(Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, also called El cura Hidalgo;) San Diego Corralejo, Guanajuato, 1753 - Chihuahua, 1811) Mexican patriot who started the struggle for independence. Priest cult and advanced ideas that he had worked from his parish in the town of Dolores, by improving the conditions of life of parishioners, Miguel Hidalgo joined actively in the circles that questioned the colonial status and conspiring to overthrow the Spanish viceroy. When was the plot in which participated, its firm determination and its appeal to take the weapons (the so-called Grito de Dolores, of September 16, 1810) erected in leader of a popular revolt against the colonial authorities discovered.
Miguel Hidalgo in a mural painting by Juan'Gorman
He was nearing the movement's reach and take the city of Mexico; but a tactical, understandable mistake in who was neither military nor strategist, weakened his position and ended with the defeat and execution of the priest and his lieutenants. Despite the failure, Miguel Hidalgo launched the process that would lead to the independence of Mexico (1821), and his figure stands out particularly insofar as there a desire for power or a defence of the privileges of the Creole elites, but an ethical imperative and an ideal of social justice at the service of their fellow citizens in their struggle. That is why it is the most admired of the fathers of the Mexican homeland.
The enlightened priest
Belonging to a wealthy Creole family, was the second of the four children of don Cristóbal Hidalgo y Costilla, Manager of the hacienda of San Diego Corralejo, and Doña Ana María Gallaga mandarte. At age 12 he moved to the city of Valladolid (today Morelia), where he made his studies at the Colegio de San Nicolas; He then went to the city of Mexico to pursue higher studies. In 1773, he graduated as a Bachelor in philosophy and theology, and obtained a professorship at the same College of San Nicolas by opposition.
During the following years he made a brilliant academic career that culminated in 1790, when he was appointed rector of the Colegio de San Nicolas. At that same institution would have as a student to a clear and strong-willed, young an exemplary disciple who would succeed him not so much in his intellectual dreams as their political raids, and especially in the epic release the indigenous people of the secular and despotic oppression of the colonizers: José María Morelos.
In 1778 he had been ordained a priest; After receiving Holy orders, father Hidalgo worked at several parishes. Already then spoke six languages (Spanish, French, Italian, tarascan, otomi and nahuatl) and its library began to get the works of French authors then considered contrary to religion and to the Spanish Crown. Moved between friends and environments in which political avant-garde ideas were discussed with total freedom, and came to be denounced to the Inquisition for expressing concepts incompatible with religion, but no trial be might formed for lack of evidence.
On the death of his brother Joaquín (in 1803), Miguel Hidalgo replaced him as priest of the town of Dolores, in the State of Guanajuato. It was at pains where, in addition to generously exercise their ecclesiastical Magisterium, undertook tasks of great reformer and hero illustrated, putting into practice his ideas among his parishioners (mostly indigenous), in an attempt to improve their living conditions. Thus, the priest dealt to expand the cultivation of vineyards, planted mulberry trees for silkworms breeding and promoting beekeeping. It also promoted the brick kilns and an earthenware factory, and encouraged the construction of tubs for tanners and other artisan workshops which are useful for the prosperity of the population, which earned him the unconditional support of the parishioners.
The Grito de Dolores
In 1808, with the invasion of Spain by Napoleon's troops and the subsequent deposition of the Spanish monarch Carlos IV and his son Fernando VII, began a turbulent stage both in Spain and in America. Then came numerous groups of intellectuals arguing about sovereignty and the forms of Government of the colonies.
Since 1808 the corregidor of Querétaro, Miguel Domínguez, had promoted the formation of an American Congress and was fond of autonomous governance. In 1810 gathered in lathe to the several people who conspired against the Viceregal authority under the guise of a literary gathering. In the meetings of Queretaro participating important Creoles, among which were the own magistrate and his wife, Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez; Ignacio Allende, an official and small landowner; and Juan Aldama, also official. Miguel Hidalgo arrived to Queretaro invited by Allende at the beginning of September, 1810.
