|Miguel Hidalgo||Emilio Zapata|
|Pancho Villa||Back to Homepage|
On September 16 Mexicans all over the world celebrate Mexico’s independence from the Spanish rulers. As you know, indigenous peoples were the first to inhabit Mexico. They created civilizations such as the Olmec, the Teotihuacan, Maya, Toltec, the most powerful of all the Aztec Empire.
After Christopher Columbus “discovered” America, the Spaniards carried out expeditions to find gold and riches from faraway lands. In 1521, about 500 Spanish soldiers arrived in Mexico, headed by an ambitious man Hernán Cortés. At this time, the Aztecs had a great empire that ruled over Mesoamérica. So the Spaniards decided to attack them.
The indigenous places that were under the Aztec rule were tired of the physical and economic hardships upon them by this empire. This circumstance made them think that by helping the Conquerors defeat the Aztecs, they would be better off. So they decided to fight the Spaniards.
On August 13, 1521, Cuauhtémoc, which was the last Aztec emperor was captured. The indigenous allies of the Spaniards surprised Tenochtitlan by attacking them , capital of the Aztec empire.
This was the beginning of three centuries of Spanish rule. The new colony was named Nueva España ( New Spain).
The conquerors brought with them unknown diseases to the natives. There were approximately 20 million Indians inhabiting this territory before the Conquest, and after just one century of Spanish rule there were only 1 million left.
In the early hours of September 16, 1810, father Hidalgo accompanied by several conspirators, Iganacio Allende, Doña Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez rang the bell of his little church, calling everyone to fight for liberty. This was the beginning of the Independence War which lasted 10 years.