Mexico Gains Independence from Spain
After more than a decade of fighting and over 20,000 casualties, Mexico officially gained its independence from Spain on September 27, 1821.
Mexico had been under Spanish control since 1521 and rarely challenged it until the early 1800s with Napoleon’s occupation of Spain. It was then that Mexican priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla launched a revolt.
On the night of September 15-16, 1810, Hidalgo declared war on the colonial government in what has been named the Grito de Dolores, or Cry of Dolores. By morning, the revolutionary army sought independence and marched to Guanajuato, an important mining center controlled by the Spaniards and creoles (people of pure or mostly Spanish ancestry). The Spaniards and creoles locked themselves in the granary, but were captured on September 28. Most were killed or exiled.
A month later, on October 30, Hidalgo and his men were met by a Spanish resistance at the Battle of Monte de las Cruces. The rebels couldn’t beat the heavily armed Spanish army in Mexico City, which sent many rebel survivors into hiding while they made a new plan.
In January the following year, the Spanish army defeated the rebels again at the Battle of the Bridge of Calderón. The rebels fled to the U.S.-Mexico border but were captured by the Spanish army. Hidalgo was put on trial and killed.
With Hidalgo gone, the rebels needed a new leader, and José María Morelos was chosen. Morelos led the successful campaigns that took the cities of Oaxaca and Acapulco. The Congress of Chilpancingo convened in 1813, and the Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of Northern America was signed on November 6. Two years later, Spanish authorities captured, tried, and executed Morelos. Small groups carried on the fighting between 1815 to 1821. The war finally came to an end when Spanish representatives signed the Treaty of Córdoba on September 24, 1821, officially recognizing Mexico’s independence. Three days later, the Mexican army, (known as the Army of the Three Guarantees) entered Mexico City, proclaiming their independence after 11 years of fighting.
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