This new entry in the series we’re publishing on the bicentennial of the independence of the New World republics is going to discuss the Independence of Mexico from a point of view that affects Basques, greatly. This, in itself, makes it greatly interesting. But this entry has a special value for other, powerful reasons.
A date with great symbolic value
It’s still September15, 2021. In a few hours, the Grito de Dolores will begin, marking Mexico’s Independence Day. In 1821, exactly 200 years ago, the first independent Mexican government, a provisional Governing Body made up of Vicente Guerrero, Guadalupe Victoria, and Agustín de Iturbide (who we’ve already spoken of on the blog), declared September 16 as the national holiday.
They did so in memory of another very historic day, the Cry of Dolores, which is considered the event that marked the beginning of Mexico’s independence process. According to tradition, in the early morning of September 16, 1810, when Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, alongside Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, rang the church bell and gave the call to arms to his faithful.
One contribution from the San Ignacio de Loyola-Vizcaínas School
The fact that today’s entry’s publication date matches is not a coincidence nor was it actually our choice. It was two Mexican intellectuals and scholars at the Colegio de San Ignacio de Loyola – Vizcaínas School who made it possible.
On the one hand, Dr. Ana Rita Valero de García Lascuráin, director of the Historical Archives at the Colegio de San Ignacio de Loyola-Vizcaínas.
On the other, Dr. Lizzeth Armenta, curator of the Museum of the Colegio de San Ignacio de Loyola-Vizcaínas.
Both work in two centers that belong to the Colegio de San Ignacio de Loyola-Vizcaínas School, which was founded by Basques in the 18th century via the Guild of Our Lady of Aranzazu of Mexico, which we’ve spoken of many times (at the end of this entry, readers can find references to the articles we’ve written about this Basque work that has ended up becoming the oldest active Basque institution in the world outside of our homeland (except the Society of Jesus)).
Thanks to their profound knowledge of this Basque institution in Mexico, and their kindness, we can share with our readers two videos, each of which comes from the perspective of the institution they run, in which the Mexican independence process is analyzed from its beginnings in the early morning of September 16, 1810 to its culmination with the signing of the Treaties of Cordoba on August 24, 1821 by Agustín de Iturbide, commander of the Mexican army fighting for independence, and by Juan O’Donojú, chief political leader (“jefe político superior”, a viceroy in all but name) of the Province of New Spain, representing the Kingdom of Spain.
Part of our contribution to the Day of the Basque Diaspora
In addition to the above, this entry has even greater value for us. Not only is it a part of our series on the Bicentennial of the Independence of the New World Republics, it’s also the third part of the joint contribution that the Limako Arantzazu Euzko Etxea – Lima Basque Center and we ourselves have prepared for this year’s Day of the Basque Diaspora, along with the greeting to the Basque community in the world from Jesús María Aristín, Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Yurimaguas, which has been entrusted since its founding over 100 years ago to the Basque Pasisonists; and the video from historians Jean Claude Larronde and Luis de Guezala analyzing the anti-colonial beliefs of Sabino de Arana y Goiri.
The Colegio de las Vizcaínas during the independence process
In these two videos, both researchers, Dr. Ana Rita Valero de García Lascuráin and Dr. Lizzeth Armenta, explain to us, from the points of view of the institution each runs, what this school experienced and went through during that independence process. But they go even deeper, sharing what the people, the students and teachers, went through. One of those students was one of Mexico’s greatest heroines of independence, Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez.
It’s an amazing journey through a part of our history that is also a part of the history of Mexico, and of the world. As we so often say, we never cease to be amazed at how such a small people has been able to leave such a profound and lasting mark on the world. And this school, its founding and its present, is such amazing proof of that.
We couldn’t finish these introductory words without again thanking the Archives and the Museum of the Vizcaínas, and their directors, for the kindness they showed us when preparing these two amazing videos. Nor can we leave without highlighting the spirit of those Basque founders, merchants, and businessmen that is still felt at that school. We’re sure it’s felt in many different ways, but perhaps the most notable is in the care with which the documents and objects have been treated for more than two and a half centuries. That has meant the archives and the museum can today be open as sources of top-level historical and scientific information.
Independencia in the Vizcaínas school: a brief look at the other side of History. From the Historical Archives.
Ana Rita Valero, director of the Historical Archives at the Vizcaínas School
Mexican researcher and academic, with a degree in Ethnohistory from the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH), and a Master’s in History and Ethnohistory from the Postgraduate School at ENAH, and PhD in Anthropology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She is part of the Center for Research and Higher Studies at the National Science and Technology Council (CONACYT). Her areas of research include iconography, codices, and colonial manuscripts. She is a member of a number of diverse institutions, such as the Royal Hispanoamerican Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters (RAHA); the Mexican Academy of Doctors of Human and Social Sciences; and the Mexican Academy of Anthropological Sciences (AMCA). She is the director of the José María Basagoiti Noriega Historical Archive at the Colegio de San Ignacio de Loyola Vizcaínas School, where the school’s historical records are kept, from its founding to the present, as well as being its own museum.
Mexican National Independence, remnants at the Vizcaínas Museum
Lizzet Armenta, curator of the Museum of the Vizcaínas
With a degree in restoration de the ENCRyM at the INAH and a Master’s in Art Studies from the Ibero-American University.
She has worked as a professional restorer at the National Chapultepec Castle History Museum, the National Anthropology Museum, and the El Carmen Museum. Since 2019, she is the curator of the Museum at the Colegio de San Ignacio de Loyola Vizcaínas School. Her research has focused on museum documentation procedures as well as a tool for preserving knowledge about the materials and techniques of the art.
The Bicentennial of the Independence of the New World Republics series is a project of the Euskadi Munduan Assocaition, the Limako Arantzazu Euzko Etxea, the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aránzazu of Lima, and the Editorial Archives of Oiga Magazine.