Mexico to dust off, examine war hero bones

Thu May 20, 2010 8:19pm EDT
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By Miguel Angel Gutierrez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is dusting off urns containing skulls and bones of the country's Independence War heroes to try to confirm their identities decades after the remains were stored in a Mexico City monument.

Soldiers will remove the urns from a mausoleum within the monument on May 30 and carry them through the Mexican capital in a procession before handing the bones over to forensic anthropologists.

Historians have long questioned the listed identities of eight Independence War fighters whose remains were locked away along with those of the war's most famous hero, Miguel Hidalgo and three other decorated heroes.

As Mexico celebrates the bicentennial of its independence from Spain, the government has agreed to let anthropologists examine the bones so they can be properly labeled, briefly put on display to the public, and returned to the mausoleum.

Fed up with Spain dumping its financial burdens on Mexico, including its use of the colony to cover its debts from a war with Napoleonic France, Mexicans began a revolt that turned into a bloody 11-year struggle for independence.

The remains of 12 fighters named as war heroes -- Hidalgo among them -- were quickly buried in poorly constructed tombs in Mexico City's giant Metropolitan Cathedral in 1823.


Decades later, following Mexico's 1910-20 Revolution, the bones were moved to the towering Angel of Independence monument that commemorates Mexico's liberation from Spanish colonial rule and have remained there ever since.   Continued...