Mexico’s independence stemmed from one badass revolution. It’s been 206 years since the fateful day, when Hidalgo rang the church bell to call the people to fight for their freedom. So we’ll be celebrating El Grito, or the scream, (with a lot of tequila I might add) from late Thursday September 15th to early Friday September 16th.
When the Spanish moseyed into Mexico, looking for gold, they brought with them a slew of diseases to which they were immune from sleeping in close quarters with farm animals (get your mind out of the gutter!) The indigenous peeps didn’t domesticate animals to that extent, and thus, hadn’t developed any resistance.
Also, Mexico’s people hadn’t been united in the common sense of the word. They were united against a common enemy, The Aztecs. With that handy tool under their belt, the Spanish waltzed in and laid claim to Nueva España, enslaving the Mesoamerican peoples in the name of conquest. Imagine this: their population dropped from 20 million to only 1 million. It was cultural decimation.
Strangely enough, the spark that ignited the revolution lay not in the abused hands of the indigenous people but rather the first generation Spaniards who were born in Mexico. Tired of being treated as second class citizens of the crown, they got pissed and started to stir things up. Further influenced by French revolutionary writers like Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire, they demanded their independence with a side of democracy.
This bode well for the native Mexicans who 100 yrs later overthrew a long-reigning dictator, Porfio Diaz. It wasn’t grass-roots nor aristocratic. It was a revolution fought by people of all classes, sexes and ages. Men fought alongside women and children. This is what revolution is about – an idea that permeates through all the bureaucratic crap to set people free.
So our celebration of Independence Day is a two for one. We celebrate fighting for rights and what you believe is right. After that’s all said and done, we fight to drink more tequila.