On which day and year did Mexico truly gain independence?

Travel Destinations

By Erica Silverstein

The Ambiguity of Mexico’s Independence Day

Mexico’s independence day is celebrated annually on September 16th, but the actual date of the country’s independence is a matter of debate. The Mexican War of Independence was a long and complex series of events that occurred over a period of years, involving multiple leaders, uprisings, and negotiations with the Spanish authorities. While September 16th is widely recognized as the day Mexico achieved independence, there are valid arguments for other dates to be considered as well.

September 16th is known as "El Grito de Dolores" or the cry of Dolores, which commemorates the famous speech given by Father Miguel Hidalgo in 1810 calling for the people to rise up against the Spanish colonial government. The day is celebrated with parades, fireworks, and other festivities throughout Mexico and by Mexican communities around the world. While it is a joyful celebration of national pride and identity, the history surrounding the day is more complicated than the popular narrative suggests.

The Declaration of Independence in 1810

The Mexican War of Independence began on September 16, 1810, when Father Hidalgo, a local priest, delivered his famous speech calling for the end of Spanish colonial rule. This event marked the beginning of a protracted struggle for independence that would last for over a decade. However, it is important to note that the War of Independence did not result in immediate independence for Mexico; rather, it was a long and drawn-out conflict that involved multiple leaders and factions.

The Role of Father Hidalgo in the Revolution

Father Miguel Hidalgo is often referred to as the father of Mexican independence. He was a Catholic priest who became a key figure in the Mexican War of Independence, leading an uprising against Spanish colonial rule in 1810. Hidalgo’s famous speech, known as the "cry of Dolores," was a call to arms that inspired thousands of Mexicans to join the fight for independence. While Hidalgo was ultimately captured and executed, his legacy as a leader of the independence movement lives on.

The Role of Other Leaders in the Revolution

While Father Hidalgo is often credited with starting the Mexican War of Independence, there were many other leaders who played important roles in the struggle for independence. One of the most prominent was Jose Maria Morelos, a Catholic priest who took up the cause of independence after Hidalgo’s execution. Morelos was a skilled military leader who won several battles against the Spanish, but he was eventually captured and executed as well. Other key leaders included Vicente Guerrero, who was instrumental in the final stages of the war, and Agustin de Iturbide, who would later become the first emperor of Mexico.

The Creation of the First Mexican Empire in 1821

After years of fighting, Mexico finally achieved independence from Spain in 1821. The new country was declared a republic, but it was soon transformed into a monarchy under the leadership of Agustin de Iturbide, who became the first emperor of Mexico. The creation of the Mexican Empire marked a significant turning point in the country’s history, but it was not without its challenges. The empire was short-lived, lasting only a few years before it was overthrown in a popular uprising.

The Treaty of Cordoba and Spanish Recognition

The Treaty of Cordoba, signed on August 24, 1821, recognized Mexico’s independence from Spain. The treaty was the result of negotiations between the Spanish authorities and the leaders of the Mexican independence movement, including Agustin de Iturbide. The treaty granted Mexico independence and established it as a sovereign nation. It was a significant accomplishment for the Mexican people, who had been fighting for independence for more than a decade.

The Challenges of Consolidating Independence

The aftermath of independence was a challenging time for Mexico. The country was left with a devastated economy, political instability, and lingering tensions between different factions within the independence movement. The challenges of consolidating independence were compounded by the fact that Mexico had to reestablish its relationships with other countries, including the United States, which recognized Mexico’s independence in 1822.

The Reigns of Agustin de Iturbide and Guadalupe Victoria

After the fall of the Mexican Empire, the country went through a period of political instability and conflict. Guadalupe Victoria was eventually elected president of Mexico in 1824, and he worked to stabilize the government and promote economic growth. His presidency marked a turning point in Mexico’s history, as the country began to move towards greater stability and prosperity.

The Formalization of Independence after the Pastry War

The Pastry War, fought between Mexico and France in 1838, was a significant event in Mexico’s history. The war was sparked by a dispute between a French pastry chef and a Mexican officer, but it ultimately led to a French invasion of Mexico. While the war ended in a stalemate, it helped to formalize Mexico’s independence and establish its sovereignty in the eyes of other nations.

The Significance of September 16th and Other Independence Dates

While September 16th is widely recognized as Mexico’s independence day, there are other dates that are also significant in the country’s history. September 27th, for example, marks the end of the Mexican War of Independence, while November 20th commemorates the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. These dates remind us that Mexico’s struggle for independence was a long and complex process that unfolded over many years.

Conclusion: A Complex and Ongoing Narrative of Mexican Independence

Mexico’s independence is a complex and ongoing narrative that involves multiple leaders, uprisings, and negotiations with foreign powers. While September 16th is a symbol of national pride and identity, it is important to remember that the actual date of Mexico’s independence is a matter of debate. The struggle for independence was a long and difficult process that involved many sacrifices and challenges, but it ultimately resulted in the creation of a sovereign and independent Mexico.

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Erica Silverstein

Erica, a seasoned travel writer with 20+ years of experience, started her career as a Let's Go guidebook editor in college. As the head of Cruise Critic's features team for a decade, she gained extensive knowledge. Her adventurous nature has taken her to Edinburgh, Australia, the Serengeti, and on luxury cruises in Europe and the Caribbean. During her journeys, she enjoys savoring local chocolates and conquering various summits.

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