Josefa – the Mother of Mexico Mother, the Mother of Us All.

Introduction.

We started calling her La Corregidora when her husband, Jose Miguel Dominguez, was made Corregidor in Mexico, which is a high political office, kind of like your mayor or governor or something. Charles IV was still King1 in Spain, ruler of the Empire, but everyone knew who was really in charge in Mexico; it was the gachupines,2 which is what we called them; it means the ones who wear the spurs. These claimed, not only to have pure Spanish blood, unmixed with the rest of us; but also, to be not even diminished by birth upon American soil. They were born in Europe, in Spain, on the Iberian peninsula, hence the name, peninsulares, of which they continually reminded us. The gachupines controlled everything in Mexico; the political levers of power, the key positions in the military; they had the best haciendas. Josefa, of course, hated us calling her La Corregidora; and she’d curse us, but with a twinkle in her eye that made it kinda fun; and it was fun, and she made it fun, in a time when there wasn’t much fun to be had. And then, when things got really bad, and we saw the pain growing behind her eyes; we stopped, for awhile, because, well, you’ll see, we’d come to adore her.

Chapter 1.

Josefa was born in 1768,3 in Valladolid Mexico; and a family of three became a family of four; Mama, Papa, big sister Maria, and little Josefa. Four years later, papa passed away, for some reason or another having to do with his job in the army; and the family of four became a family of three; Mama, big sister Maria, and me. And when I was six, mama called us into her room; and she was smiling, but she’d been crying; and sadness and love filled the whole room with a kind of quietness. And to my sister she said, you must learn, you must grow your mind, because the inside you, is the true you, and, so, much, bigger, than the outside you, which people only see, and try to categorize you by, and decide things about you, and limit you. You mustn’t let them. And you must see that your little sister is educated too. And to me she said, I love you; and she said, give your love to others; and you must learn too, and listen to your sister. I said, we both said, ok Mama. And so, around 1776, the family of three became a family of two, just about the time their northern neighbor, the United States, declared independence from colonial England.

In accord with the laws of the time, Maria became custodian of Josefa; and did everything she could to see to her education, teaching her what she herself could learn, and employing relatives and friends to teach what they could. And in-between bouts of learning, Josefa did what children do. Gravitating to the littler persons in any situation, and, finding eyes that bounced back the twinkling in her own; soon they were at play in that world of wonder, common to the luckiest of humanity, children, where all things are possible, and great exploits achieved with sturdy companions acquired just that morning, blessedly free from the inculcation of adult fears and prejudices. We don’t really know her precise experience, but it is apparent that by the time she entered college, she’d already had a well developed camaraderie with mestizos, mulattoes, criollos and indios, and a growing disdain for the rigid caste system that had been the obsession of Spain for centuries, and which she was only just beginning to discover.

Chapter 2.

It was Maria who found the school, known as Colegio de las Vizcaínas, and urged her little sister Josefa to apply. The school was the dream child of three wealthy Basques who were touring New Spain a generation previous. They established the institution as a support for, in the founders’ words, “unlucky women”, that is, the orphans the widows, the bereaved. It was fully funded so as to be free from restrictions by church and state. After decades of difficulties, regulatory hurdles and construction challenges, at last, the institution opened just about the year Josefa was born.4 Maria urged her sister to apply. We are told that she did so, writing the application eloquently in her own hand, and was welcomed into the College. Then the day came when the unique institution was being toured by a group of prominent townspeople, one of which was a rising young attorney named Miguel Dominguez, four years a widower, and father of three.

Some who tell the story, say, there must have been love at first sight, another success in a long line for Cupid. But others suggest that their union resembles the more careful, and rarer, craft of Destiny. For Miguel, this was not first love. For him, life was wounded, almost mortally, by bereavement; and then weighted by single parenthood. Josefa, for her part, contained more privations and pluck than most people thrice her age. But love happened. Miguel sought the appropriate permissions; together they followed the prescribed courtship; and were married. It was 1791, the same year Haiti began to rebel against colonial France.

Chapter 3.