The aim of the conspirators of Querétaro was not total independence, at least at the beginning. The idea was to overthrow the newly appointed Spanish Viceroy, Francisco Javier Venegas, and meet a Congress to govern the Viceroyalty of new Spain in the name of King Fernando VII (which at that time was prisoner of Napoleon). The conspirators planned to take up arms against the viceroy Venegas the first October 1810, but were discovered in mid-September. Hidalgo and some other conspirators managed to reach safety thanks to the announcement of Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez and moved to Dolores.
Disrupted, therefore entreated plans, only it might hide or advance the rising, and Miguel Hidalgo opted for the latest. The night of September 15, the priest asked the help of the parishioners of Dolores, freed political prisoners from jail and then took the weapons of the local garrison. The next morning he called a mass attended by many supporters of the vicinity, and it appealed to rise in arms against the colonial authorities; such proclamation is known as the Grito de Dolores.
Proceeding of Hidalgo gave the movement a radical shift. It was not hit by hand of an elite who was trying to establish a native Government and expect the return of Fernando VII to Spain: it had become the first popular revolt in Spanish America, and it broke out the rage of the oppressed. Hidalgo's call was attended by hundreds of peasants from nearby, and as they progressed, peons and Indians of the communities you were joining them. These were in revolt the possibility to improve their miserable situation, caused by poor harvests and rising prices.
The rebels headed to San Miguel el Grande, and on September 16, 1810, in the sanctuary of Atotonilco, Miguel Hidalgo peaked, as sign of his army, a banner with the image of our Lady of Guadalupe, patron of Mexico, in which one could read: "long live the religion. Long live our mother Santísima de Guadalupe. Viva Fernando VII. Long live America and death to bad government." In San Miguel el Grande joined the regiment of the Queen, who commanded Ignacio Allende, and a large number of craftsmen, obrajeros and farmers. Together with Allende, he managed to gather an army consisting of more than 40,000 men.
The vicissitudes of the weeks can be described as dizzying. On September 21, with a large, unruly and turbulent battalion, Miguel Hidalgo occupied the city of Celaya, where grades between the leaders of the insurrection were distributed: the honor of be lieutenant general went to Ignacio Allende; the priest Miguel Hidalgo was proclaimed without captain general discussion. The liberating army continued its advance and then took the cities of Salamanca, Irapuato and Silao.
Miguel Hidalgo in a mural painting by Juan'Gorman
The next point of the tour was the rich city of Guanajuato (September 28), in which it continued joining the workers, peasants, indigenous movement and the populace in general; all were drawn, as if by a magnet. But the taking of the city was marked by violence. Riaño Mayor did not have the means to defend it, and decided to take refuge with the wealthy in the alhóndiga de Granaditas people. The assault of the alhondiga was one extreme violence and most of them took refuge there were killed. Although there are several versions, all agree that many crimes and abuses, committed even after having occupied the building. This episode caused some Creoles to withdraw their support to the movement.
Meanwhile, the ecclesiastical authorities condemned powered the rebels, especially to its most visible ringleader, whom they accused of Trickster, Heretic and enemy of private property, charges for which he was excommunicated. In fact, Hidalgo had stated then that land should be returned to the Indians, winning with this membership, but what had not yet defended (and the attitude of the bishops did not but accelerate his decision) was the need for the complete independence of the country.
Establish such a goal was the prophetic response their enemies, and when two months later formed a provisional Government in Guadalajara, his challenge would come to the point in the decreeing that he should surrender to natural land cultivation, as well as enjoy exclusive of communal lands. On the other hand, aristocracy Creole, fearful of losing the privileges granted the latifundista system, nor would be willingly to that interim Government abolished slavery and taxes that are levied to Indians and mestizos, nor nor the subsequent decree that you threatened with confiscation of the assets of the Europeans, so he joined the forces of the viceroy and ecclesiastical hierarchies.
