Today, we celebrate Mexico’s independence day from Spanish colonial yoke. While the Independence and its fruits launched Mexico on a different historical and often turbulent trajectory of political development, it reminds us of the resilience of those who initially resisted Spanish colonial domination. One such figure that inspires me is that of Padre Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (1753-1811). There has been much debate about how he looked as Mexican authorities have continued to publish a stereotypical image of him. How he looked has been analyzed in a documentary by a social activist, historian, and prolific Mexican writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II (He was born in Spain and his family escaped from Spain from the dictatorship of Franco). I was lucky to hear him speak during the 2018 FIL in Guadalajara.
Today, I present you with just a few print items of interest from our Main collections along with the documentary about Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla below. Bancroft Library par excellence continues to hold most of our precious imprints related to Mexico’s Independence. However, our Main circulating collection also has an impressive array of books on Mexico’s war for Independence, 1810-1821.
The other equally interesting item that deals with the age of revolutions in Latin America is a 1864-1867, five volume set, “Annales historiques de la révolution de l’Amérique latine, accompagnées de documents à l’appui. De l’année 1808 jusqu’à la reconnaissance par les états européens de l’indépendance de ce vaste continent. Par M. Charles Calvo.” The full-text of this set is also accessible on Hathi Trust. The last item that I want to highlights a 19th-century coverage of Mexico’s Independence is a four-volume set that was published in Mexico from 1849-1852 is “Historia de Méjico desde los primeros movimientos que prepararon su independencia en el año de 1808, hasta la época presente. Por don Lúcas Alamán …” It is also available in both Google Books and Hathi Trust in its Open Access avatar.
As a final thought, I wanted us to reflect upon the wars we have been fighting around the globe for various reasons. Some of them are righteous, and others are justified using policy-based sermons and formulated on national security interests. European powers fought similar wars in the 19th century when the colonies decided to become independent. Mexico’s wars for Independence against the Spanish Empire remind us of the resilience of Mexicans/ Mexicanas and the drive of those few idealists who strived to build a just world. One such idealist that inspires me is the figure of Padre Miguel Hidalgo and Costilla. ¡Que viva México! and then this thought-provoking opinion piece about Mexico today in Milenio.
I leave with you with two YouTube clips: a serious clip of Grito by a child dressed like Padre Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and the other one is of a corrido about Mexico’s Independence.