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Celebrating Mexico: The Grito de Dolores and the Mexican Revolution   1810 | 1910 | 2010

Photograph of a bell similar to the one Hidalgo would have used to call for independence.
Bell. Mexico, circa late 1700s;
courtesy of Jim Nikas.

For criollos, Spaniards born in the New World, the 1808 Napoleonic invasion of Spain that overthrew King Ferdinand VII intensified sentiments for self-rule, and independentista plots became common throughout the Spanish colonies. In Mexico, Father Miguel Hidalgo urged his parishioners to fight for independence. His call to arms, carried out in the early morning of September 16, 1810, became known as the Grito de Dolores.

Over the following decade a coalition of various groups carried the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the insurrection’s religious patron, in their struggle to gain independence. After some initial successes the insurgents under Hidalgo were defeated in 1811. Another rebel priest, José María Morelos, then led the fight, extolling ideals of liberty, equality, and popular sovereignty while remaining committed to Catholicism and the return of the dethroned Spanish king.

The struggle for self-rule ended when the different factions coalesced around Agustín de Iturbide, whose Plan de Iguala promised Catholicism as the official religion, Independence from Spain, and Unity for all citizens. This climactic event is symbolized by the triumphal entrance of Iturbide’s Trigarante Army (or army of the three guarantees) into Mexico City on September 27, 1821.

The young republic issued its first constitution in 1824. But the new nation would continue to be fragmented, and in 1910 would again experience social upheaval and a decade-long war as a result of unfulfilled ideals of social equality.

This exhibition commemorates singularly important milestones in Mexico’s history that illustrate, perhaps as no other events in its history have, its quest for self-determination and identity. We are pleased to have the opportunity to showcase many of the materials in the Stanford University Libraries' collections that indeed celebrate Mexico, from the Grito de Dolores to the Mexican Revolution and beyond.

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