Historical Account Of The Independence Of Mexico: Characteristics

The I

ndependence of Mexico

began to take shape at the beginning of the XIX century, being on September 16, 1810 when 

the conflict broke out at the “Grito de Dolores”. After eleven years of fighting, the Trigarante Army entered Mexico City on September 27, 1821, ending Spanish rule.

The antecedents of this political and social process occurred in the second half of the 18th century, when the Bourbon reforms had exacerbated social, economic and political pressures. 
Finally, the country exploded into a crisis after the French takeover of Spain in 1808, the imposition of José Bonaparte on the throne, and the creation of the Cádiz junta. 

Mural painting where the heroes of the Independence of Mexico are portrayed. Via wikimedia commons.

In this way, the crisis exposed the sharp social divisions that existed within Mexico. But it also revealed a consensus regarding the demand for a more leading role for Mexicans within the government infrastructure.

Article index

  • one

    Cry of pain

  • two

    Military campaign

  • 3

    Declaration of Independence and first Constitution

  • 4

    Mexico’s independence

  • 5


Cry of pain

The priest Miguel Hidalgo in front of the parish of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores on September 16, 1810. Unzueta / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

In the early morning of September 16, 1810, the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the bells of the church in the town of Dolores, in the city of Guanajuato. Known as the “Grito de Dolores”, it was a call to the parishioners to take up arms against New Spain.

A crowd of people gradually gathered in front of the church, where the
 A priest made a fiery speech condemning the Spanish and calling for Mexican independence.

His harangue ended with a cry of rebellion and the order to join the struggles that were fighting against the viceregal forces. The exact words are still a matter of debate, however, the message penetrated among the citizens and that same day a revolt was declared that started the independence movement.

Military campaign

Source: Anonymous (http://www.gobernacion.gob.mx/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Hidalgo, together with the revolutionary leaders Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, managed to gather an army of 20,000 men that was expanded to 100,000 in their march south of Mexico City. Laborers, miners or farmers were some of the profiles of unprepared insurgents who gradually joined the Hidalgo Campaign.

In a first battle, this army defeated the Spanish troops, but they did not have the same luck in the Battle of the Calderón bridge, which occurred on January 17, 1811, where the royalist army overcame the inexperienced Hidalgo army despite having fewer men to to struggle.

This defeat diminished the Hidalgo-Allende / Aldama tandem, since the latter did not approve of the priest’s military tactics, which had no type of strategic foundation. Thus, they began to act independently due to serious discrepancies.

Both Hidalgo and Allende died, but the battle front was not only in the north, since throughout the country there were other insurgent foci, highlighting the one led by the priest and soldier José María Morelos y Pavón.

Morelos had studied with Hidalgo and had joined the rebellion in its early stages.
This strategist was one of the most successful military leaders of the independence movement between 1811 and 1815, being Cuautla, Acapulco or Chilpancingo a

Some of his most notorious victories.

Declaration of Independence and first Constitution

Congress of Chilpancingo, held on September 13, 1813. (unknown) / Public domain

In 1813 Morelos convened a Constituent Congress in Chilpancingo, Guerrero. This Congress, called Anahuac, supported the previous declaration of independence from Spain and drafted 

Sentiments of the Nation, legal germ of the future first Constitution of Mexico

In that document, the independence of the nation, the sovereignty of the nation, slavery and the caste system were abolished, the Catholic religion was established as the sole and official religion, or it was made official on December 12 as the Day of the Virgin of Guadeloupe.

Despite this constituent junta, the war continued and decision-making divided the insurgents, causing the rebel forces to weaken.

This led to the royalists, led by the fearsome General Félix María Calleja, taking control of the situation again. In

In 1815, José María Morelos y Pavón was captured and executed by the troops of Viceroy Calleja.

Despite the death of Morelos, the insurgents continued their campaigns throughout the country, maintaining resistance and giving way to guerrilla warfare. Rebels like Juan Mier y Terán or Vicente Guerrero achieved important victories, gradually weakening the royal army.

It is important to highlight the figure of the Spanish Francisco Xavier Mina, enemy of Fernando VII, and organizer of an expedition from the United States with three hundred men to support the struggle of the Mexican independence movement.

Mexico’s independence

Act of Independence of Mexico (1821). Hpav7 / Public domain
The fight continued until 1821, being counted up to a million deaths and an economic deterioration decimated by the abandonment of mines or farms and war expenses.

It is that year when

 the royalist Agustín de Iturbide, commander general of the South, joined the independence movement.
On March 1 of that year he presented his Plan of Iguala, in which he called for a broad coalition to defeat Spain.

Among other aspects, the plan established the Catholic Church as the official religion and proclaimed the absolute independence of Mexico.

The insurgent leader Vicente Guerrero announced his alliance with Iturbide, putting his forces at his disposal.
Then, many Spanish and Creole soldiers accepted the plan, reducing the royalist forces.

By August 1821, Iturbide’s army had controlled the entire nation, except for Mexico City, the port of Veracruz, Acapulco, and the fortress of Perote.

Convinced that Mexico was lost as a colony, the last viceroy sent by Spain signs the treaty of Córdoba. 

This reiterated the provisions of the Plan of Iguala, established a provisional Government Junta and announced that Mexico would become a constitutional monarchy.

Finally, on September 27, 1821, Agustín de Iturbide and his men entered Mexico City in triumph.


  1. Kirkwood, B. (2009). The History of Mexico. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
  2. Otfinoski, S. (2008). The New Republic, 1760-1840. New York: Marshall Cavendish.
  3. Joseph, GM and Henderson, TJ (2002). The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Durham: Duke University Press.
  4. Deare, CA (2017). A Tale of Two Eagles: The US-Mexico Bilateral Defense Relationship Post Cold War. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
  5. Russell, P. (2011). The History of Mexico: From Pre-Conquest to Present. New York: Routledge.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button