Miguel Hidalgo
Overview
Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla y Gallaga Mandarte Villaseñor (8 May 1753 – 30 July 1811), more commonly known as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla or simply Miguel Hidalgo, was a Mexican priest and a leader of the Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

.

In 1810 Hidalgo led a group of peasants in a revolt against the dominant Peninsulars under the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

. After clashes with the Creole people and other townspeople, the group disbanded.
Encyclopedia
Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla y Gallaga Mandarte Villaseñor (8 May 1753 – 30 July 1811), more commonly known as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla or simply Miguel Hidalgo, was a Mexican priest and a leader of the Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

.

In 1810 Hidalgo led a group of peasants in a revolt against the dominant Peninsulars under the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

. After clashes with the Creole people and other townspeople, the group disbanded. Hidalgo was captured on 21 March 1811, and executed on 30 July.
Hidalgo's rebellion was the beginning of what would become the Mexican War of Independence. Although he was unsuccessful in his original aim, Hidalgo's efforts were followed by those of José María Morelos
José María Morelos
José María Teclo Morelos y Pavón was a Mexican Roman Catholic priest and revolutionary rebel leader who led the Mexican War of Independence movement, assuming its leadership after the execution of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1811...

 and Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Aramburu , also known as Augustine I of Mexico, was a Mexican army general who built a successful political and military coalition that was able to march into Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively ending the Mexican War of Independence...

 who brought down the colonial government of Spain in Mexico. Hidalgo is considered the Father of the Nation
Father of the Nation
Father of the Nation is an honorific title given to a man considered the driving force behind the establishment of their country, state or nation...

of Mexico.

Youth

Hidalgo was born on May 8, 1753 as the first child of Don Cristóbal Hidalgo y Costilla and Doña Ana María Gallaga at the estate of San Diego Corralejo in the Pénjamo jurisdiction. Hidalgo was born a creole. "In Spanish-American history, the term 'creole' signifies one of pure Spanish blood, born, not in Spain, but in one of the Spanish colonial possessions." Under the system of the day, Hidalgo's rights as a creole were far less than those of someone born in Spain but better than a mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

, someone with a mixture of Spanish and Amerindian ancestry. Both of Hidalgo's parents were descended from well-respected families within the creole community. Hidalgo's father was an hacienda manager, which presented Hidalgo with the opportunity to learn at a young age to speak the indigenous languages of the laborers. Eight days after his birth Hidalgo was baptized into the Roman Catholic faith in the parish church of Cuitzeo de los Naranjos. Hidalgo's parents would have three other sons; José Joaquín, Manuel Mariano, and José María.

In 1759 when Hidalgo was six, Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV was King of Spain from 14 December 1788 until his abdication on 19 March 1808.-Early life:...

 ascended the throne; he soon sent out a visitor-general with the power to investigate and reform all parts of colonial government. Privileges previously withheld from creoles were granted and "some opportunities were accorded them for self-government, at least in the ayuntamientos or municipal governing boards. …they were for the first time since the Conquest admitted to the colleges and universities, and rendered eligible to careers at the bar, in the Church, or in the Government."

With the new opportunities available Don Cristobal was determined that Hidalgo and Joaquin should both enter the priesthood and hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Being of significant means he paid for all of his sons to receive the best education the region had to offer. After receiving private instruction, likely from the priest of the neighboring parish, Hidalgo was ready for more formal education.

Education and ordination

At the age of twelve Hidalgo was sent to Valladolid (now Morelia
Morelia
Morelia is a city and municipality in the north central part of the state of Michoacán in central Mexico. The city is in the Guayangareo Valley and is the capital of the state. The main pre-Hispanic cultures here were the P'urhépecha and the Matlatzinca, but no major cities were founded in the...

), Michoacán
Michoacán
Michoacán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia...

 to study at the Colegio de San Francisco Javier with the Jesuits, along with his brothers. When the Jesuits were expelled from Mexico in 1767, he entered the Colegio de San Nicolas
Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo
Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo is a public university in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, and the oldest institution of higher education in the Americas...