One tries to imagine the love the new bride brought to those three motherless children. She loved them from both sides; as a mother, bringing to them what none of them had had enough of; and as a child, who, like them, had lost a mother way too soon. She, who had felt partial and incomplete, seeing these mother-deprived children, determined they would never feel again what she knew too well. And when step sisters and brothers arrived, the love remained the same. Such distinctions didn’t make sense in the Dominguez household. And so it was when schoolmates and neighborhood playmates arrived, Mestizos and mulattoes, criollos and indios, the well of welcome never faltered and never ran dry. The endless distinctions made by government and society were lost in the ocean of love and respect in the Dominguez household.

Miguel marveled. Good fortune had taken him by surprise. He’d surged ahead of his peers in the study of law, and pursued the beckoning career. He’d cultivated the analytics and the pragmatism praised by his superiors, and the future appeared bright, graspable. And then it all went, as onto a sandbar, when his wife became unexpectedly ill; and then, momentarily recovering from the sandbar, it all wrecked on a reef when she died; and his little lifeboat, with his three littler children, began to be in danger of complete disintegration in the unstopping waves of everyday life. His mentors urged him to buck up, to endure, to focus on his career and the future, which he tried; but three sets of eyes undid him every evening, and again in the morning. And then Josefa arrived, and, somehow, the family boat was righted, and somehow reorienting itself, it found a guiding star again, after endless months in foggy doldrums, and, catching a fresh wind, he heard the sound of whipping sails, and looked up, and there they were, billowing full, and those flags he’d picked out himself, but long forgotten, were waving at the top of those sails, and the ship held a course, and began to pick up speed, and the smell of salt was in the air, and he felt the rudder, and looking down found that the wheel was in his hands once again, and he could steer, and it felt good, and he set the course, and it was straight and true. Looking forward, he relished, as if for the first time, the rhythm of the sea and sky, the swells and the spray, and hearing the sounds of the children laughing, he looked back behind him, and saw Josefa in the middle of it all, and turning forward, squinting into the sun through the salty sea spray, or was it tears, he looked to the horizon, while his mind remained behind him; and he knew he’d be devoted to her for the rest of his life.

Chapter 4.

The growing family navigated forward into the sun, counting the passage of time by the arrival of children. The family of five became a family of six; and then the family of six became a family of seven, and then eight. Miguel’s star ascended in the legal community, while the growing family spread the warmth of a new morning across the valley of Valladolid. Mestizos felt it. Mulattoes felt it. Everyone who came into contact with Josefa’s influence felt it. All were respected without distinction, Indios and corillos were loved and treated the same. All were welcome in the Dominguez home with equal respect and equal love; the children all learning that every person was uniquely valuable; to be respected and to be loved. And so they continued forward, a lively family, with a structure completely undermining the rigid caste system of late 18th century New Spain. Then, shortly after the family of nine had become a family of ten, Miguel came home with the news that he’d received commission to be Corregidor in Queretaro. And so, shortly thereafter, the new Corregidor’s family set sail to Queretaro, bringing with them, the template of the future of Mexico. It was 1802 and Europe was, for the time, at peace.

Chapter 5.

Queretaro, a prominent seat of government, was a city bustling with the excitement of a new century, when the family arrived. They quickly them embraced the social scene and soon their home was opened for literary meetings, such as were in vogue in those days. People would gather in homes in the evenings to read and discuss the latest philosophical and political writings of that movement that has come to be known as the Enlightenment. All men are created equal, they’d read; endowed with unalienable rights, they’d marvel; among which are life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They’d read satires on the divine rights of kings; and be scandalized and laugh, and return for more the next meeting. They were exciting days, befitting a new century, and the Dominguez household proved an unembarrassed host to the latest thinking. Did the philosophers decry the caste system? So had the Dominguez household for as long as anyone could remember. Were the political scientists opposed to slavery? So were Miguel and Josefa since the beginning. Did the new humanitarians advocate equal respect to all? No one could remember an instance where they experienced anything different from Josefa, Miguel, or their children. Then Miguel’s first official report as Corregidor was published, a review of the working conditions in the region. It decried the working conditions of the indios and mulattoes, and argued for improvements. The report earned the irritation of the gachupines; but elevated the household to celebrity status among the common people.

Chapter 6.