But such loss of support not would be reflected, for the moment, on the battlefields, where Hidalgo continued to reap victories until, perhaps by an excess of ethical greatness, he committed a fatal strategic mistake. On October 17, 1810 Hidalgo took Valladolid with seven thousand men of cavalry and two hundred forty infants, all of them poorly armed, and on 25 October held Toluca. That same month he joined Hidalgo her old acolyte and eximious successor, José María Morelos, who was immediately commissioned to carry the insurrection in the South of the country.
When the next objective was the city of Mexico, Hidalgo won a very important victory over Torcuato Trujillo, sent by the viceroy Francisco Javier Venegas to intercept the rebels. The meeting took place at the Monte de las Cruces on 30 October 1810: Trujillo's troops were defeated and, after the bloody battle, the Royalist Army fled to the Mexican capital, possibly waiting for the final assault.
A fatal mistake
Pious in the dignified exercise of his priestly, admirable for its reforms in the industry, bright position as legislator progressive, daring in battle and willing to lend his arm to cause more noble and risky of his time, father Hidalgo was, unfortunately, an awkward general. He was possibly too overwhelmed with pain that was among his inexperienced troops, and can that he was unwilling to Exchange sacrifices, perhaps sterile, for bloody victories.
The truth is that, after the victory of the Monte de las Cruces, Ignacio Allende recommended is to attack the capital, but the priest Hidalgo, ignoring the excellent advice shared by the remaining military leaders did not want to advance towards the city of Mexico. With load behind what happened in Guanajuato, and to avoid their own troops to loot the capital, or well before the threat of an attack by Marshal Félix María Calleja, ordered the withdrawal.
Such mistake marked the beginning of the end. A few days later, on November 7, Félix Calleja defeated him at the battle of Aculco; Hidalgo returned to Valladolid and from there went to Guadalajara. Already in Guadalajara (November 22), Miguel Hidalgo issued a declaration of independence and formed a provisional Government; He decreed in addition the abolition of slavery, the abolition of taxes paid by the Indians to the Crown and the restitution of the land usurped by the haciendas. But such and such excellent tax and administrative decrees were paper wet without the use of force. At the end of the year it had already lost Guanajuato and Valladolid.
January 17, 1811, Hidalgo's troops were defeated in the battle of Calderón bridge by a contingent of realistic soldiers under the command of Calleja. Deposed control by their comrades, Hidalgo left for Aguascalientes and Zacatecas, with the intention of arriving in United States to seek support for their cause, but was betrayed by Ignacio Elizondo and captured on the Norias of Acatita de set may 21, 1811. In Chihuahua, after undergoing a dual process of ecclesiastical and civil, Hidalgo was expelled from the priesthood and sentenced to death.
The shooting took place on the morning of July 30, 1811. The heads of Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende and other insurgents were exhibited as I warning placed in cages in the alhóndiga de Granaditas in Guanajuato. There they remained for several years. However, still had energy and warlords to the revolution, fueled further by the example of father Hidalgo, whose fortitude, maintained until the last moment, won the admiration even of the platoon of its executors.
Father of the nation
The colonial Government was convinced that with the death of the caudillos, shot in Chihuahua, would end the insurgent movement, but it did not. Ignacio López Rayón, Lieutenant of Hidalgo, succeeded him at the forefront of the uprising and resumed the fight from his refuge in Saltillo, at the time that incumbent campaigns that former disciple of Hidalgo, José María Morelos, who the priest was responsible for the formation of an army in the South of the country.
With the execution of Morelos in 1815, rebellion was finally crushed, but the ideology of the priest from Dolores had become popular among broad segments of Mexican society, and the process had no reverse gear. Six years later, in 1821, the seeds menbers: at the head of his army Trigarante, he sustained three guarantees of the Plan of Iguala, Agustín de Iturbide went on to dominate all over the country and Mexico achieved its independence from Spain.
Following the establishment in Mexico 1823, Miguel Hidalgo was recognized as father of the nation. The State of Hidalgo bears his name and the town of Dolores became renamed Dolores Hidalgo in his honor. On 16 September, the day that proclaimed the hoist, is celebrated in Mexico the day of independence. His remains rest in the column of independence, in the city of Mexico.