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Profile of the Day: Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla

Today Mexico celebrates Independence Day! On this day in 1810, Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla issued the Cry of Dolores, a call to end Spanish rule in Mexico, triggering the start of the Mexican War of Independence.

Image: Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla / Library of Congress

As the parish priest in Dolores, Guanajuato, Mexico, Hidalgo promoted economic activities, such as introducing new methods of agriculture, to help the poor and rural members of the community. Opposed to what he saw as Spain’s oppression of the people, he eventually became a leader of an underground independence movement. When news came that authorities would be sent to arrest him for his seditious activities, Hidalgo rallied the people to stand their ground and revolt. On the morning of September 16, 1810, Hidalgo rang the bells of his church to signal the call to arms in what is today known as the “Cry of Dolores.” Joined by thousands, Hidalgo led his army of followers to battle through central Mexico, triggering the start of the Mexican War of Independence.

Unfortunately, Hidalgo would not live to see independence. He was captured and executed on July 30, 1811. The struggle for independence continued and war raged on for many more years until Mexico finally gained its independence from Spanish rule in 1821. Today, Hidalgo is remembered as the “Father of Mexican Independence” and the anniversary of his famous Cry of Dolores is celebrated each year as Mexico’s Independence Day.

Explore Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s family tree on Geni and share your connection to the “Father of Mexican Independence.”

View Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s Geni Profile

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