Location: El Bajio Region, Central Mexico
Altitude: 1980 Meters / 6480Feet
Founded: September 16, 1810
Pueblo Magico Designation: 2002
Economy: Ceramics & Tourism
Seat Population: 54,843 (2005)
Name: Dolores was changed to Dolores Hidalgo Cuna de la Independencia Nacional following the War of Independence. Hidalgo is in reference to Father Hidalgo, whose "Cry of Dolores" made Dolores Hidalgo famous.
Originally named Dolores, this small, colonial town is seated at an elevation of 6,480 feet above sea level. Dolores was made famous by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (May 8, 1753 – July 30, 1811), as this was where the first call to arms took place, resulting in Mexico’s War of Independence. Known as The Cry of Dolores, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla will always be revered as the Father of Mexico – a cause he fought and died for. Subsequently, the town of Dolores was renamed to Dolores Hidalgo.
Among other things Father Hidalgo is remembered for, one is for igniting an industry that is still a main industry for this picturesque town. Ceramic shops line the streets of Dolores Hidalgo, and have grown into an industry supplying shops in the United States and throughout Latin America. Many of the artisans in neighbouring states attain their natural dyes from suppliers in Dolores Hidalgo, perhaps due to this prolific output of ceramics requiring massive local supply of material.
Those who are family with or are fans of Ranchera music may also be surprised to know that Jose Alfredo Jimenez is buried in Dolores Hidalgo’s town cemetery. Jimenez was one of Mexico’s most celebrated and prolific, as a singer and songwriter of the Ranchera style.
Dolores Hidalgo was named a Pueblo Magico in 2002.
THE CRY OF DOLORES (EL GRITO)
It is said that at 5 AM on September 16, 1810 at the Nuestra Senora de los Dolores Parish Church, the bells rang out much earlier than usual. Called "The Cry of Dolores," it was Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla beckoning his congregation to enlist in a movement against the gapuchines - a term referring to the Spanish overlords who ruled Mexico at that time. In neighboring San Miguel de Allende, Ignacio Allende joined Hidalgo despite personal differences, as he too believed in a need for Mexican Independence. It wasn't long before the citizens of Guanajuato City had joined this call to arms, helping to temporarily seize the city from the Spanish loyalists. Unfortunately for them, once the Spaniards regained control, a gruesome punishment was administered upon the public. Known as "The Lottery of Death," this sentence involved drawing random names of the forlorn "winners," who were then tortured before being hanged. La Ruta del la Libertad also includes Morelia, where Hidalgo arrived one year after his call to arms. Hidalgo and his rebels were successful in overtaking the city, which was known then as Valladolid. This siege ended slavery in Mexico, and the city was later renamed Morelia after Mexican Independence hero Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon. Tragically, Hidalgo did eventually meet his demise in the city of Chihuahua. Intending to purchase arms and employ mercenaries from the United States, Hidalgo's mission failed when he and his men were captured in 1811. After being executed by firing squad, their heads were sent to Guanajuato City where they were strung up in cages on the Alhóndiga de Granaditas. Revered as martyrs, the execution and voyeuristic exhibition of Hidalgo, Allende, Aldama and Jiminez only fueled the rage of their followers. Ten years later the loyalists were defeated - and the Declaration of Independence was signed on September 28, 1821 in Mexico City.
To this day, each year on the eve of Independence Day, the Cry of Dolores is re-enacted by the President, using the very bell Hidalgo used.