|CLICK: Mexican Anthem
||CLICK: Spanish Anthem|
"Hidalgo y Costilla, Miguel" (1753-1811), Mexican priest and revolutionary, educated at Valladolid (now Morelia, Mexico). In 1778 he was ordained a priest and in 1803 was given charge of the parish of Dolores, in Guanajuato. He worked to improve the economic conditions of his parishioners, mostly Native Americans, by teaching them to cultivate vineyards and operate small industries such as brickmaking.
In 1809 Hidalgo joined a secret society dedicated to freeing Mexico from the oppression of the Spanish colonial government. On September 16, 1810, Hidalgo, carrying a banner depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico, proclaimed a crusade and was joined by thousands of Mexicans. He captured the towns of Guanajuato and Guadalajara in October.
Although he had the advantage, Hidalgo failed to march on Mexico City. On January 11, 1811, his army was completely routed near Guadalajara by a small force of Spanish soldiers. Hidalgo fled north, but he was captured and shot. After the establishment of the Mexican republic in 1824, the priest was regarded almost as a saint. The state of Hidalgo was named for him, and the town of Dolores became Dolores Hidalgo.
September 16, the day on which he proclaimed his revolt,
is celebrated as Independence Day.
In Guadalajara we met our guide
Who took that part of the show
Telling about Colonial Cities
In the heart of Mexico!
He knew the story of men
Come and gone before
Like the great Hidalgo
And others who died by the score!
They fought for freedom, a better life,
Than under the Spanish spur
A dreadful price had to be paid
To escape the life of a cur!
Mexico has its heroes
Brave and true to the cause
Sacrificed so others could live
Under self-determined laws.
On corners of a building in Quanajuato
Nestled in the middle of town
Cages with heads of martyrs
Hung for opposing the crown!
Father Hidalgo and three others
Sickened by abuses of Spain
Rose up and triumphed briefly
Were betrayed and shackled by chain!
Languished long in a prison cell
Till word came cold from above
Execute these traitorous rebels
Spread fear in this covey of dove!
Unappeased with execution
Severed the precious head
In a frenzy showed their arrogance
Twice over murdered the dead!
The peace-loving Mexicans rose up in anger
At this cowardly act to dissuade
A people long held in bondage
Resisted in a feverish rage!
Spain unleashed a vengeful war
To defend appalling greed
Slaughtered Indians and Mestizos alike
To mercy gave no heed!
A grueling, bitter killing binge
Painful memories yet there
Of an enemy without conscience
Endless, tearful despair!
An eternity of eleven long years
Blood-letting came to a close
The Mexicans lost much dear to them
But, thank God, rid of their foes!