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Shout of Independence

Shout of Independence (September 15th)

Photography by VICTOR CAUDURO

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In the early morning of September 16, 1810, the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla summoned the people of Dolores Hidalgo, through the ringing of the church bells, to rise up in arms against the rule of the Spanish. The period of our history known as the War of Independence begins (strictly speaking) at dawn on September 16, 1810, when Father Miguel Hidalgo gives the so-called Shout of Independence “Grito de Dolores” and ends on September 27, 1821 (11 years later) with the triumphal entry of the Trigarante Army, led by Agustin de Iturbide and Vicente Guerrero, to a jubilant Mexico City.

The main objective of this armed and social movement was to liberate the Mexican territory from the Spanish yoke and that, in every corner of the Colony, the concept of viceroyalty would be completely forgotten. The Independence of Mexico has various stages, one of the most important ones ranges from the shout in Dolores (September 16, 1810) to the battle of Puente de Calderon (in the current municipality of Zapotlanejo, Jalisco, on January 17, 1811), when the crowd led by Hidalgo, with his famous Guadalupano banner in hand, fought with more passion and courage than strategy.

Queretaro, as we all know, is the Cradle of Independence, since it was created there with important characters such as “La Corregidora” Mrs. Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, her husband Mr. Miguel Domínguez, Hidalgo, Allende, Aldama, Epigmenio and Emeterio Gonzalez, among others.


  • 1800 – 1810. The conspiracy of Queretaro to rise up against the viceroyalty was born.
  • September 16, 1810 – Father Miguel Hidalgo encourages the parishioners and gives the Shout in Dolores to begin the fight for Mexican Independence.
  • On the Calderon bridge, the Indians were defeated and the royalist forces captured Hidalgo, tried him and shot him, hanging his head in the corners of the Alhondiga de Granaditas.
  • Jose Maria Morelos takes command of the independent army and makes his campaign in the south of the country.
  • Jose Maria Morelos calls the first Independent Congress.
  • Jose Maria Morelos was defeated, taken prisoner and shot.
  • Francisco Xavier Mina, Mier y Teran, Vicente Guerrero and Torres rose up in the struggle for Independence.
  • Agustin de Iturbide promulgated the Plan of Iguala or the Three Guarantees.
  • August 1821. Mexico signed the treaty of Cordoba that ratified the Plan of Iguala.
  • September 1821. The Trigarante army makes its triumphal entry into Mexico City, and Mexico is proclaimed as an independent country.

But, if the call to insurgency was the early morning of September 16, why do we celebrate it on the 15th? Some possible answers are: Jose Maria Morelos, in his writing “Sentimientos de la Nación” proposed to solemnize September 16, 1810 as the anniversary day on which the voice was raised. There are also records that since 1840, people celebrated the day before with speeches and festivities that ended the night of the 16th with fireworks, the Alameda Central, in Mexico City, was one of the busiest places. Some people comment that even the bell of the parish of Dolores that Miguel Hidalgo used on the day of the cry was moved in 1896 from Guanajuato to the National Palace in Mexico City on the orders of Porfirio Díaz to be able to carry out the festivities of that year and celebrate his birthday, since the Oaxacan wanted to ring the original bell that night. And although none of these theories can be confirmed or denied, the reality is that, in Mexico, “El Grito” is celebrated on September 15th.

The national holidays bring together thousands of Mexican families, who come to the main squares and centers of the cities, as well as to the town hall buildings to commemorate one more anniversary of the Shout of Independence. Mexicans from all over the world unite, some families gather in their homes to watch on television the official message, given by the President of the Republic using the same bell that Father Hidalgo used; the event is broadcast from the Zocalo of Mexico City.

In the states, people gather in front of the Government Palace or in the Main Square and wait until 11:00 p.m. to give the Shout together with the representative of the Government of the city; this is done shouting “Viva Hidalgo, Viva Morelos, Vivan los heroes de la Independencia, Viva Mexico” and at the same time waving the flag of Mexico to this acclaim, things have been added and removed throughout history. Fireworks burn and a whole party begins. After the Shout, in many places there is popular verbena (fairs), where all the typical Mexican dishes are eaten and sold such as quesadillas, “gorditas”, molotes, mole, tostadas, pozole, chalupas, honey-dipped fritters, and many other snacks accompanied by Mexican drinks such as tequila and pulque. The night is enlivened by the music of the mariachis and the band.

Other families perform “Mexican Nights”, where they invite their friends to commemorate this celebration at their home, some make a representation of the events that occurred on September 15, 1810, and later enjoy a good Mexican dinner, or simply enjoy the dinner accompanied with a typical dish of the region.

16 of September

Independence Day

The independence of Mexico is considered a long historical process that is established from September 16, 1810 (known as the “Grito de Dolores”) until September 27, 1821, when the Trigarante Army entered Mexico City. The day is born to remember the historical events that liberated Mexico from Spanish rule and it is the date on which its emancipation as a sovereign and autonomous nation is declared.

A series of economic events helped to bring about the Independence; The indigenous people had jobs in semi-slavery, the peninsulares (born in Spain) had the most important political positions and managed all the lands and economic treaties, despite not knowing the country, the taxes were exaggerated and the population was unhappy.

Faced with the political coup given by Napoleon in Spain, the Creoles living in Mexico believed that the best form of government resided in the hands of the people. The authority of the viceroy was viewed very negatively and in less than two years there were at least three viceroys, indicating the instability that existed at that time.

In 1809 the Conspiracy of Valladolid occurred, composed of political, religious and Creole intellectual members, such as Jose Maria Obeso, Fray Vicente Santa Maria and Father Manuel de la Torre Lloreda, who wanted to form a governing board of their own and allied with the caste’s natives. The plan was to replace Spanish power.

In Queretaro the sympathizers of the conspiracy needed popular support, the main captains would catch the Spanish authorities and return them in ships to Spain. Their intentions discovered, they advanced their plans to take over the government. Miguel Hidalgo on September 16, 1810 called the settlers to fight in his famous Grito de Dolores, an act that is considered the beginning of Mexico’s war of independence.

Hidalgo’s military campaign spread throughout the territory. Ignacio Allende, an active member for the independence of the country and who at first accompanied him, decided to separate himself from his cause and try in a different way, leading the insurgent militias for freedom. Between the years 1813 and 1814, Jose Maria Morelos summoned the pro-independence provinces to form the Anahuac congress, which gave the pro-independence movements a legal framework. The rebel formations had been dispersed by internal disagreements and disorganization and by 1820 only a few remained active.

After the Constitution of Cadiz, in Spain in 1820, the Creole elites, who until then had supported the Spanish empire, were affected in their commercial interests and organized together with the insurgent forces. With the Iguala Plan, which among things established the independence of Mexico, proclaimed by Agustin de Iturbide and Vicente Guerrero and the support of the clergy of New Spain, the Declaration of Independence was established on September 27, 1821.

In 1823, after a few years of declaring the first Mexican Empire, amid internal conflicts and the separation of Central America, Mexico became a federal republic. In 1836 after the death of Fernando VIII, Spain recognized the independence of Mexico.

September 16 is the maximum holiday of the Homeland. Nobody works this day, not even the Stock Market. In most cities civic celebrations are held by honoring the flag. Through the main streets of the cities a parade is organized in which the children of the different schools march, and others represent the events that occurred on September 16, 1810. In the afternoon the party continues, since “popular festivals” are held. In the main squares, this one sells Mexican dishes such as pozole, enchiladas, tamales, buñuelos, atole, etc. And all this is enlivened with folk dances, mariachi music or band.


National Institute of Anthropology and History
Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit