ANDThis Wednesday, September 13, Mexico celebrates the 176th anniversary of the historic defense of Chapultepec Castle by six young cadets from the Military College—known as the Boys Heroes—during the American invasion of 1847.
The historic feat of these cadets took place within the framework of the United States-Mexico War (1846-1848), in which the United States government demanded the annexation of more than half of the Mexican territory to its country.
Faced with Mexico’s refusal to sell these states, US President James K. Polk ordered troops to the border and there had a first confrontation with the Mexican army. After this battle, Polk declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846.
After some victories in northern Mexico, the American army landed in Veracruz in March 1847. The foreign troops defeated the Mexican military in Veracruz and Puebla and headed to Mexico City to take the country’s capital.
At the end of August they defeated the Mexican troops who were trying to block the passage to the Valley of Mexico. Finally, on September 12, the Americans began their offensive on Chapultepec Castle, the last standing fortress in Mexico.
General Nicolás Bravo had around 800 soldiers to confront the Americans, who had more than 7,000 elements. Bravo gave the order for the cadets who were in Chapultepec to flee the place, but most of them gave up and joined the defense of the castle.
On September 13, the Americans began their ascent of the hill and engaged the last Mexican soldiers hand to hand. There they encountered six cadets, whose age ranged between 14 and 20, who fought despite being outnumbered and outgunned.
The first cadet to lose his life was Vicente Suárez. Fernando Montes de Oca later died while trying to flee the scene. Juan de la Barrera managed to escape and went into hiding momentarily, only to be discovered and executed by American troops.
These deaths were followed by that of Agustín Melgar, who managed to escape the combat, but died a day later as a result of his injuries. Francisco Márquez also died in Chapultepec Castle.
The sixth member of the Boys Heroes, Juan Escutia, would have decided to wrap himself in the flag of Mexico and jumped into the void to prevent the national flag from being captured by the Americans. However, this story has been described as a myth, since there is no evidence that Escutia carried out this act.
Due to the historical defense by these six cadets, President Benito Juárez decided to pay tribute to the Children Heroes for the first time in 1871. Later, during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz, this celebration obtained official status.
Annually, the president of Mexico in turn goes to the Altar of the Homeland, in Mexico City, to deliver a wreath, set up an honor guard and do a roll call in which the names of the six cadets who They participated in the defense of Chapultepec Castle.