Mexico's National Anthem

164 years ago today, Mexico’s National Anthem was sung for the first time

Since its independence, Mexico has had a variety of songs or “hymns”, but none managed to endure and be a true song that represented the country well.

In 1849, an Austrian pianist, Henri Herz, resided in Mexico and offered to create a hymn of gratitude to Mexico, which would be sung on September 16, 1854, but that did not happen because the musician did not finish the composition in time.

It was on November 13, 1853, when President Santa Anna, together with Miguel Lerdo de Tejada – then head of the Ministry of Development, Colonization, Industry, and Commerce, ordered the publication in the Official Gazette to create the lyrics and the musical arrangement, in it was established that the contestants had a month and a half to submit their lyrics and music proposals.

It was on February 5, 1854, that the Official Gazette announced the winner of the verses: Francisco González Bocanegra. Days later, an event was held so that the Mexicans would know the winning lyrics, played by Enriqueta Sontag, Countess of Bossi, considered the best German singer of the time, accompanied in music by Juan Botessini.

Months later, on August 15, 1854, the music was obtained, a work titled “Dios y Libertad” signed with the initials “JN”. In this situation, Lerdo de Tejada decided to publish an announcement asking the winner to prove he was the author; Jaime Nunó introduced himself and they asked him to implement the work.

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Thus, on Friday, September 15, 1854, the Mexican National Anthem was sung for the first time with the lyrics of the Mexican Francisco González Bocanegra and the music of the Spaniard Jaime Nunó, at the Santa Anna Grand Theater with a full house, under the interpretation of the soprano Balbina Steffenone and the tenor Lorenzo Salví.

After that presentation, the National Anthem rarely came to be sung and the authors Bocanegra and Nunó were never mentioned because people believed that it had been created as a way to flatter President Santa Anna.

The National Anthem was not recognized, it was completely forgotten, until more than ten years later, in the empire of Maximiliano de Habsburgo (1863-1867), the National Anthem created by González Bocanegra and Nunó was officially recognized and on September 16, In 1865, the military bands played the song Plaza Mayor. Thus officially declaring the piece as Mexico’s official anthem.

As for the Santa Anna Grand Theater, it was demolished in 1901, and was located just steps away from the now Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City.

Lyrics to Mexico’s National Anthem

Mexicanos, al grito de Guerra
El acero , aprestad y el bridón,
y retiemble en sus centros la tierra.
Al sonoro rugir del cañón (repetir segunda estrofa)

Primera estrofa
Ciña Patria tus sienes de oliva!
De la paz del arcángel divino,
Que en el cielo tu eterno destino
Por el dedo de Dios se escribió

Mas si osare un extraño enemigo
Profanar con sus plantas tu suelo
Piensa Oh Patria querida! Que el cielo
Un soldado en cada hijo te dió.

Mexicanos, al grito de Guerra
El acero , aprestad y el bridón
y retiemble en sus centros la tierra
Al sonoro rugir del cañón.

Segunda estrofa
Guerra, guerra sin tregua al que intente
De la Patria manchar los blasones!
Guerra, guerra! Los patrios pendones,
En las olas de sangre empapad.

Guerra, guerra! En el monte, en el valle
Los cañones osonos que truenen,
Y los ecos sonoros suenen
Con las voces al unísono de Libertad!

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