. There he chose to study for the priesthood. He completed his preparatory education in 1770. After this, he went to the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico
Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico
The Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico was founded on 21 September 1551 by Royal Decree signed by Charles I of Spain, in Valladolid, Spain. It is generally considered the first university officially founded in North America and second in the Americas.After the Mexican War of Independence it...

 in Mexico City for further study, earning his degree in philosophy and theology in 1773. His education for the priesthood was traditional, with subjects in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

 and logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

. Like many priests in Mexico, he learned some Indian languages, such as Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

, Otomi
Otomi language
Otomi is an Oto-Manguean language and one of the indigenous languages of Mexico, spoken by approximately 240,000 indigenous Otomi people in the central altiplano region of Mexico. The language is spoken in many different dialects, some of which are not mutually intelligible, therefore it is in...

 and Tarascan
P'urhépecha language
P'urhépecha is a language isolate or small language family spoken by more than 100,000 P'urhépecha people in the highlands of the Mexican state of Michoacán...

. Along with these he also studied Italian and French, which were not commonly studied in Mexico at this time. He was considered cultured and clever, earning the nickname El Zorro (the fox) from those at his school. Hidalgo's study of French allowed him to read and study the thought and works of the Enlightenment that were current in Europe even though these ideas were forbidden at the time in Mexico.

Hidalgo was ordained as a priest in 1778 when he was 25 years old. From 1779 to 1792, he dedicated himself to teaching at San Nicolas as a professor of Latin grammar and arts, then as a theology professor. Beginning in 1787, he was named treasurer, vice-rector and secretary, working his way up to becoming dean of the school in 1790 when he was thirty-nine. While he was dean, Hidalgo continued studying the liberal ideas that were coming from France and other parts of Europe. This, as well as his mismanagement of school funds, put him in conflict with his superiors, leading to his ouster. The Church sent him to work at the parishes of Colima
Colima, Colima
Colima is capital of the state of the same name, a city and municipality located in the center west of Mexico. It is located near the Colima Volcano, which divides the small state from that of Jalisco. Despite being the capital, the city is not the state’s main tourist attraction, eclipsed by...

 and San Felipe Torres Mochas
San Felipe, Guanajuato
San Felipe is a Mexican city and municipality located in the northwest region of the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 2,969.79 square kilometers , making it the biggest municipality in terms of size...

 until he became the parish priest in Dolores, Guanajuato, succeeding his brother Felipe (also a priest), who died in 1802.

Although Hidalgo was educated as a priest in the traditional way, he did not advocate or live the lifestyle expected of 18th-century Mexican priests. Instead, his studies of Enlightenment-era ideas caused him to challenge traditional political and religious views. He questioned the absolute authority of the Spanish king and challenged numerous ideas presented by the Church, including the absolute power of the Pope, the virgin birth, and clerical celibacy
Celibacy
Celibacy is a personal commitment to avoiding sexual relations, in particular a vow from marriage. Typically celibacy involves avoiding all romantic relationships of any kind. An individual may choose celibacy for religious reasons, such as is the case for priests in some religions, for reasons of...

. He enjoyed behavior regarded as outside the parameters of priests, including dancing and gambling. He openly lived with a woman named Maria Manuela Herrera, fathering two daughters out of wedlock with her, and later fathered three other children with a woman named Josefa Quintana.

This behavior resulted in his appearance before the Court of the Inquisition
Mexican Inquisition
The Mexican Inquisition was an extension of the Spanish Inquisition into the New World. The Spanish Conquest of Mexico was not only a political event for the Spanish, but a religious event as well. In the early 16th century, the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation and the Inquisition were in full...

, although the court did not find him guilty. Hidalgo was also egalitarian. As parish priest in both San Felipe and Dolores, he opened his house to Indians and mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s as well as creoles.

As parish priest in Dolores

In 1803, at the age of fifty he arrived in Dolores accompanied by his family that included a younger brother, a cousin, two half sisters, as well as Maria and their two children. He obtained this parish in spite of his hearing before the Inquisition, which did not stop his secular practices.

After Hidalgo settled in Dolores, he turned over most of the clerical duties to one of his vicars, Father Francisco Iglesias, and devoted himself almost exclusively to commerce, intellectual pursuits and humanitarian activity. He spent much of his time studying literature, scientific works, grape cultivation
Viticulture
Viticulture is the science, production and study of grapes which deals with the series of events that occur in the vineyard. When the grapes are used for winemaking, it is also known as viniculture...

, and the raising of silkworms. He used the knowledge that he gained to promote economic activities for the poor and rural people in his area. He established factories to make bricks and pottery and trained indigenous people in the making of leather. He also promoted beekeeping
Beekeeping
Beekeeping is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper keeps bees in order to collect honey and other products of the hive , to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers...