Worldwide it was an exciting era. People marveled at the advances in the sciences, and everywhere, things were changing. That new form of government, a republic, which the recently independent United States had adopted, and which few people thought would last, had just elected their third president from the populace. Although the election was marvelously raucous, nevertheless, power transferred yet again, without bloodshed; it was breathtaking. Haiti had declared independence from France and wrested the abolition of slavery from Napoleon; and people began to wonder what would become of Spain’s colonial empire, the biggest of them all.

But as the decade unfolded, news from Europe turned darker. Napoleon, needing money for the progress of his empire, refocused upon Hispanola, reinstituting slavery in Haiti, double-crossing Tourissant and exiling him until death. And then the Louisiana Purchase was announced which brought almost as much consternation in Mexico as it did joy in the United States. In most people’s eyes, Louisiana had not been Napoleon’s to sell, having been a Spanish possession for almost half a century. And then it came out that the Spanish monarch, in a secret deal, had ceded the Louisiana territory, bigger than all of Mexico, to Napoleon, who then, just three weeks later, to finance his wars, sold it for cash to the United States. If ever a single transaction could illustrate the difference in elevation between a monarch with divine rights and the people, the pawns in the game, this was it. And just what were Napoleon’s designs worldwide, and just how weak was the Spanish monarchy?

That weakness became painfully apparent a year later, in 1804, and then more so in 1805 as a new tax system, known as The ‘Consolidacion De Vales Reales’, was implemented in the colonies. The Spanish Empire, at one time the wealthiest in the world, was in desperate need of cash. The system essentially confiscated money off the top of religious institutions, which were the primary financial institutions of Mexico at the time, there being no banks or other financial management institutions. The new viceroy rigorously carried out the Crown’s commands. Multiple protests arose as the system seriously moved much of the country’s industry towards bankruptcy. Miguel Dominguez added his support to the chorus of protests, for which he was deposed from office and threatened with legal investigation as retaliation. The next eighteen months were difficult for the family with ten children but were much supported by the kindness of family and friends. Then thee public out cry over the dismissal of the beloved Corregidor grew so great that Madrid ordered Miguel’s reinstatement with backpay. Miguel continued to work within the government for the public good; but it seems likely that at this time, Josefa, having seen what a government was willing to do to good people and a good family to conserve their power, began to be open to a new way forward.

Chapter 7.

Then in 1807, news arrived that the King of Spain, Ferdinand VII, had abdicated the throne under pressure. Napoleon, having already occupied much of Spain in his war against Portugal, had now forced the abdication, and installed his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, on the throne of the Spanish Empire. Mexico was in turmoil. Many were loyal to Ferdinand, especially as compared to a Bonaparte; but that loyalty implied a loyalty to the monarchical system, which others were against. Some supported the Bonapartes, mainly the gachupines, hoping to retain their chief positions in America. Still others thought that the time or independence was nearing and perhaps the new republican form of government should be tried in Mexico. Everyone with a philosophical opinion earlier in that decade, had a political opinion now. The literary circles turned political; many disbanded, and many went underground, and some began to plot the future.

Anxiety was high, and hardly a conversation was unpunctuated by a snarled curse upon the gachupines, and a spat boast of what one would do if only one could. Some proposed to defy Napoleon and claim Mexico for Ferdinand. Haiti was successful against France and they are smaller than us! they’d say. Others proposed independence from the whole colonial system, They did it in the United States, why can’t we here? they’d say.5 Plans developed, and then, with some turn of events, dissipated, and bore no fruit. Plots were discovered by the authorities, and disbanded, before any real action was taken, the movement remaining unborn. Other conspiracies advanced until leaders were arrested and the movement was aborted, and men cursed and spat but nothing changed. It seemed as if new plots would arise with the evening’s wine only to dissipate with the morning’s light, while Josefa watched and listened. The orphan, educated by force of will, the mother of 14 children who ran household and nurtured meetings, while rearing children and giving them life, was unimpressed.

Chapter 8.

By 1810, the meeting in Queretaro had gone underground as it sought to work out plans for the future. Josefa’s role in the meetings was increasing, while Miguel’s was diminishing, distancing himself; she to affect the outcome, he to provide political cover from his position as Corregidor. By this time, the meetings were changing locations frequently, so to elude detection by the authorities; sometimes held here, sometimes there, often adjacent to dance parties, so that the attendees could come and go among the partiers, and so remain inconspicuous, and their discussions inaudible, to any who might be watching.

