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Miguel Hidalgo

Home >> Mexico History Directory >> Miguel Hidalgo

Miguel HidalgoDon Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla (8 May 1753 – 30 July 1811) was the chief instigator of Mexico's war of independence against Spain. Of pure Spanish criollo descent, Hidalgo was the parish priest of Dolores (now called Dolores Hidalgo), a small town in the modern-day central Mexican state of Guanajuato. Hidalgo was an avid reader of banned French literature and was an avid nonconformist. He learned the indigenous languages and openly defied many aspects of the catholic rule including that of sexual abstinence for the clergy. In the mining region of central Mexico Miguel Hidalgo and other Creoles of high society started conspiring for a considerable uprising of mestizo and indigenous peasants. Alerted by Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez ("La Corregidora") that his revolutionary plot had been discovered and that he would soon be arrested for his conspiring, he brought his plans forward and, with the Grito de Dolores delivered in religious language and from the belfry of his parish church on the dawn of 16 September 1810, a speech not of independence, but of the need of Mexico's defence against the usurpers of authority and the enemies of Fernando VII. Doing this Hidalgo started the great revolt of 1810. His battle cry was: "Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe, and Death to the Spaniards!" Hidalgo, and his unruly followers dispersed after only a few months. Hidalgo himself was captured, forced publicly to repent, and then was executed for his crimes. Hidalgo is remembered even today as a great liberator of Mexico. However, the image representing Hidalgo is thought to be that of his brother and not himself.