. He was interested in promoting activities of commercial value to use the natural resources of the area to help the poor. His goal was to make the Indians and mestizos more self-reliant and less dependent on Spanish economic policies. However, these activities violated policies designed to protect Spanish peninsular agriculture and industry, and Hidalgo was ordered to stop them.

These policies as well as exploitation of the lower caste
Caste
Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

s fostered resentment in Hidalgo of the Spain-born in Mexico. In addition to the restriction of economic activities in Mexico, Spanish mercantile practices would cause misery for the native peoples. A drought in 1807–1808 caused a famine in the Dolores area and rather than releasing stored grain to market, Spanish merchants chose instead to block its release, speculating on yet higher prices. Hidlago lobbied against these callous practices.

Grito de Dolores

Fearing his arrest, Hidalgo commanded his brother Mauricio, as well as Allende and Abasolo to go with a number of other armed men to make the sheriff release the inmates there on the night of 15 September They managed to set eighty free.

On the morning of the 16th, Hidalgo called Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

, which was attended by about 300, including hacienda owners, local politicians and Spaniards. There he gave what is now known as the Grito de Dolores
Grito de Dolores
The Grito de Dolores also known as El Grito de la Independencia , uttered from the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato on April 19, 1810 is the event that marks the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence and is the most important national holiday observed in Mexico...

, calling the people of his parish to leave their homes and join with him to struggle against the viceregal government.

Hidalgo's Grito did not condemn the notion of monarchy or criticize the current social order in detail, but his opposition to the events in Spain and the current viceregal government was clearly expressed in his reference to bad government. The Grito also emphasized loyalty to the Catholic religion, a sentiment with which both Creoles and Peninsulares could sympathize; however, the strong anti-Spanish cry of "Death to the Gachupines" (Gachupines was a name also given to Peninsulares) probably caused horror among Mexico's elite.

Hidalgo's army – from Celaya to Monte de las Cruces

Hidalgo was met with an outpouring of support. Intellectuals, liberal priests and many poor people followed Hidalgo with a great deal of enthusiasm. Hidalgo permitted Indians and mestizos to join his war in such numbers that the original motives of the Querétaro group were obscured. Allende was Hidalgo's co-conspirator in Querétaro and remained more loyal to the Querétaro group's original, more creole objectives. However, Hidalgo's actions and the people's response, meant that he would lead and not Allende. Allende had acquired military training when Mexico established a colonial militia; Hidalgo had no military training at all. The people who followed Hidalgo also had no military training, experience or equipment. Many of these people were poor who were angry after many years of hunger and oppression. Consequently, Hidalgo was the leader of undisciplined rebels.

Hidalgo's leadership would also give the insurgent movement a supernatural aspect. Many villagers that joined the insurgent army came to believe that Ferdinand VII himself commanded their loyalty to Hidalgo and the monarch was in New Spain personally directing the rebellion against his own government. They also believed that the king commanded the extermination of all peninsular Spaniards and the division of their property among the masses. Historian Eric Van Young http://historyweb.ucsd.edu/VanYoung/pages/profile.html believes that such ideas gave the movement supernatural and religious legitimacy that went as far as messianic expectation.

Hidalgo and Allende left Dolores with about 800 men, half of whom were on horseback. They marched through the Bajío
Bajío
The Bajío is a region of Central Mexico that includes the plains south of the Sierra de Guanajuato, in the state of Guanajuato, as well as parts of the states of Querétaro and Michoacán .In general parlance, it is usually associated with the States of Guanajuato and Querétaro, although it only...

 area, through Atotonilco
Sanctuary of Atotonilco
The Sanctuary of Atotonilco is a church complex and a World Heritage Site, designated along with nearby San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. The complex was built in the 18th century by Father Luis Felipe Neri de Alfaro who, according to tradition, was called upon by a vision of Jesus with a...

, San Miguel el Grande (now Allende), Chamucuero, Celaya, Salamanca, Irapuato and Silao, to Guanajuato. From Guanajuato, Hidalgo directed his troops to Valladolid, Michoacán. They remained here for a while and then decided to march towards Mexico City. From Valladolid, they marched through the State of Mexico, through the cities of Maravatio, Ixtlahuaca, Toluca coming as close to Mexico City as Monte de las Cruces, between the Valley of Toluca and the Valley of Mexico
Valley of Mexico
The Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly coterminous with the present-day Distrito Federal and the eastern half of the State of Mexico. Surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, the Valley of Mexico was a centre for several pre-Columbian civilizations, including...

