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Patronato Pro Niños Drills Down into San Miguel’s Historic Street Names

MY PATRONATO

By Cheryl Young

Did you know that street names in San Miguel de Allende’s Historic Center reflect the city’s significant role in the War of Independence (1810–1821)?

In 1769, General Ignacio de Allende, one of the major heroes of the conflict and the town’s namesake, was born in his father’s handsome baroque mansion near the town’s square. After the war, the street was named Cuna de Allende (“Cradle of Allende”). Author Robert de Gast notes that Allende’s father, Don Domingo, was a wealthy merchant from Basque Spain.

Calle Hermanos Aldama is named for the two Aldama brothers, Juan and Ignacio. Born into wealth, they were co-conspirators with Allende. Juan carried the warning of an imminent attack by the Spanish army (á la the ride of Paul Revere), and Ignacio became the first mayor of the newly liberated San Miguel.

From the early 1700s, the prominent de la Canal family had been an enormous benefactor to San Miguel. They would merit a “de la Canal” street name based solely on their financial, social, and religious contributions to the city, but there is more. By 1810, the head of the family, Narciso de la Canal, had paid a significant sum to become Commander of “Los Dragones de la Reina.” Formed to suppress civil insurrections, “Los Dragones” was an armed force of about 350 men. Yet, Narciso made the pivotal decision to keep his Dragones quartered while the mob rioted in the Jardín. And so Mexico’s bloody 10-year War of Independence actually began with a bloodless coup.

Calle Hidalgo is named for Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the charismatic, rebellious priest who rallied the first insurrection against Viceroyalty forces in Mexico, considered by many the first leader of the War of Independence. Over 14,000 streets in the nation bear the name Hidalgo in his honor.

Regular Tours run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, always starting at the same place and time. All tours are given in English. No reservations are required, but we may need to limit the group size. With five days’ notice, we can offer private tours. Contact Christina at 415 152 7796 for information. www.patronatoproninos.org

For 48 years, this nonprofit organization has been providing necessary medical and dental services to children in San Miguel whose families cannot afford to provide it for them. All tour donations and tips go to support the important work of PPN.

The Patronato Pro Niños Architectural Walking Tour

Thu, Oct 18, 9:45am for a 10am start

Meet in the Jardin, across from the Parroquia

Donation 350 pesos per person for the architectural tour

300 pesos per person for the regular tour

 

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