21 January 2010

The Stelae of Miguel Hidalgo

Recently my friend Benjamín Arredondo ("El Bable") asked me to locate the two "Cabezas de Águila" in Irapuato because he is preparing a blog on Mexico's Bicentenario which he will publish very soon. The cabezas de águila (eagles' heads) that he was referring to are markers called "estelas" in Spanish from the Latin "stelae" meaning "marker". Stelae are upright stone slabs or columns that mark roads or boundaries. In this case they mark the route of Padre Miguel Hidalgo, the Father of Mexican Independence from where the fight for Mexican Independence began in Dolores Hidalgo on September 16, 1810, to the place where Padre Hidalgo was executed in front of a Spanish firing squad in Chihuahua, Chihuahua on July 30, 1811. The estelas are made from a column of brick or stone and are topped by the sculpture of an eagle's head. The eagle has a banner streaming from his beak declaring "Libertad".

In the year 1960 the president of Mexico, Adolfo López Mateos, invited the populace to suggest an appropriate manner to mark the route of Padre Hidalgo in celebration of 150 years of Mexican independence from Spain. As a result, the estelas were adopted and the eagles heads were sculpted by Tomás y José Chávez Morado at the School of Fine Arts of the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Originally there were 260 of these estelas made and they were placed along the route in ten states. In addition to being topped by the head of an eagle the estelas are marked with a plaque that says "Ruta de Hidalgo 1810 -1811". Most of the estelas are still in place but some have been moved and some have been vandalized. Many have been lovingly cared for but others have been mostly ignored. Irapuato is honored to have two estelas because Padre Hidlago came here twice. Since I am into sketching right now I made a sketch of one of the Irapuato estelas which you can see below. This estela can be found on Avenue Guerrero near the Centro de Salud. I also included a map that shows the locations of both Irapuato estelas. It is interesting to note that when the estelas were placed they were at the very edge of town at the northern and southern terminus. The city has grown tremendously since then and so now they are more or less rather centrally located.

Note: I sign my sketches "BOGI" which is what my wife Gina calls me. She pronounces it BOH-jee. It stands for "Bob & Gina". (Click on images to enlarge)


Calypso said...

All this wordsmithing and an artist to boot - very impressive mi Renaissance Amigo!

Julie D. said...

I like that sketch ... can I use it some time (with proper link and credit, of course)?

Bob Mrotek said...

Calypso you are too kind :)

Julie D. you can use anything of mine that you want. I am just surprised that anyone would want it. You made my day :)

Generacion Googleinstein said...


Julie D. said...


Unknown said...

Cool Bob! I don't know if you know but, going to Yuriria and just after you climb up the hill in el Valle de Santiago. To the left of it, getting close to Hoya de
Álvares. There is another eagle head. Completely vandalized. It is really sad to see the lack of respect for what other people paid with their life so we can have the liberty that we want. Can you imagine someone vandalizing the heads of the presidents in the U.S.? I can't remember the name of the mountain but, what a lack of respect that would be.

Nice post Bob and great sketch by the way.

Suzanne said...

There are a few of these here in SMA, near the glorieta on the salida Celaya and so far I think they are in good shape still. Thank you for the story of these, I always wondered.

beautfiful drawing (painting?) also, very nice

John Ward said...

Beautiful drawing Bob!
I've seen one of these in Atotonilco in front of the Iglesia too.

El Bable said...

Hello Bob!

Wait to see al the information I'm having now about the Cabezas de Aguila, some has an incredible story... soon you all will have those stories!


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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.