.

Just through sheer numbers, Hidalgo's army had some early victories. Hidalgo first went through the economically important and densely populated province of Guanajuato. One of Hidalgo's first stops was at the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Atotonilco, There, Hidalgo affixed an image of the Virgin to a lance to adopt it as his banner. He then inscribed the following slogans to his troops’ flags: "Long live religion! Long live our most Holy Mother of Guadalupe! Long live Ferdinand VII! Long live America and death to bad government!" For the masses of insurgents, this Virgin represented an intense and highly localized religious sensibility. She was invoked to identify allies rather than to create ideological alliances or a sense of nationalism.

The extent and the intensity of the movement took viceregal authorities by surprise. San Miguel and Celaya were captured with little resistance. On 21 September 1810, Hidalgo was proclaimed general and supreme commander after arriving to Celaya. At this point, Hidalgo's army numbered about 5,000. However, because of the lack of military discipline, the insurgents soon fell into robbing, looting and ransacking the towns they were capturing. They began to execute prisoners as well. This caused friction between Allende and Hidalgo as early as the capture of San Miguel in late September 1810. When a mob ran through this town, Allende tried to break up the violence by striking at the insurgents with the flat of his sword. This brought a rebuke from Hidalgo, accusing Allende of mistreating the people.

On 28 September 1810, Hidalgo arrived to the city of Guanajuato. The town's Spanish and Creole populations took refuge in the heavily-fortified Alhóndiga de Granaditas
Alhóndiga de Granaditas
The Alhóndiga de Granaditas is an old grain storage building in Guanajuato City, Mexico. This historic building was created to replace an old granary near the city's river. Its construction lasted from 1798 to 1809, by orders of Juan Antonio de Riaño y Bárcena, a Spaniard who was the quartermaster...

 granary defended by Quartermaster Riaños. The insurgents overwhelmed the defenses in two days and killed an estimated 400 - 600 men, women and children. Allende strongly protested these events and while Hidalgo agreed that they were heinous, he also stated that he understood the historical patterns that shaped such responses. The mass's violence as well as Hidalgo's inability or unwillingness to suppress it caused the creoles and peninsulares to ally against the insurgents out of fear. This also caused Hidalgo to lose support from liberal creoles he might have otherwise have had.

From Guanajuato, Hidalgo set off for Valladolid on 10 October 1810 with 15,000 men. When he arrived at Acámbaro
Acámbaro
Acámbaro is a city and municipality in the southeastern corner of the Mexican state of Guanajuato, on the banks of the Lerma River, and the oldest of the 46 municipalities of Guanajuato. Acámbaro is noted as a major railway junction, a local transport hub, and the origin of the nationally famous...

, he was promoted to generalissimo
Generalissimo
Generalissimo and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.-Usage:...

 and given the title of His Most Serene Highness, with power to legislate. With his new rank he had a blue uniform with a clerical collar and red lapels meticulously embroidered with silver and gold. This uniform also included a black baldric
Baldric
A baldric is a belt worn over one shoulder that is typically used to carry a weapon or other implement such as a bugle or drum...

 that was also embroidered with gold. There was also a large image of the Virgin of Guadalupe in gold on his chest.

Hildago and his forces took Valladolid with little opposition on 17 October 1810. Here, Hidalgo issued proclamations against the peninsulares whom he accused of arrogance and despotism, as well as enslaving those in the Americas for almost 300 years. Hidalgo argued that the objective of the war was "to send the gachupines back to the motherland" because their greed and tyranny lead to the temporal and spiritual degradation of the Mexicans. Hidalgo forced the bishop of Valladolid, Manuel Abad y Queipo, to rescind the excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 order he had circulated against him on 24 September 1810. Later, the Inquisition issued an excommunication edict on 13 October 1810 condemning Miguel Hidalgo as a seditionary, apostate, and heretic
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

.

