What was the “grito de Dolores”?
Contrary to what the literal translation of this Spanish sentence may suggest, the “Grito de Dolores” was not a cry of pain (or was it?)
Dolores is a small city 300 km North of Mexico (the Capital City). It was from this otherwise inconsequential town that, in 1810, the Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo gathered, with a fabled speech, the necessary forces to ignite the Revolution that eventually freed Latin America from the Spanish yoke.
Spanish in fact it was not since, at the time, France had occupied Spain and Napoleon’s brother (Joseph) was on that throne.
There is therefore also a different version of the same story.
Hidalgo would have raised the crowd to fight the French expeditionary army not to attain independence, but to restore the Spanish king Ferdinand VII in Madrid. It is true that the occupying French were hated by the population. But I find this narrative not adequately documented.
I have spent some time in Mexico myself and not many credit this version. The events, as narrated by the libraries and the Museums, corroborate the first reading.
In any case, Hidalgo was arrested and executed in 1811 and did not leave behind his own account of the facts.
Whatever, fighting continued against France, against Spain and, again, against France and Spain.
The country was granted formal independence in 1821 but it was not freed of several successive occupations, dominations and sundry dictatorships until 1929.
The “Grito de Dolores” was indeed a cry of pain that lasted over 100 years.