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A Journey Into Paradise

Mexico Celebrates El Día de la Indepencia Sept. 16

14 September, 2016

Also known as Fiestas Patrias,Dieciséis de Septiembre,El Día de la Indepencia (Independence Day) in Mexico is a nationwide holiday that commemorates the historic events of Sept. 15 and 16,1810. Today,the official holiday in Mexico is held on Sept. 16. 

“While Americans use Cinco de Mayo as an excuse to party,in Mexico this date is more important and it is celebrated across the country,” wrote the Houston Chronicle.

The holiday celebrates the historic “cry of independence,” or El Grito de la Independencia,which happened on Sept. 16,1810. On this day,leader Miguel Hidalgo is believed to have made a speech that motivated people to revolt against the Spaniards. Although no historians can determine exactly what words Hidalgo’s speech contained,it carried his army forward in the War of Independence in Mexico until he was captured and executed on July 20,1811. Interestingly,the actual date that Mexico’s independence from Spain was declared is Sept. 27 or 28,1821.

“Hidalgo’s cry is re-enacted every year by the President of Mexico,” wrote the Houston Chronicle. “The cries of ‘viva Mexico” and “viva la indepencia” still echo today.”

This historical upheaval in Mexico is a direct reflection of the ongoing Napoleonic wars that were happening in Europe at the same time. In the end,Mexico’s fight for independence lasted 11 years but it took Spain until 1836 to officially recognize Mexico as a sovereign nation. 

“After Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ America,the Spaniards carried out expeditions to find gold and riches from these faraway lands,” wrote InsideMexico.com. “In 1521,about 500 Spanish soldiers arrived in Mexico,headed by an ambitious man: Hernán Cortez.”

At the time,Mexico was (and still is today) inhabited by indigenous peoples,including the Olmec,the Teotihuacan,the Maya and the Toltec,but the Aztecs are widely believed to have been the most powerful empire. This fact prompted the Spaniards to direct their attacks on the Aztecs first,but their efforts might have failed if it were not for help that came from indigenous nations that had been living under Aztec rule and were ready to break free of the physical and economic hardships they felt the empire imposed.

Interestingly,El Día de la Indepencia was declared in Chile just two days later on Sept. 18,1810 and just 11 years after that on Sept. 15,1821 much of Central America also proclaimed its independence from Spain. This move formed the nations of El Salvador,Nicaragua,Guatemala,Costa Rica and Honduras.

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