By the Summer of 1810, it was decided that a new government was necessary, and that an interim junta should be announced to the people, a plan around which the populace could rally. Plans were made, assignments given and weapons collected and stored against that day. And then the date was set. It would be December 10, 1810, at the great fair, in San Juan de Los Lagos, where many people would be gathered.6

As August turned to September, news of investigations and arrests were arriving too frequently. It was as though the gachupines were closing in to suffocate yet another live birth, to drown yet another offspring of the people in the river of their own policies. Josefa could foresee it playing out in its terrible detail; another movement aborted, and the people still suffering, and she and her husband, and Hidalgo and Allende and all their friends, removed from the stage, leaving only a wish that others might find inspiration and arise, hopefully… hope, it was time that hope became action. Foreseeing the danger, Josefa arranged a secret signal with a trusted friend.

Chapter 9.

It was Thursday morning in Queretaro; overcast, humid and strangely hot, when a local priest received an urgent call to administer the last rites to someone stricken, unexpectedly, in the night. It would prove to be the death-bed confession of a co-conspirator. The priest’s eyes, closed with practiced piety, opened with details of the conspiracy, and widened with names of conspirators. His quickening pulse, shortened his breath, and turned his eyes, now impatient, upon the confessant. Promising, at last, the betrayer, a peaceful departure, the cleric, arose, and chose, his government over his God, and told the tale to the magistrate, which tale ran up the ladder, until orders came down, to the Corregidor, Miguel Dominguez, to arrest the named conspirators. Miguel, relieved to see his wife’s name was not on the list, but knowing it might be soon, and knowing his wife would likely join the others, quietly locked the room where Josefa was resting, and proceeded, as unobtrusively obstructively as possible, to go through the motions of investigating, and arresting, the names on that list, people he well knew.

Chapter 10.

It was early evening in Queretaro when Josefa arose and tried the door to the main house, and found it locked. Instinctively, she knew what this meant, and would not call out. In fact it may be important that others not know what she now knew. Listening intently to confirm that the house was empty, she moved swiftly to her desk and to write a message. Noticing newsprint lying nearby, the idea came upon her with a wry smile. Rapidly scanning the printed pages, she cut out words and letters until she had all she needed for her message. Then she poured her will into the message to the leader of their movement. She had not joined this movement to see no movement; she had not labored this hard to see the gachupines smother the movement; she had not lost a child yet; and not this day, not this child, not this woman.

She stepped into her hard heeled boots, lacing them up proper, found the prearranged spot in the room, then, stomping, hard, she waited the few seconds, stomped hard again, and then, after a few more seconds, stomped the last time. Letter in hand, she walked to the door, and took her seat, to wait. She knew it would not be long.

Chapter 11.

Ignacio Perez, who would pass as an old man now, was possessed with that courage that realizes there is less to lose with each passing year. He’d been the city jailer for years, had seen imprisonments and interrogations, had been disgusted by many of them, and had become and avid supporter of the liberation movement for Mexico, and a steadfast friend of Josefa and the conspirators; and he lived in the apartment directly below Josefa’s room. They had a prearranged signal, three knocks, and she needed him. He’d look up after the first knock, and with the second knock he’d be in motion; the third knock saw him booted and out the door. Josefa summoned.

At her door, giving a quiet counter knock, he looked down to see a letter slide beneath the door. Stooping to pick it up and arising, placing his ear to the door he heard Josefa’s voice. “To Hidalgo, in Dolores. You Must Hurry!” Ignacio took the letter to his horse, saddled and ready, and galloped out of town, thrust forth by her urgency. Josefa watched him from the window disappear into the night, offered a prayer, and sank to the floor in pained hope.

Chapter 12.

It was more than 60 miles from Queretaro to Dolores, mostly open country; and in those days, there were no lights, no mechanical transportation, no telegraph, just old Ignacio and his horse, and her message, and the stars. And as he rode and pondered the events of the night, he considered the swiftest way to get Josefa’s message to Hidalgo, and he recalled that two friends of independence, Allende and Aldama, were residing in a town about two thirds of the way from Queretaro to Dolores. If he rode as hard as he could to them, they could take the message on fresh horses to Hidalgo; and this would be the quickest path for Josefa’s message to Hidalgo. This became the plan; and early Saturday morning, September 15, 1810, an exhausted old jailer, Don Ignacio Perez, faithfully relayed the message to the trusted twosome. Making them aware of the circumstance and urgency of Josefa, the two were off within the hour, on fresh horses, to Dolores.

