Little did the Spaniards know in the city of Guanajuato, Hidalgo amassed his army and was en route from Dolores.
Hidalgo’s campaign would take him across 11 Mexican states over the course of 10 months. His efforts and commitment to the cause inspired thousands of other Mexicans to rise to the occasion. 11 years after the “Cry of Hidalgo”, Mexico would ascend to join the status shared by nations across the world; sovereignty.
Unfortunately for Father Miguel Hidalgo, he was captured and sent to the state of Chihuahua. 11 months into his campaign, he was betrayed by a powerful leader in his ranks. Hidalgo, along with his generals, were put to trial, sentenced to death (shot from behind in a sign of dishonor), and had their heads hung off the roof of the main granary in Guanajuato.
Over 200 years later, Mexico is a thriving country with a GDP in the trillions of dollars (US) and growing. The Mexican people are flourishing through education, manufacturing, and commercial agriculture. It’s future is promising, and ambitions clear. However, none of this would be possible without the efforts of a man whose name is forever immortalized in history, in the minds of Mexico’s citizens, and in the simple change of the name if the city where it all started. Dolores-Hidalgo.