During the month of September . . .
September 1, 1880 Porfirio Diaz’s government awards the concessions for building railroad lines from Mexico City to the U.S. border.
1, 1925 The inauguration of the Bank Of Mexico which will function as a central bank, the only one able to print money. On this precise date, 57 years later, in 1982, President Lopez Portillo announces the nationalization of all banks. (The banks have since been privatized again.)
1, 1969 From this date, Mexicans reaching their eighteenth birthday come of age, and assume voting rights.
3, 1783 Spain and England sign a treaty which allows the English to exploit the timber resources of Belize, formerly a Mexican province. The province is later renamed British Honduras, a name which persists until it gains independence from Britain, when it reverts to “Belize”.
4, 1781 The city of Los Angeles is founded by Felipe de Neve, governor of the Californias.
4, 1884 Francisco J. Mújica is born in Michoacán. Mújica becomes one of the key figures in the Mexican Revolution, and occupies important government posts under President Cárdenas. The town of Jiquilpan, not far from Lake Chapala, has a museum housing a permanent photographic record of both men’s achievements.
4, 1969 Line 1 of Mexico City’s “metro” (the subway) is opened. The line boasts French technology and super-quiet trains.
7, 1949 – MEXICO’S TOP MURALIST DIES.
José Clemente Orozco, the internationally famous mural painter from Guadalajara, dies in Mexico City. First recognized as a great artist in the U.S., he later painted murals in many of Guadalajara’s public buildings, including the Government Palace, the University and the Cabañas orphanage, which later became the Cabañas Cultural Institute. Orozco’s work ranks among the finest ever produced in Mexico.
8, 1546 Deposits of silver ore are discovered in the state of Zacatecas, the first such deposits to be found by the Spanish conquistadors. Coincidentally, two years to the day later, more deposits are found. This discovery leads to the founding of the city of Zacatecas.
8, 1824 The author of the music of Mexico’s national anthem, performed for the first time officially in 1854, is born in Spain. Jaime Nuño Roca lives to the ripe old age of 84.
8, 1847 Mexican forces defend Chapultepec Castle against invading U.S. troops. In the succeeding days, there are numerous acts of heroism, including that of the “Child Heroes” (which some modern day historians believe never took place!) The major battle for the castle begins on the 12th and ends on the 13th when the last remaining cadets throw themselves off the ramparts, rather than surrender.
8, 1862 Death, from typhoid fever, of General Ignacio Zaragoza (born 1829), whose forces, only four months earlier (May 5), had defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla.
9, 1847 The U.S. troops in Mexico City hang 16 Irish soldiers of the Saint Patrick’s Battalion (see August 20th for their story). More captured Irishmen are put to death on the 10th and the 13th of September, 1847.
9, 1850 The American Congress formally admits “Upper California”, as a State of the Union -leaving Mexico only “Lower (Baja) California”.
10, 1824 Colima is formally declared a “city”.
12, 1931 Mexico joins the League of Nations.
14, 1526 The city of Antequera (now known as Oaxaca) is founded by Francisco de Orozco.
15, 1498 Christopher Columbus begins his third voyage to the New World.
15, 1810 – CALL FROM PULPIT FOR INDEPENDENCE!
Father Miguel Hidalgo, and his fellow conspirators, decide to begin an armed uprising aimed at gaining independence from Spain. The days prior to the 15th have been full of intrigue and incident, with the Spanish authorities desperately trying to capture the ring-leaders. In the early morning of the 16th, Hidalgo issues his call to the people, an event commemorated today by the Independence Eve “Grito” (shout) made by the President every 15th of September. The 16th is Mexico’s “Independence Day”, a national holiday.
15, 1882 The Public Education Law makes primary education free and compulsory. Even today, all the primary school textbooks used in public schools are free.
15, 1939 The Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) was founded. During the 1990s, PAN candidates win several state governorships from the PRI party. In 2000, standing for PAN, Vicente Fox became the first opposition candidate to wrest the presidency from the PRI for more than seventy years. Fox’s term of office ends in 2006.
16, 1850 The opening of the first railway in Mexico: 11 kilometers of track between Veracruz and Molino.
16, 1869 President Benito Juárez inaugurates the railroad from Mexico City to Puebla. It takes another four years to finish the Puebla-Veracruz section of the line.
16, 1896 Mexico adopts the decimal system.
17, 1810 – 1000 PESOS FOR THEIR HEADS.
Spanish authorities offer a bounty of 1000 pesos each for the heads of Hidalgo, Allende, Aldama and Abasolo, the leaders of the Mexican Independence movement, which on that same day, installs the first independent government, in San Miguel el Grande (today San Miguel de Allende). The price on each of their heads was soon raised to $2500!
17, 1964 President Lopez Mateos opens the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. Recognized as one of the world’s outstanding museums, the building was designed by Pedro Ramirez Vazquez and is a “must see” for anyone visiting Mexico City for the first time.
19, 1553 The Spanish Crown gives a coat of arms to the city of Valladolid, today known as Morelia. This year (2001), the city will celebrate its 460th anniversary.
19, 1985 A severe earthquake, measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, shakes Mexico City and surrounding states. An estimated 20,000 people lose their lives and some 3,000 buildings are damaged.
20, 1870 The National School for the Blind is founded in Mexico City.
21, 1629 Disastrous floods, with the water rising up to 2 meters in some places, cause extensive damage and loss of life in Mexico City.
25, 1493 Christopher Columbus departs from Cadiz, on his second voyage to the New World. Exactly twenty years to the day later, Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean, naming it “the Southern Sea”.
25, 1572 The first Jesuits arrive in New Spain. The Jesuits play a crucial role in the exploration of north-west Mexico, and in the early development of education and colleges.
26, 1949 After exhaustive research, Dr. Eulalia Guzmán discovers the remains of the last Aztec Emperor, Cuauhtemoc, buried in a church in the state of Guerrero.
27, 1821 Mexico formally wins independence from Spain.
27, 1862 Miguel Angel de Quevedo is born in Guadalajara. Quevedo, a road engineer, is a pioneer tree planter, and eventually becomes the Head of the Forestry department in the Agriculture Secretariat. He is sometimes referred to as the “Apostle of the Trees”.
29, 1759 The first completely new volcano to be formed in the Americas in historic times, Jorullo, commences activity. Jorullo is located in the state of Michoacán, very close to the site of the America’s second (and better known) new volcano, Paricutín.
The main source for this series is Efemérides Mexicanas by Noé Solchaga Zamudio and Luisa A. Solchaga Peña, published in two volumes by Editorial Avante, Mexico City, 1983.