Anonymous Sonnet written in honor of Augustin I, the first Consitutional Emperor of Mexico following the revolution.
Por un espacio de trescientos años
este Imperio sufrió duras cadenas,
y en un profundo piélago de penas
sumergido se vió por los extraños.
No puede ya sufrir males tamaños:
no quiere obedecer leyes agenas,
solo las propias le podrán ser buenas
como que ellas de cerca ven los daños.
Produce un hijo lleno de clemencia
que embotando su espada por la Union,
jura asi sostener su independencia
y nuestra augusta santa Religion.
Lo observa todo, y se hace sin violencia
un Héroe superior a Washington.
Miguel Hildalgo y Costilla was a Roman Catholic priest from the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato, Mexico. Father Hildalgo rallied the country against the French with a famous speech called El Grito de Dolores, on September 16, 1810. Ordering the church bells to be rung, Hidalgo cried out to the native Mexicans and the lower classes, urging them to stand up and take back the land and their independence.
“My Children, a new dispensation comes to us today…Will you free yourselves? Will you recover the lands stolen 300 years ago from your forefathers by the hated Spaniards? We must act at once. I ask you to join my Reconquísta, to fight at the side of our legitimate ruler, King Ferdinand VII of Spain! I cannot speak longer, for all is being done in great haste and I must go!’ Then, his eyes flashing, he cried, ‘Death to the Gauchupines! Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe! Down with bad government! Now let us go and seize the Gauchupines! Long live Mexico!
Miguel Hildalgo y Costilla
There is nothing like a Priest swearing to get everyone’s attention. Hearing Hidalgo’s shocking slang for the Spanish-born ruling class, the crowd took up the cry. Within minutes, the town’s regiment defected en masse to support Captain Allende and the working class mob joined them with torches and machetes. After three centuries of Spanish rule in Mexico, the ruling class had split into a class hierarchy of two levels: the Gachupines (Spanish born aristocrats) at the top and the Criollos (Mexican-born Spaniards) just below.
Before the night of Hidalgo’s cry, a movement of political revolution had already begun when Napoleon conquered Spain. The Criollos, of whom Hidalgo was a member, saw this instability as an opportunity to overthrow the Gachupines. They had planned to begin their push for power in December of 1810; however, the Criollos were betrayed, and Hidalgo was forced to make a quick decision – flee to safety and begin forming a new plot or turn to his parish, hungry for freedom from Spain altogether, and seize the opportunity to spark a true revolution for independence. Choosing to stay and fight, Hidalgo sped to his church, ordered the bells to rung, and delivered the famous cry that is heard round Mexico just before midnight: “Long live México!”
Jose Alfredo Jiminez was born in the city of Dolores Hildago, Guanajuato in 1926. He became a singer, actor and performer whose songs are part of the core of todays marachi tradition. He was charismatic, a great song writer and a tireless performer, he was the Elvis of Mexico in his day, writing and performing songs that defined a generation.
When I visited Guanajuato and San Miguel de Yendes earlier this year, I was riding in a car with a Chilean and a Guatemalan and both burst into this song as we climbed out of the valley and left the town of Dolores Hildago behind. Long Live Mexico!
Camino de Guanajuato
by Jose Alfredo Jiminez