Monday, September 17, 2007

Statues of Querétaro: The Horse He Rode In On

One of the great heroes of Mexican independence, who we've mentioned here before, is Doña Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez - known by the title "La Corregidora" - who, in what amounts to a historical double-negative, exposed the secret that the secret revolutionary plot had been exposed. Another way of putting it is that she meddled in her husband's affairs, disobeyed his orders and gossiped out of turn. It's easy to see why she's a national heroine here.

But gossip only does so much to save the country. Imagine: it's 1810. The telegraph, telephone and internet haven't been invented yet, nor has the internal combustion engine. You've got important dish to get to the rebels in Dolores Hidalgo over 50 miles away, but you're under lock and key in Querétaro. Also, you're a woman who favors heavy, ruffled ankle-length skirts. What now?

Enter Ignacio Perez, mayor of Querétaro, rebel sympathizer and horseman extraordinare. Acting as Paul Revere to Ortiz's Robert Newman, Perez rode to Dolores and alerted the rebels that their plot had been uncovered. The rebels decided to declare war immediately, thus hastening their execution as traitors. Eleven years later, Mexico was an independent country.

Paul Revere's horse most likely was named "Brown Beauty". The name of Perez's horse, alas, is lost to history, despite the fact that he could be considered one of the fathers of the Mexican nation. Even Ignacio Perez is largely forgotten. Just about every stationary object in Querétaro is named for the Corregidora, whereas all Perez has is this life-size statue of himself astride his faithful mount, What's-his-name, plopped down on a traffic island on the edge of the Centro Historico. Right in the middle of Corregidora Street.  Adding insult to injury, he's facing the wrong way - unless the statue commemorates his slinking back into Querétaro a few days later.

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