It was evening in Dolores, Saturday September 15, dark and dry and clear, such that the stars in the firmament seemed to beckon, when the two riders were seen approaching. Some accounts have Miguel Hidalgo already retired for the night. But whether retired and wakened, or already awake, we know that he was soon receiving Josefa’s message from the hand of trusted allies.

And now, dear reader, as we draw near in our story to a moment most significant in the history of a great people, the time of a country’s birth; let us be patient, for just the next chapter, as our narrative slows, down, time, that we might watch, a little more closely.

Josefa had memorialized her decision, and now was Hidalgo’s time.

Chapter 13.

Miguel Hidalgo’s attention would be captured immediately by the surprise arrival his close associates, Allende and Aldama, and especially by the anxious look upon their faces, and signs of a hard days ride. His look would become serious as he received the letter and heard the tale of the secret knock, the locked room and Ignacio’s ride. His sharp mind perceiving the locked room, meant not an arrest, not yet, but certainly a restriction by Miguel, no doubt for her protection, which meant Miguel knew something and was under pressure.

Opening the envelop his eyes falling upon the cryptically scripted words, smiling in his mind at her cleverness, and then his eyes ran across the words bearing the unforgeable spirit of Josefa. Her voice was unmistakeable. Her will was plain, as was his decision. He directed the church bells to be rung as usual the next morning, which would be Sunday.

And so the bells rang early that Sunday morning and the poor of the land gathered faithfully to Father Hidalgo.

Hidalgo stood patiently upon the steps of that old church in Dolores as the people gathered. He knew what Josefa willed; and he knew that he’d agreed; and he also knew that he was about to bring these people through a path of suffering, but into a new world. And as he waited for the last to find their places, the sun rose over the ridge beside them, and in the valley before them, the edge of night was swept back by the new morning sun, and the people stood bathed in the golden light.

And the he began, weeping. And, crying, he cried out, out from that place within, a world within deep and peopled with them, them, in front of him, them he’d loved, respected and taught, them right there in front of him, we, together for a long time now, together, cocooned as it were, facing one another, backs outward, backs to a world hard as the sun-baked sand, but faces facing faces, faces with eyes as deep as space, deep, knowing, sympathizing, empathizing. Backs to a stratified casted society, hearts cast in stone, unseeing unhumanity; faces to feelings, fun eyes and family, marriages and masses, birthdays and baptisms. Backs to back breaking labor of peasants, lashed hardened hopelessness, little payment and less future, but faces forward to industry and factories, profit and improvement, to learning and living and liberty.

It was a mystical moment, as though Destiny herself, stood among them. Inevitability had arrived, and Father Hidalgo’s message came forth, “My Children”, he began, “The time has come” he continued, and he spoke and pleaded, and prayed and begged, and a message poured forth, gritty, guttural, grito de Delores as it’s been known ever after, and out forth, out with that message and his hearer’s response, came a people, and, turning shoulder to shoulder, back to the governors, face to the future, that people, a new people, as one people, took their first steps and began to march towards Mexico City, marching into the future, marching into history, marching with Destiny, a new people, the Mexican People, born that very morning. It was September 16, 1810.

Chapter 14

That same day, but three days ride away, Josefa and Miguel looked up at an insistent pounding upon their door in Valladolid. It was the policia, with a warrant for Josefa’s arrest. “Senior Corregidor, the warrant is signed by the Viceroy himself; I warn you not to interfere.” Interfering, Miguel was arrested alongside his wife. Having thought he’d locked her into safety, Miguel looked at Josefa and despaired. Surely, he thought, the movement was aborted with so many friends arrested; and now, Josefa too; nothing he loved was to be spared. And so, he focused all his energy on rescuing his wife. Josefa however, remained silent; she alone knowing, in all of Valladolid, of the message secreted to Hidalgo of Dolores. And so, mind filled with that knowledge, she did the only thing left, which was to wait, waiting in hope, expectant, strengthened only with the trueness of their cause. Silent, she looked back at her inquisitors, they seeking one thing and she another, two trajectories that would, now, never intersect; they seeking information to kill a movement, she, silent, so that a movement might live.

