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Miguel Hidalgo (Part 1)


Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla Gallaga Mondarte Villaseñor (May 8 1753 – July 30 1811), also known as Cura Hidalgo ("Priest Hidalgo"), was a Mexican priest and revolutionary rebel leader. He is regarded as the founder of the Mexican War of Independence movement; who fought for independence against Spain in the early 19th century. The state of Hidalgo in Mexico is named after him.



He was born to a criollo family (historically, any Mexican of unmixed Spanish ancestry). Growing up in a hacienda, where his father Cristóbal Hidalgo y Costilla was employed as a superintendant, Hidalgo developed an early sympathy for the unskilled Indian workers. He was reportedly a keen reader of banned French literature and an avid nonconformist. Though he trained as a priest, he retained an interest in political and social questions, which he carried with him to his first parish in the town of Dolores, now called Dolores Hidalgo, in the modern-day central Mexican state of Guanajuato. He learned several indigenous languages, wrote texts in the Aztec language and organized the local communities in Michoacan.

It is impossible to say exactly when Hidalgo turned his thoughts towards rebellion against the colonial power, but the break is thought to have come sometime after Joseph Bonaparte replaced Ferdinand VII on the throne of Spain. This was one of the decisive moments in Mexican history, breaking a political link that had united the country with Spain for three hundred years. Literary clubs began to emerge, expressing a whole range of radical views, united by a general discontent against the new political realities in the Spanish Empire. Hidalgo, a priest of unconventional views, attended one such provincial group in Guanajunto. It was there that educated criollos started conspiring for a large-scale uprising of mestizos and indigenous peasants.



By 1809 Hidalgo"s sense of discontent was turning openly to revolutionary politics, and the possibility of a uprising against the vice-regal government of what was then New Spain. He was joined by Ignacio Allende, a young officer from the nearby town of San Miguel, also a Creole, frustrated by the inherent chauvinism in the colonial administration, which preferred to advance immigrant Spaniards, rather than people born in Mexico, no matter how "pure" their blood. The fall of Ferdinand created a vacuum which Allende and other ambitious Creoles were determined to fill.

Early on the morning of Sunday September 16 1810 Hidalgo and Allende received from Doña Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez ("La Corregidora" from Querétaro) a warning that the authorities had intelligence of the planned insurgency. Hidalgo"s parishioners had been coming in from the surrounding countryside, expecting to hear mass; instead they heard a call to arms. As well as invoking the name of King Ferdinand and the Virgin of Guadalupe, he denounced the Gauchupines, a derogatory term for the Spanish-born overlords, specifically designed to appeal to an Indian audience.

Hidalgo is remembered today as the "Father of the Mexican Nation" and "Liberator of Mexico". ...

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com

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