Photo: Celebrating Mexico's 202nd 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) sounds at midnight in Mexico City and in many other world cities with large Hispanic populations 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 am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Mexico as you celebrate your independence this September 16.
Our two nations are linked by geography, but we also share deep-rooted economic, cultural, and social ties. The millions of Americans who trace their roots to Mexico share their customs, language, music, and cuisine, enriching American culture all across our country. Every year, increasing numbers of Mexicans and Americans travel between our two countries, creating friendships and ties that reinforce our close relationship.
Above all, Mexico and the United States share a mutual commitment to freedom and democracy. The tolling of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia in honor of American Independence more than two centuries ago echoes the joyful pealing of Guanajuato’s church bells that accompanied Mexico’s valiant struggle for freedom. The people of the United States share in the spirit and cause of Father Miguel Hidalgo’s celebrated Grito de Dolores.¡Viva México!