The insurgents stayed in the city for some days preparing to march to the capital of New Spain, Mexico City. The canon
Canon (priest)
A canon is a priest or minister who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule ....

 of the cathedral went unarmed to meet Hidalgo and got him to promise that the atrocities of San Miguel, Celaya and Guanajuato would not be repeated in Valladolid. The canon was partially effective. Wholesale destruction of the city was not repeated. However, Hidalgo was angry when he found the cathedral locked to him. So he jailed all the Spaniards, replaced city officials with his own and looted the city treasury before marching off toward Mexico City. On 19 October Hidalgo left Valladolid for Mexico City after taking 400,000 pesos from the cathedral to pay expenses.

Hidalgo and his troops left the state of Michoacán
Michoacán
Michoacán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia...

 and marched through the towns of Maravatio, Ixtlahuaca, and Toluca before stopping in the forested mountain area of Monte de las Cruces. Here, insurgent forces engaged Torcuato Trujillo's royalist forces. Hidalgo's troops made royalist troops retreat, but the insurgents suffered heavy casualties for their efforts like they did when they engaged trained royalist soldiers in Guanajuato.

Retreat from Mexico City

After the Battle of Monte de las Cruces
Battle of Monte de las Cruces
The Battle of Monte de las Cruces was one of the pivotal battles of the early Mexican War of Independence. It was fought between the insurgent troops of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and Ignacio Allende against the royalist troops of General Torcuato Trujillo in the Sierra de las Cruces mountains...

 on 30 October 1810, Hidalgo still had about 100,000 insurgents and was in a strategic position to attack Mexico City. Numerically, his forces outnumbered royalist forces.

The royalist government in Mexico City, under the leadership of Viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 Francisco Venegas
Francisco Javier Venegas, marqués de la Reunión y de Nueva España
Francisco Javier Venegas de Saavedra, marqués de la Reunión y de Nueva España was a Spanish military officer and viceroy of New Spain from September 14, 1810 to March 4, 1813, during the first phase of Mexico's War of Independence.-Army career:He began studies for a literary career, but gave them...

 prepared psychological and military defenses. An intensive propaganda campaign had advertised the insurgent violence in the Bajío area and stressed the insurgents' threat against social stability. Hidalgo found the sedentary Indians and castes of the Valley of Mexico as much opposed to the insurgents as were the creoles and Spaniards.

Hidalgo's forces came as close as what is now the Cuajimalpa
Cuajimalpa
Cuajimalpa de Morelos is one of the 16 boroughs of Mexico City. Its name comes from the indigenous expression "over sticks of wood"...

 borough of Mexico City. Allende wanted to press forward and attack the capital, but Hidalgo disagreed. Hidalgo's reasoning for this decision is unclear and has been debated by historians. One probable factor was that Hidalgo's men were undisciplined and unruly and also suffered heavy losses whenever they encountered trained troops. As the capital was guarded by some of the best-trained soldiers in New Spain, Hidalgo might have feared a bloodbath. Hidalgo instead decided to turn away from Mexico City and move to the north through Toluca and Ixtlahuaca with a destination of Guadalajara.

After turning back, insurgents began to desert. By the time he got to Aculco, just north of Toluca, his army had shrunk to 40,000. There, General Felix Calleja attacked Hidalgo's forces, defeating them on 7 November 1810. Allende decided to take the troops under his command to Guanajuato instead of Guadalajara.

Hidalgo arrived in Guadalajara on 26 November with over 7,000 badly-armed men. He initially occupied the city with lower-class support because Hidalgo promised to end slavery, tribute payment and taxes on alcohol and tobacco products. Hidalgo established an alternative government in Guadalajara with himself at the head and then appointed two ministers. On 6 December 1810, Hidalgo issued a decree abolishing slavery, threatening those who did not comply with death. He also abolished tribute payments that the Indians had to pay to their creole and peninsular lords. He also ordered the publication of a newspaper called Despertador Americano (American Wake Up Call). He named Pascacio Ortiz de Letona as representative of the insurgent government and sent him to the United States to seek support there. However, this ambassador was apprehended by the Spanish army while in route to Philadelphia and executed.

During this time, insurgent violence mounted in Guadalajara. Citizens loyal to the viceregal government were seized and executed. While indiscriminate looting was avoided, the insurgents targeted the property of creoles and Spaniards, regardless of political affiliation. In the meantime, the royalist army had retaken Guanajuato, forcing Allende to flee to Guadalajara. After he arrived to the city, Allende again objected to Hidalgo concerning the insurgent violence. However, Hidalgo knew the royalist army was on its way to Guadalajara and wanted to stay on good terms with his own army.