Two days later, in a cell and confronted with news of an uprising in Dolores, Josefa held her peace. The more they demanded, the deeper was her quiet; but one imagines a momentary softening of the stern features of her sphinx-like face, imperceptible to her inquisitors, but not to those who knew her, affected by a growing warmth within, as the news of the revolution’s birth, found its place within her mind. Hope was being realized, and faith was turning to sight, and, bringing with it new sights and further sight, as new hopes sprang up, and a Daystar of certainty arose within her; and the light began to leak from her eyes, and her inquisitors looked upon her face, and her visage was triumphant.7

Chapter 15.

A year later, as the war of independence progressed, Miguel Hidalgo apprehended, arrested and about to be executed, would acknowledge regret for the carnage that the war unleashed that September morning, but not for the birth of the revolution, saying that it was his destiny,8 as though he felt carried along by a Power bigger than himself. 9 10 At this, Destiny nodded, almost imperceptibly, but held her peace.

11

The revolution, having begun, continued with a life of its own. Miguel and Josefa, interrogated separately, tried separately, were both acquitted, Miguel almost immediately12 but Josefa, about a month later, due to a lack of evidence of sedition.13 Josefa continued actively, although secretly, to support the revolution. Hidalgo led the revolution until his arrest and execution; when another priest, Jose Maria Morelos, took up the cause. Josefa followed his career with interest14, no doubt recognizing in him, a spiritual offspring of Hidalgo, with whom she shared a spiritual kinship, which things too she treasured in her heart. In 1814, Josefa was rearrested and transferred under heavy guard to Mexico City. It is then she said, “So many Soldiers to guard one poor woman?” and then, “But with my blood, I shall fashion a patrimony for my children!”, such words suggesting her complete consciousness of the mighty Powers in motion. There she was imprisoned in the Convent of Santa Theresa, released for a time due to ill health, and then transferred for reimprisonment to the convent of Santa Catalina de Sena, “considered more stringent than the previous,”15 16 18 19 and which she would later refer to as “her beloved prison.”

Chapter 16.

With the inevitably of destiny, the independence of Mexico was acknowledged by Spain in 1821. By this time, the political leadership of an exhausted Mexico had been assumed by Iturbide, who seeking glory, established a monarchy and not a republic, hailing himself lord of the realm, and spending great sums of the people’s money for the acknowledgement of his glory. Josefa’s role in the independence movement was publicly acknowledged and heralded. Iturbide invited her to join his court as a reward, but also by her presence to add a sense of legitimacy to his government. This she refused, considering the monarchy a betrayal of the values of the revolution.

And so she continued, after the war, supporting various causes for the improvement of the lives of the people, and advancement of good governance, while accepting no compromises.20

Chapter 17 conclusion.

So, you see amigos, that’s her story; she was always there, in the good days, and the bad days; in the beginning of the war and through the war; at the end of the war and after the war; she was always there, always, loving, believing, willing, intending. And then one day, when we were all occupied with the new country, and the politics, and the goings on, she just sort of passed away; and it was as though the world had stopped, and an age had passed, and we all just looked at one another, and a great parade came together21 and bore her along the great streets of Mexico. And her husband, the Corregidor, walked behind her bier, weeping inconsolably, and so their children.22 And, I guess you could say, her children have been following her ever since, that, even having passed on, La Corregidora is still leading the way. She saw us, our future, she believed in us, believes, She had set her gaze upon the future of her children, and would yield to nothing less, a glorious future, wherein all her children, all the children of Mexico, would enjoy liberty and dignity and be afforded respect and discover love and give love in their own ways. And her will pervades to this day, and her spirit is here, can you not feel it? spirit is guiding us to this day, high above any party or preference, pure and elevated, soaring and lifting us above our trials.

And so, you see, that’s why we call her La Corregidora, because that’s who she is; she corrected a lot of things, and she’s still correcting us. Heh heh, yeah, she hated it, us calling her that, but, if you’d seen that light in her eyes, you’d too know what she really wanted.

Conclusion.

And with that, Destiny smiled, and nodding receded into the heights, joining the Others, welcoming Josefa.

