Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dolores Hidalgo: Cradle of Mexican Independence


Cindi Bower

Dolores Hidalgo is where the fight for independence from Spain began. In the early hours of September 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave his famous speech, "El Grito," to his parishioners from the steps of the parish church.

The exact words of the speech have been lost, but the gist was that Hidalgo and his cohorts called for death to the bad government and to the Spanish overlords. He called for the expulsion of all foreign invaders and rulers so that Mexicans could rule themselves.

After the speech, the rebels captured the Spanish officials who ruled over the town, freed the prisoners from the town jail, and incarcerated the Spanish officials.

Padre Hidalgo y Costilla: More than a rebel leader

Father Hidalgo was a Roman Catholic priest, but a rather unconventional one. He took his priestly vows lightly and sired two daughters out of wedlock. He also took his duties lightly, preferring to hand them over to his vicars so he could pursue other interests.

He saw the priesthood and the Catholic Church as a source of income rather than a spiritual calling. He climbed the "corporate ladder" from parish to ever-richer parish until he was awarded the parish of Dolores, a fairly wealthy parish at the time.

That is not to say he did not care for the lives and economic situations of his parishioners. Far from it. He taught people how to make pottery, cure leather, raise silkworms, cultivate vineyards and olive groves, weave wool, make harnesses, do carpentry and blacksmithing.

People in Dolores Hidalgo are still engaged in these industries that Father Hidalgo began two centuries ago.

Pros: "Few foreign tourists, small town atmosphere, fantastic ice cream, interesting museums"

Cons: "Not much to do if you don't speak Spanish, too close to the large expat community of San Miguel de Allende"

In A Nutshell: "More than Just a Place to Buy Pottery"


A Walk Through Mexico's Crown Jewel: A Guanajuato Travelogue -- This travelogue is for American, English-speaking European, and Canadian travelers who have grown weary of the typical Mexican vacation. It is a travelogue with strong guidebook features about the city of Guanajuato (the capital of the state of Guanajuato).

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