Photo: Celebrating Mexico's 201st Year of Independence
Today, all of Mexico is celebrating and rejoicing its 201-year old independence from Spain. The Spanish arrived in the 1500’s and stayed for nearly 300 years as it colonized the region, destroyed the Azteca empire while enslaving native populations and decimated indigenous tribes as they were being converted to Catholicism. The fight for independence started in 1810 and lasted for 21 years as Mexican’s fought Spain led by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and many other heroes of the revolution.
Mexico today is the 14th largest independent nation in the world with approximately 115 million citizens. Recognized as much for its culture as its flora and fauna and its emerging economy. It ranks 11th in the world for its purchasing power and is the tenth most visited country in the world with 21 million coming annually to enjoy Mexico. As it struggles with its democratic processes and the deadly drug cartel wars it continues to move forward with change and democratically crafted solutions while keeping an eye on its role as an international world power.
The Grito (cry for independence) sounded at midnight in Mexico City and in many other world cities with large Hispanic populations that were preceded by parades, fireworks and festivals.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent their congratulations to Mexico and all its people:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Mexico on the 201st anniversary of your independence this September 16. We join you in celebrating Mexico’s rich history and culture and to honor the many accomplishments of the Mexican people.
Mexico and the United States share nearly 2,000 miles of border, conduct more than one billion dollars in two way trade every day, and enjoy ties of culture and family that reach deep into the hearts of both our people. We are linked by shared histories, values, and opportunities. These ties of friendship guide us as we work toward common goals and interests, from improving regional security to promoting greater prosperity for all our people. Neither country can address these challenges alone, but together we can find solutions to common problems for the benefit of our hemisphere and the world.
As you gather with family, friends, and loved ones to hear the Grito de Dolores and the bells of independence ringing out in plazas from Baja California to Quintana Roo, know that the United States stands with you as a friend and partner. ¡Viva México! and best wishes for a year of peace and prosperity.