- Chapultepec Hill
- The Castle
- Mexican-American War and The Hero Children
- The Age of Maximilian
- Residence For Presidents
- The Castle Today
- Museum Features
Chapultepecmeans “Hill of the Grasshoppers” in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. The site of the castle was an important landmark to the Aztecs who inhabited Tenochtitlan, the ancient city which would later become known as Mexico City. The hill was located on an island in Lake Texcoco where the Mexica people made their home. According to legend, the other people of the region did not care for the Mexica and sent them to the island, then known for dangerous insects and animals, but the Mexica ate these pests and made the island their own. After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, the Spanish drained Lake Texcoco to control flooding issues. On the grounds near the castle, at the base of the hill in the park near the Niños Heroesmonument, there are ancient glyphs carved into the stone during the reign of the Aztecs. One of the rulers mentioned is Montezuma II.
After the fall of the Aztecs in 1521, the hill was largely left alone. A Spanish viceroy, Bernardo de Gálvez, ordered a home built there in 1785, but he left and the place was eventually auctioned off. The hill and assorted structures upon it eventually became the property of the municipality of Mexico City. In 1833, the new nation of Mexico decided to create a military academy there. Many of the older structures of the castle date from this time.
In 1846, the Mexican-American War began. In 1847, the Americans approached Mexico City from the east. Chapultepec was fortified and placed under the command of General Nicolas Bravo, a former president of the Mexican republic. On September 13, 1847, the Americans needed to take the castle to proceed, they did, then secured the fortress. According to legend, six young cadets remained at their posts to fight off the invaders. One of them, Juan Escutia, wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and leaped to his death from the castle walls, denying the invaders the honor of removing the flag from the castle. These six young men are immortalized as the Niños Heroes or “Hero Children” of the war. According to modern historians, the story is likely embellished, but the fact remains that Mexican cadets did defend the castle bravely during the Siege of Chapultepec.
In 1864, Maximilian of Austria, a young European Prince of the Habsburg line, became emperor of Mexico. Although he spoke no Spanish, he was approached by Mexican and French agents who believed that a stable monarchy would be the best thing for Mexico. Maximilian resided at Chapultepec Castle, which he had modernized and rebuilt according to the European standards of luxury at the time with marble floors and fine furniture. Maximilian also ordered the construction of Paseo de la Reforma, which connects Chapultepec Castle to the National Palace in the center of town. Maximilian’s rule lasted three years until he was captured and executed by forces loyal to Benito Juarez, the president of Mexico, who maintained he was the legitimate head of Mexico during Maximilian's reign.
In 1876, Porfirio Diaz came to power in Mexico. He took Chapultepec Castle as his official residence. Like Maximilian, Diaz ordered changes and additions to the castle. Many items from his time are still in the castle, including his bed and the desk from which he signed his resignation as president in 1911. During the Mexican Revolution, various presidents used the castle as an official residence, including Francisco I. Madero, Venustiano Carranza, and Alvaro Obregón. Following the war, Presidents Plutarco Elias Calles and Abelardo Rodriguez resided there.
In 1939, President Lazaro Cardenas del Riodeclared that Chapultepec Castle would become the home of Mexico's National History Museum. The museum and castle are a popular tourist destination. Many of the upper floors and gardens have been restored to look as they did during the age of Emperor Maximilian or President Porfirio Diaz, including original beds, furniture, paintings, and Maximilian's fancy coach. Also, the exterior is renovated and includes the busts of Charlemagne and Napoleon that had been commissioned by Maximilian. Near the entrance to the castle is a massive monument to the fallen during the 1846 Mexican-American War, a monument to the 201st Air Squadron, a Mexican air unit which fought on the side of the Allies during World War IIand old water cisterns, a nod to Lake Texcoco's former glory.
The National Museum of History includes pre-Colombian artifacts and displays about ancient cultures of Mexico. Other sections detail important parts of Mexican history, such as the war for independence and the Mexican Revolution. Oddly, there is little information about the 1847 Siege of Chapultepec. There are numerous paintings in the museum, including famous portraits of historical figures such as Miguel Hidalgo and José María Morelos. The best paintings are the masterpiece murals by legendary artists Juan O’Gorman, Jorge González Camarena, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Siqueiros.
The U.S. Army finds the road to Mexico City blocked by Chapultepec Castle. After an artillery bombardment, U.S. forces storm the citadel on September 13. A group of teenaged Mexican military cadets defend their position and fight to the death. Later, they become known as the “Niños Héroes,” or Heroic Children.
Apr 24, 2018 · The Battle of Chapultepec in the Mexican-American War The Mexican-American War. Mexico and the United States had gone to war in 1846. Among the causes of this conflict were... The Battle of Molino del Rey. After talks stalled and the armistice was broken, Scott decided to hit Mexico City from... ...
Chapultepec Castle was abandoned during the Mexican War of Independence (1810–1821) and for many years later, until 1833. In that year the building was decreed to become the location of the Military College (Military Academy) for cadet training; as a sequence of several structural modifications had to be done, including the addition of the watchtower known as Caballero Alto ("Tall Knight").
The Battle of Chapultepec was an assault by invading American forces on a small contingent of Mexican forces holding the strategically located Chapultepec Castle just outside Mexico City, fought 13 September 1847 during the Mexican–American War. The building, sitting atop a 200-foot hill, was an important position for the defense of the city. The battle was part of the campaign to take Mexico City, for which General Winfield Scott's U.S. Army totaled 7,200 men. General Antonio López de ...
Jun 08, 2021 · During the Mexican War of Independence the castle was abandoned, and remained in a state of dereliction for several decades. It was eventually refurbished and turned into a Military Academy. It was...
Apr 14, 2020 · Meixco City’s Chapultepec castle has played a role in takeover plots, accusations of foul play, and executions over the centuries. Construction on the building began in 1785, on the orders of Viceroy Bernardo de Gálvez, before being taken over by Manuel Agustín Mascaró following the departure of the original architect, Francisco Bambitelli.
The Mexican-American War Begins On April 25, 1846, Mexican cavalry attacked a group of U.S. soldiers in the disputed zone under the command of General Zachary Taylor, killing about a dozen. They...
Jun 13, 2018 · Monument to the six Heroic Cadets, with Chapultepec Castle in the background. In 1846, the United States of America went to war with the United Mexican States. Political maneuvering by President James K. Polk and a vested interest in the Republic of Texas ensured the US would throw everything they could into the conflict.
These cadets died defending Mexico at Mexico City 's Chapultepec Castle (then serving as the Mexican Army 's military academy) from invading U.S. forces in the 13 September 1847 Battle of Chapultepec, during the Mexican–American War. The Niños Héroes are commemorated by a national holiday on September 13.
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