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Ortíz De Dominguez, Josefa (C. 1768–1829)23

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Footnotes

  1. Charles IV reigned from December 14, 1788 until his abdication March 19, 1808
  2. the ones who wear the spurs, a pejorative term for the peninsulares, the highest class in colonial Spain’s Mexico
  3. historians vary on this: Biography of Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez (1768-1829) the biography.us/en/ortiz…some historians have the year as 1765. This BBC article says April 19, 1773 Who was the Corregidora… ? The varying dates of her birth emphasize how unimportant it appeared to be, at the time.
  4. The college is still open today, serving about 25 students at any one time.
  5. ”Clandestine literary clubs sprang up, attracting restless or openly rebellious men. Flying every ideological flag, they hatched countless conspiracies, from liberating New Spain from Napoleon, to saving it for Ferdinand VII (the “rightful” Spanish king), to demanding outright independence. One near-miss revolt was scotched by Spanish Royalists, but a dozen more were floating on the wind, especially in the Bajío, where Hidalgo’s conspiratorial clique gathered.”Mexican War of Independence: Father Miguel Hidalgo’s Revolt, Diana Serra Cary. History.net
  6. “The Queretaro conspirators planned to announce their aims in December of 1810 at an annual fair held in the town of San Juan de Los Lagos north of Mexico City. Great crowds of people were expected to gather for the fair. The group hoped to broadcast their intentions to form a new government, rally he crowd to their cause, and march to Mexico Coty gathering supporters along the way.” The Mexican War of Independence. R. Conrad Stein. 2008
  7. “In pursuit of these they go to prison and death; tomorrow you will be a hero or an executed person; in this revolution is the loss of my freedom; but this sacrifice would not be sterile; because I know that you will send me in reply the cry of independence”
  8. “Following a trial, the key conspirators were convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad. Hidalgo was the last to die. He said he regretted the ‘rivers of blood’ he had unleashed, and admitted, ‘None of us thought anything of sacrificing what others had legitimately earned or inherited.’ But remorse for widows and orphans was one thing–recanting his sacred cause of independence from Spain and freedom for the poorest in the colony was another. To his final breath he swore he was destined to do exactly what he had done.” Diana Serra Cary, History.net Mexican War of Independence: Father Miguel Hidalgo’s Revolt
  9. “Soon his army met defeat at the hands of the Royalist Army. Later, Allende and Aldama were questioned about the looting, stealing and killing and they denied being part of it. Father Hidalgo did not; he claimed responsibility for what his army had done, saying, “May God have mercy on me!”Father Hidalgo’s Bittersweet Farewell, Latino Perspectives Magazine, Stella Pope Duarte
  10. ” the 98 days of his imprisonment in a tower, Father Hidalgo wrote messages of thanks on the walls of his cell, thanking his captors for their kindness. The morning of his execution, July 30, 1811, Father Hidalgo gave his jailers candy that he had hidden under his pillow, a bittersweet gesture of farewell to comfort his executioners, who were heartbroken over the task they had to perform. “ Father Hidalgo’s Bittersweet Farewell, Latino Perspectives Magazine, Stella Pope Duarte
  11. hr mss: In pursuit of these they go to prison and death; tomorrow you will be a hero or an executed person; in this revolution is the loss of my freedom; but this sacrifice would not be sterile; because I know that you will send me in response the cry of independence (González Obregón, 15 https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/genderlatam/database/PersonDetails.php?PeopleID=179 González Obregón, Luis, (c1952), Los procesos militar e inquisitorial del Padre Hidalgo y de otros caudillos insurgentes , (), Archivo General de la Nación (Mexico) In pursuit of these they go to prison and death; tomorrow you will be a hero or an executed person; in this revolution is the loss of my freedom; but this sacrifice would not be sterile; because I know that you will send me in reply the cry of independence So many soldiers pray to guard a poor woman, but with my blood I will build a heritage for my children.
  12. some say that this was due to his numerous endeavors supporting the people
  13. this separation judicially seems indicative of the separation politically that may have commenced in the days of the taxation. Their love never failed, although their paths diverged in time, and they ever remained loyal to one another and their people
  14. Josefa … was unwavering in her support of Hidalgo’s successors, the lawyer Ignacio Rayón in western Mexico and the priest-turned-general José María Morelos in the south. She wrote secretly to both from 1811 to late 1813, despite the high risk to herself, her children, and her husband.” Ortíz de Dominguez, Josefa (c. 1768–1829), Encyclopedia.com
  15. Biography of Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez. The Biography
  16. Ortíz De Dominguez, Josefa (C. 1768–1829), encylcopedia.com
  17. and “So many soldiers to guard a poor woman, but with my blood I will create a heritage for my children”17 “So many soldiers to guard a poor woman, but with my blood I will create a heritage for my children” Mexican Independence Day Quotes In Spanish: 11 Phrases To Commemorate ‘El Grito De Independencia’, Spt 16, 2020 Latin Times
  18. author’s note: here we may discern her consciousness of the power she was wielding, greater than anything the soldiers had in their hands
  19. She was imprisoned for over 10 years at the Convent of Santa Teresa, and subsequently at the Convent of Santa Caterina de Siena, though she never lost hope in the idea of a rebellion. Eleven years later, in 1821, Agustin Itubirde headed the country’s bid for independence, and was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico following year. Given the new political situation, Josefa Ortiz was released from captivity, and her commitment to Mexican independence was publicly acknowledged. Though she had regained her freedom, Josefa never declared herself to be in favour of the imperial regime because she didn’t consider it to be an alternative to the process of emancipation. As a result, she spent the ensuing years of her life giving her support to radical liberal groups. Josefa Ortiz died in the City of Mexico on 2nd March 1829, at the age of 61. Some historians have called her the Mother of the Mexican Homeland, for her efforts and dedication. Her mortal remains now lie in the Graveyard of Famous Citizens of Querétaro, where she is buried together with her husband.” https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/gabinetpostal/corregidora/?lang=en
  20. “Her health began to fail by 1827 and when she died on May 2, 1829, her distraught husband and children led an enormous procession to her “beloved prison,” the Convent of St. Catherine of Siena, where she was interred. Her grief-stricken husband survived Josefa by a little more than a year.”here
  21. here
  22. she entered the prestigious school and asylum for women, the Colegio de las Vizcaínas in Mexico City on May 30, 1789; married the distinguished government official, Miguel Dominguez, regularized in 1793; children: María Ignacia (b. 1792); J.M. Florencio (b. 1793); Mariano (b. 1794); M. Dolores (b. 1796); Miguel (b. 1797); M. Juana (b. 1799); M. Micaela (b. 1800); Remigio (b. 1801); M. Teresa (b. 1803); M. Manuela (b. 1804); M. Ana (b. 1806); J.M. Hilarion (b. 1807); M. Magdalena (b. 1811); M. del Carmen (b. 1812).https://66019b6b0313a0d1cbb1348c380c11ca.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

