Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was a Mexican Catholic priest. On September 16, 1810, Father Hidalgo rang the church bell to announce revolution against the Spanish.
Indians and mestizos marched with Hidalgo and captured major cities but were halted at the gates of the capital.
Spanish troops checked Hidalgo’s forces near Mexico City ending two months of lurid battles and massacres. For the next nine weeks Royalist forces hounded the Mexican insurgents and eventually scattered the rebels. Hidalgo became a fugitive and headed for the northern frontera, apparently hoping to escape into the United States or to stage a counter-attack from a remote base. Spanish troops intercepted him and Catholic authorities happily stripped him of his ecclesiastical protections. Hidalgo died before a firing squad in Chihuahua in the summer of 1811 but the forces he had released would ravage Mexico for decades to come. Mexico gained its independence in 1821.