Mexico Trek!   Trekkers DISPATCH: September 8 Shawn's Log

The US Invades Mexico — Read all about it!!!

Monument to the Ninos HeroesIn our last update Monica wrote about our visit to Chapultepec Park (September 9, "The Flying Men of Mexico"). It’s an oasis of trees and lush vegetation in this sea of concrete that is Mexico City. Something we got to see that day that she didn’t write about is a beautiful monument we visited that is very significant for Mexicans. Actually they are six towering monuments which are dedicated to "Los Niños Heroes.

The US went to war with Mexico in the late 1840s. The Niños Heroes were boys who were studying at a military school when the US invaded Mexico City in 1848. Instead of surrendering, these children wrapped themselves in the Mexican flag and threw themselves from the rooftop of the Academy. The Academy is at the top of the hill behind the monument.

The US raises the American flag after taking Independence Hill in Monterey, Mexico - September 22The attitude of those young people reflects that of many Mexicans of the time who would have rather died fighting than give in to the vicious American attack. In the end, on February 2, 1848, the Mexicans were forced to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The result was that the US took HALF of the Mexican territory and made it part of the US. Only 150 years ago the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas were part of Mexico!

My host brother, Hugo, told me once that the thing he most disliked about Americans was an image he had in his mind of a painting depicting the American flag hanging over the Palacio Nacional. The Palacio Nacional is the main government building in Mexico City, which is on the main plaza (The Zocalo). (You can read more about the Palacio in "A Visit to the Palace," September 4. You can read more about the Zocalo in "Aztec dancing, Aztec ruins, modern day cops," August 22.)

Mexican War PosterBy one account, 1,177 Americans died in the war, 12,866 Mexicans died. It is no wonder that present day Mexicans might still feel a bit of resentment towards their powerful neighbors to the north; for me as an American, that might be like seeing the Soviet flag hanging over the White House.

The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo was signed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a site that is significant for many other reasons as well. Monica and I got to visit the Basilica as well as the Monument to the Niños Heroes. You can read about it in Monica’s story in this update, "Come See the Mircale! Our Lady of Guadalupe"

You can read the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo if you’d like.

September 13 and 14 (1998) on PBS stations there is a documentary on the Mexican American War!


Related Dispatches: 
Shawn - The US Invades Mexico - Read all about it!!!

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