Hidalgo y Costilla, Miguel
When Napoleon invaded Spain and captured Ferdinand VII, the aftermath in Mexico, as in other South American countries, was the birth of separatist movements. Hidalgo was one of a group of creoles who met at Querétaro and planned a revolution. The plot was soon discovered, but he took a bold step and openly adopted the cause of independence. On Sept. 16, 1810, he issued the
Success attended Hidalgo's ill-organized army: Guanajuato, Guadalajara, and Valladolid fell to the revolutionaries, and they set out for Mexico City. They defeated a royalist force at Monte de los Cruces (Oct. 30, 1810) but did not pursue their victory. Rather, on Hidalgo's orders, the insurgents turned away from the capital and, retiring northwestward, were routed at Aculco. At Guadalajara, Hidalgo reorganized the army that was sent forth only to be crushed by Calleja del Rey, the royalist general, at Calderón Bridge (Jan. 17, 1811). Hidalgo, Allende, and the other leaders made their way north, hoping to reach the United States, but were betrayed and captured. Hidalgo, after being degraded (defrocked) by the Inquisition, was shot. His schemes for social reform, exemplified in the emancipation of slaves, the cessation of the tribute tax, and the return of the land to the indigenous Indians, had come to nothing, but the war for Mexican independence continued; leadership of the movement was passed on to Morelos y Pavón.
See studies by H. Hamill (1966), J. A. Canuso (1967), and A. H. Noll (1973).
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