    Despite their numerous children and her husband’s high position in the royalist bureaucracy, both participated in a conspiracy in Querétaro to overthrow Spanish rule (1810); warned co-conspirators in neighboring Guanajuato, Father Miguel Hidalgo and militia Captain Ignacio Allende, that their plans to overthrow the viceregal government had been betrayed (September 14, 1810); arrested and imprisoned the day Hidalgo commenced the revolt against Spanish rule (September 16, 1810); released for lack of evidence of sedition (October 22, 1810); secretly continued to support the independence movement until arrested and taken to Mexico City under heavy guard (December 29, 1813); imprisoned in the Convent of St. Teresa (January 6, 1814); released due to serious illness (April 1814); resumed contacts with insurgents and rearrested (December 22, 1815); imprisoned in the Convent of St. Catherine of Siena until her release (June 17, 1817); after Mexico gained independence, deplored the seizure of power by ex-royalist Agustín Iturbide, who was crowned emperor (1822); refused to serve as “dame of honor” in the empress’ court; vindicated after Iturbide’s overthrow (1823); lived to see her husband’s elevation to the highest ranks of the executive and the judiciary in the early Republic of Mexico.

    “Ortíz de Dominguez, Josefa (c. 1768–1829) .” Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 16, 2020). https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ortiz-de-dominguez-josefa-c-1768-1829

By Timothy McCarthy

I love our World. I marvel at its Beauty. I am proud of our Peoples. I like to explore our world through the windows of world currencies. These are some of the stories of our world.

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