Understanding the History of Mexican Independence Day

Photo Courtesy: Pedro Martin Gonzalez Castillo/Getty Images

It’s September 16, 1810, and calls for independence are stirring across Dolores, a small town in the center of Mexico. It’s the start of an 11-year-long fight with Spain, a fight for Mexican independence. The man who started it all, Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, had had enough of the oppressive conditions Spanish colonial authorities were forcing Mexico’s Indigenous population to live under, and he galvanized the people of Dolores with a rousing speech to fight for their freedom.

Hidalgo’s initial act of rebellion may have begun at a small church gathering, but it quickly grew into the Mexican War of Independence — a conflict that eventually saw Mexico seize back its sovereignty from Spain. To commemorate the speech that sparked a revolution, September 16 is now recognized as Mexican Independence Day. But there’s much more history and progress that went into this fight for independence.