After Guanajuato had been retaken by royalist forces, the bishop there excommunicated Hidalgo and those under him, declaring them to be heretics, perjurers and blasphemers on 24 December 1810. The Inquisition pronounced an edict against him containing a large number of charges including denying that God punishes sins in this world, doubting the authenticity of the Bible, denouncing the popes and Church government, that Jews should not have to convert to Christianity, denying the perpetual virginity of Mary, preaching that there was no hell and adopting Lutheran doctrine with regards to the Eucharist. Fearful of losing support of his army because of these decrees, Hidalgo responded that he had never departed from Church doctrine in the slightest degree.

Royalist forces marched to Guadalajara, arriving in January 1811 with nearly 6,000 men. Allende and Abasolo wanted to concentrate their forces in the city and plan an escape route should they be defeated, but Hidalgo rejected this. Their second choice then was to make a stand at the Calderon Bridge
Battle of Calderón Bridge
The Battle of Calderón Bridge was a decisive battle in the Mexican War of Independence, fought on the banks of the Calderón River east of Guadalajara in present day Zapotlanejo, Jalisco. Almost 100,000 Mexican revolutionists contributed to the attack, commanded by Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende,...

 (Puente de Calderon) just outside the city. Hidalgo had between 80,000 and 100,000 men and 95 cannons, but the better trained royalists decisively defeated the insurgent army, forcing Hidalgo to flee towards Aguascalientes. At Hacienda de Pabellon, on 25 January 1811, near Aguascalientes
Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes
The city of Aguascalientes is the capital of the state of Aguascalientes in western central Mexico. It stands on the banks of the Río Aguascalientes, 1880 meters above sea level, at...

, Allende and other insurgent leaders took military command away from Hidalgo, blaming him for their defeats. Hidalgo remained as head politically but with military command going to Allende.

What was left of the insurgent Army of the Americas moved north towards Zacatecas
Zacatecas, Zacatecas
Zacatecas is a city and municipality in Mexico and the capital of the state of Zacatecas. It is located in the north central part of the country. The city had its start as a Spanish mining camp in the mid 16th century. Prior to this, the area's rich deposits in silver and other minerals were known...

 and Saltillo
Saltillo
Saltillo is the capital city of the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila and the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name. The city is located about 400 km south of the U.S. state of Texas, and 90 km west of Monterrey, Nuevo León....

 with the goal of making connections with those the United States for support. Hidalgo made it to Saltillo, where he publicly resigned his military post and rejected a pardon offered by General José de la Cruz in the name of Venegas in return for Hidalgo's surrender. A short time later, they were betrayed and captured by royalist Ignacio Elizondo
Ignacio Elizondo
Francisco Ignacio Elizondo Villarreal, , was a New Leonese royalist general, mostly known for his victorious plot to seek to capture important insurgency precursors of the Mexican War of Independence such as Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende, and Juan Aldama in Baján, Coahuila in...

 at the Wells of Baján (Norias de Baján) on 21 March 1811 and taken to the city of Chihuahua
Chihuahua, Chihuahua
The city of Chihuahua is the state capital of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It has a population of about 825,327. The predominant activity is industry, including domestic heavy, light industries, consumer goods production, and to a smaller extent maquiladoras.-History:It has been said that the...

.

Execution

Hidalgo was turned over to the bishop of Durango
Durango, Durango
-Climate:The city of Durango has a semi-arid climate, classified as Bsk in the Koppen system. The climate is temperate in the western portion , with the average annual temperature being 15 °C and consisting of an average annual rainfall of 1,600 millimeters. In the eastern region, the average...

, Francisco Gabriel de Olivares, for an official defrocking
Defrocking
To defrock, unfrock, or laicize ministers or priests is to remove their rights to exercise the functions of the ordained ministry. This may be due to criminal convictions, disciplinary matters, or disagreements over doctrine or dogma...

 and excommunication on 27 July 1811. He was then found guilty of treason by a military court and executed by firing squad on 30 July at 7 in the morning. Before his execution, he thanked his gaolers, Private Soldiers Ortega and Melchor, in letters for their humane treatment. At his execution, Hidalgo placed his right hand over his heart to show the riflemen where they should aim. He also refused the use of a blindfold. His body, along with the bodies of Allende, Aldama and José Mariano Jiménez
José Mariano Jiménez
José Mariano Jiménez was a Mexican engineer and rebel officer active at the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence....

