The Tricentennial of the Founding of Chihuahua

César Lozano Díaz

The Tricentennial of the Founding of Chihuahua

The Tricentennial of the Founding of ChihuahuaWhat used to be the old mining town of Real de Minas de San Francisco de Cuellar is now the modern day city of Chihuahua and this year it is celebrating the 300th anniversary of its founding. The celebration will include lectures about the city's history, heroes, monuments, legends and many other important events that have taken place here over the last 300 years. This year you can learn about the events that have shaped Chihuahua, a place that has seen many families flourish in the middle of the desert.

Mexico's rich, illustrious history has been molded and altered in this city on several occasions, and many acts of heroism have taken place here, events which make the country proud even to this day. Founded only 300 years ago, Chihuahua is still a relatively youthful city, which can be seen in its vitality. Even though it has a short life, it already has a very rich and diverse history.

The Tricentennial of the Founding of ChihuahuaTo recount a short list of the most important events that took place in Chihuahua, we could begin on the 12th of October, 1709, when Captain Antonio Deza y Ulloa issued a decree to establish the village of Real de Minas de San Francisco de Cuellar, the first formal record of the existence of Chihuahua. The town hall was officially appointed as San Felipe El Real de Chihuahua on the 21st of December, 1718, and was the first and only one in the region.

Despite the fact that Chihuahua was the most isolated area in the country and the independence movement had not yet reached here, 23 leaders of the insurgent rebellion were sentenced to be executed in Chihuahua in April, 1811. The remains of 19 of them still rest in the state.

The Tricentennial of the Founding of ChihuahuaOn July 30th, of the same year, Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the leader of the revolution of independence, known as the country's founding father, was executed in front of a firing squad in Chihuahua after being held captive for 3 months in one of the towers of Our Lady of Loreto church. His headless corpse was buried in the presbytery of the San Antonio de Padua chapel, where it lay for 11 years.

In 1823, the village of San Felipe el Real had its status elevated to that of a city and was renamed Chihuahua. During August, of that same year, the remains of Hidalgo, Allende and Aldama were exhumed from their graves and taken to Mexico City.

The Tricentennial of the Founding of ChihuahuaIn the attempt to protect himself from the French intervention in Mexico, President Benito Juarez arrived in Chihuahua on October 12th, 1864 and set up the presidency at city hall in what is now the Museum of Republican Loyalty. Consequently, Chihuahua became the capital of the Mexican Republic.

The Tricentennial of the Founding of ChihuahuaAs you can see, Chihuahua has played an important role in the history of Mexico and to commemorate the 300th anniversary of its founding, there will be several events held throughout the year. There'll be street plays, art and photography exhibitions, seminars, sporting events, film shows and regional food tasting, among many other interesting activities on offer.

So if you happen to be in Chihuahua in 2009, don't forget to check the city's calendar for event listings because there will probably be something interesting taking place that you won't want to miss. Happy birthday Chihuahua!

Written byr César Lozano Díaz