The Story behind: El Angel de la Indepencencia

Angel 1El Angel de la Independencia also known as the Columna de la Independencia is located in downtown Mexico City on a roundabout over Paseo de la Reforma.

It is one of Mexico’s most recognizable symbols; a symbol of Mexican freedom.

In 1902, President Porfirio Diaz commissioned the construction of the Angel as a monument at beginning of the centennial to Mexican War of Independence.

Watch a video about the Monument

Angel 2First inaugurated on September 16th 1910 it was a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Mexico’s Independence.

In 2010 it will once again be a place of celebration and remembering the important historical event that is the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence battle.

There are four statues around the base of the 118 feet tall column. Those statues represent Peace, War, Law and Justice.

The column is also adorned with eagles and coat or arms and two rings with the names of the 8 heroes of the Independence.

LeonAt the base or main base, facing Centro, is a bronze statue of a lion and a child. It represents innocence and strength of youth during War but passivity during Peace.

There is a group of marble statues of the main heroes of Independence, representing Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Don José María Morelos y Pavon, Vicente Guerrero, Don Francisco Javier Mina.

Additionally, two female figures accompanied by Miguel Hidalgo. These two figures represent history, holding a book and home country, holding a laurel.

Victoria AladaAtop the column sits a golden angel figuring holding laurels and broken chains. These are symbols of victory and the abolition of slavery respectively.

The golden angel is homage the ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’. It is also known as Nike is a Greek symbol of triumph.

In 1929 an eternal flame was added to honor the war heroes. The remains of 12 heroes of the Independence were later stored after the monument was remade into a mausoleum.

These are: Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Don José María Morelos y Pavon, Vicente Guerrero, Don Francisco Javier Mina, Don Nicolas Bravo, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, Mariano Matamoros, Mariano Jimenez, Vicente Guerrero, Leona Vicario, Andres Quintana Roo.

JusticiaThe monument suffered some damage during an earthquake on July 28, 1957 when the sculpture of the Winged Victory fell to the ground and broke into several pieces.

Restorations lasted more than a year and the monument was officially reopened on September 16, 1958. Another earth earthquake struck on September 19, 1985, however there was no damage to the El Angel.

The view from the balcony atop the column is magnificent. You can see Reforma Street, the Castillo of Chapultepec, Torre Mayor and the horse tower. In 1999 it was renamed Torre del Angel however it is commonly called El Angel.

MonumentoJust months before the Mexican bicentennial ceremony begins, preparations are already underway.  On June 1, 2010, Mexican President Felipe Calderon held the celebration for the exhumation of the fallen heroes of the Mexican war for Independence.

The remains of the 12 heroes were taken from the Angel of Independence to the Chapultepec Castle.

Nine urns containing the remainings were removed from El Angel monument.

CeremoniaThe ceremony included awarding them the highest military honors and a funeral procession in military.

The remains were paraded in glass caskets and promptly taken to a laboratory where they would be examined to verify the identities and ensure that they are being well conserved.

After the examination is complete the remains will be displayed at National Palace, Chapultepec Castle starting in August.

Watch a video about the Ceremony

Video about the Monument: El Angel de la Independencia