 were decapitated, and the heads were put on display on the four corners of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas
Alhóndiga de Granaditas
The Alhóndiga de Granaditas is an old grain storage building in Guanajuato City, Mexico. This historic building was created to replace an old granary near the city's river. Its construction lasted from 1798 to 1809, by orders of Juan Antonio de Riaño y Bárcena, a Spaniard who was the quartermaster...

 in Guanajuato
Guanajuato
Guanajuato officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guanajuato is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 46 municipalities and its capital city is Guanajuato....

. The heads remained there for ten years until the end of the Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

 to serve as a warning to other insurgents. Hidalgo's headless body was first displayed outside the prison but then buried in the Church of St Francis
San Francisco Temple
The Templo de San Francisco [English: Church of St Francis] is one of the main Catholic churches in the city of Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico. It is now recognized as one of the most valuable buildings in the city as one of the few still-existing colonial monuments in the city centre...

 in Chihuahua
Chihuahua, Chihuahua
The city of Chihuahua is the state capital of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It has a population of about 825,327. The predominant activity is industry, including domestic heavy, light industries, consumer goods production, and to a smaller extent maquiladoras.-History:It has been said that the...

. Those remains would later be transferred in 1824 to Mexico City.

Hidalgo's death resulted in a political vacuum on the insurgent side until 1812. The royalist military commander, General Felix Calleja, continued to pursue rebel troops. Insurgent fighting evolved into guerrilla warfare, and eventually the next major insurgent leader, Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon
José María Morelos
José María Teclo Morelos y Pavón was a Mexican Roman Catholic priest and revolutionary rebel leader who led the Mexican War of Independence movement, assuming its leadership after the execution of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1811...

, who had led rebel movements with Hidalgo, became head of the insurgents.

Hidalgo's legacy

Hidalgo is hailed as the Father of the Nation
Father of the Nation
Father of the Nation is an honorific title given to a man considered the driving force behind the establishment of their country, state or nation...

even though it was Agustin de Iturbide
Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Aramburu , also known as Augustine I of Mexico, was a Mexican army general who built a successful political and military coalition that was able to march into Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively ending the Mexican War of Independence...

 and not Hidalgo who achieved Mexican Independence in 1821. Shortly after gaining independence, the day to celebrate it varied between 15 September, the day of Hidalgo's Grito and 27 September, the day Iturbide rode into Mexico City to end the war. Later, political movements would favor the more liberal Hidalgo over the conservative Iturbide, so that eventually 15 September 1810 became the officially recognized day of Mexican independence. The reason for this is that Hidalgo is considered to be "precursor and creator of the rest of the heroes of the (Mexican War of) Independence." Hidalgo has become an icon for Mexicans who resist tyranny in the country. Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...

 painted Hidalgo's image in half a dozen murals. José Clemente Orozco
José Clemente Orozco
José Clemente Orozco was a Mexican social realist painter, who specialized in bold murals that established the Mexican Mural Renaissance together with murals by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and others...

 depicted him with a flaming torch of liberty and considered the painting among his best work. David Alfaro Siqueiros
David Alfaro Siqueiros
José David Alfaro Siqueiros was a social realist painter, known for his large murals in fresco that helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance, together with works by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, and also a member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an...

 was commissioned by San Nicolas University in Morelia to paint a mural for a celebration commemorating the 200th anniversary of Hidalgo's birth. The town of his parish was renamed Dolores Hidalgo in his honor and the state of Hidalgo was created in 1869. Every year on the night of 15–16 September, the president of Mexico re-enacts the Grito from the balcony of the National Palace
National Palace (Mexico)
The National Palace, or Palacio Nacional in Spanish), was the seat of the federal executive in Mexico. It is located on Mexico City's main square, the Plaza de la Constitución...

. This scene is repeated by the heads of cities and towns all over Mexico.

The remains of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla lie in the column of the Angel of Independence
El Ángel
El Ángel de la Independencia , most commonly known by theshortened name El Ángel and officially known as Columna de la Independencia, is a victory column located on a roundabout over Paseo de la Reforma in downtown Mexico City.El Ángel was built to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of...

 in Mexico City. Next to it is a lamp lit to represent the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for Mexican Independence.

External links

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