Mexico, once known as New Spain, was a colony harshly ruled by the kingdom of Spain for over 300 years. The native population was oppressed, farmland and personal wealth were confiscated and only Spaniards were allowed to hold political posts.
After many years of oppression a catholic priest in the town of Dolores named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla had enough.
So, on September 16, 1810, he rang his church’s bell and delivered a speech now known as the Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores), demanding the end of Spanish rule. This started the brutal Mexican War of Independence, which lasted over a decade.
Then on August 24, 1821, Spain withdrew and officially recognized Mexico as an independent country.