Celebrating Mexico’s Hero: Vicente Guerrero

This month, we will be celebrating 205 years of Mexico’s independence.  The celebrations in honor of this day, which happens yearly on September 16, take place not only on this day but during the entire month.  We decorate towns and businesses in colors of our flag, organize fiestas, celebrations, and special events dedicated to the occasion.  You can be sure, there will be quite a bit of celebrating here at Capella Ixtapa as well!

In Guerrero, we feel especially proud during these festivities, because we proudly carry a name of a local hero who took an important part in the battle for independence of Mexico and the civil rights – Vicente Guerrero.  While we are getting ready for the upcoming Independence Day celebrations, I would like to use this occasion and share a piece of history with you, a story about our hero Vicente.


Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña was born on August 10, 1782, in the small village of Tixla in Guerrero.  He was of humble origins; his father  Pedro Guerrero was an Indigenous, and his mother, Guadalupe Saldaña, was an African slave.  He worked in his hometown when the War of Independence begun in 1810.  He joined the revolt against Spain along with the rebel leader, General Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.  When Morelos was assassinated in 1815 by the Spaniards, Guerrero became Commander-in-Chief.

He made a deal with Spanish General Agustin de Iturbide, who proposed that the two join forces under what we refer to as the “El Plan de Iguala.”  This plan originally gave civil rights only to Indians but not to African Mexicans.  Guerrero refused to sign the plan in that form and demanded equal rights for African Mexicans and those of mixed heritage as well.  They incorporated Clause 12, which read: “All inhabitants . . . Without distinction of their European, African or Indian origins are citizens . . . With the full freedom to pursue their livelihoods according to their merits and virtues.”

As the history books state, Iturbide and Guerrero finally agreed that Mexico would be an independent constitutional monarchy; class distinctions should be abolished among Spaniards, Creoles, Mestizos and Indians; and Catholicism would be the state religion.  Iturbide was named Emperor of Mexico by Congress on 27 September 1821.  Though, when Iturbide’s policies supported the interests of Mexico’s wealthy landowners through exploitation of the poor and working classes, Guerrero turned against him.

Afterward, Guerrero served in a three person “Junta” that governed the then independent Mexico from 1823-24, until the election that announced Guadalupe Victoria as the first president of Mexico.  As head of the “People’s Party,” Guerrero called for public schools, land title reforms, and other programs of a liberal nature.

He was elected the president of Mexico in 1829.  As president, Guerrero went on to champion racial and economic equality.  He was the second president of Mexico and the first to come from working class background.  He is also the Americas’ first black and native president.  Guerrero abolished slavery on September 16, 1829 (40 years before Lincoln did).  In the end, he was betrayed by a group of reactionaries, and was executed on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1831.

From this summarized overview of life and actions of Vicente Guerrero, I hope you can see why we call him a national hero.  He is known as one of the leading revolutionary generals of the Mexican War of Independence, for his political discourse promoting equal civil rights for all Mexican citizens and has been described as the “greatest man of color” ever to live.  The state of Guerrero proudly carries his name, as well as several towns in Mexico.

¡Viva Mexico!

Discovering The Indigenous Cultures of Mexico


Mexico is culturally one of the richest countries in the world.  The ancient cultures of Mexico have given us a remarkable heritage.  I love to lear about the indigenous cultures of Mexico can’t seem to get enough stories and facts about their world, habits, findings and lifestyle.

I’ve heard about the Xihuacan Museum and pyramid at the Soledad de Maciel Archaeological Site in Petatlán, a small town near Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, but never had the chance to visit in person, until now.  Capella Ixtapa Personal Assistant Andrés was kind enough to organize a tour for me, and I couldn’t wait to experience it in person!

The tour guide explained that the first inhabitants in the Soledad de Maciel area were the Nahuas in the Pre Classic period (2500 BC to 200 AD).  Some of the most important Mesoamerican civilizations were of Nahua ethnicity, including the Toltec and Aztec cultures, as well as the Tepaneca, Acolhua, Tlaxcaltec, Xochimilca, and many others.  Today there are approximately 600,000 indigenous people living in Guerrero, which is about 20% of the total population of the state.  When visiting Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and close by towns, pay attention to the language spoken by locals – it is very common to hear native languages spoken on the street.  I was amazed to hear that there are more than 20 different native languages spoken in the area, but the principal one spoken is Náhuatl.

Archaeologists believe that the Soledad de Maciel area reached its peak during the Epiclassic period (650-900 AD).  During that time, the site was supposedly one of the largest and most important ceremonial centers of agricultural and religious rites and was a regional seat of power.  Besides the pyramid, which is being excavated at the moment, they also discovered a ball game court, along with other Pre-hispanic monuments, and items that you can see at the Xihuacan Museum.  The museum currently showcases more than 800 Pre-hispanic pieces, such as figurines, obsidian vases, works in shell, copper axes, bell necklaces and ceramics.  Among the most remarkable ancient objects is a large, circular stone carved with the name of “Xihuacan” which is the native Náhuatl word for the geographical area of Petatlán during the Pre-hispanic period.


The archeological site is fairly new and the excavations aren’t finished yet, but nevertheless, I find it amazing that part of the history of this amazing culture lays so close to my town.  There is so much more to learn about the Nahuas and indigenous cultures of Mexico, and I will be returning to the site to learn more soon!

Xihuacan Site Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  There is no cost for entry.  For more information and tours please contact Capella Ixtapa Personal Assistant at pa.ixtapa@reservations.com.

Photos by: Margaret Reid