Arago: Exhibits

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Mexican Independence

Shortly before dawn on September 16, 1810, Father Miquel Hidalgo made a crucial, impulsive decision that led to Mexico’s bloody struggle for independence from Spain. In the early 19th century, Mexicans were discussing how to revolt against Spain. Father Hidalgo, the leader of a revolutionary group, heard that the Spanish government had ordered his arrest. In response, he rang the church bell on the night of September 15, 1810, to call his congregation to church for mass. When the people arrived, Father Hidalgo rallied them to fight. He gave a speech that is now called Grito de Dolores. In it he said, “Viva Mexico!” and “Viva la independencia!” These famous words are still remembered and repeated at Mexican Independence Day celebrations. The United States and Mexico jointly issued commemorative stamps with similar designs in 1960.