Along Avenida 28 de Septiembre and east of most of the other attractions in Guanajuato is the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, which today serves as a museum and memorial to Mexican independence but was once the the city’s granary that stored its seeds and harvested grains.
The mural of José Chávez Morado on the walls and ceiling of the museum’s staircase depict the brutal history of European involvement in the Americas.
The Alhóndiga was the site of an important “battle” for Mexican independence against the Spanish. In 1810, Father Hidalgo, who was leading the independence movement, arrived in Guanajuato with a band of poorly-armed fighters. The outnumbered Spanish barricaded themselves up in the Alhóndiga, and the Mexican revolutionaries were unable to inflict any damage on the Spanish until el Pípila (the Turkeycock) arrived at the scene . . .
In a certainly fictitious tale of a young miner’s heroics, el Pípila volunteered to light the wooden doors to the Alhóndiga on fire so that the Mexican fighters could enter and attack the Alóndiga. Our young hero, El Pípila, strapped a slab of stone to his back to protect him from the Spanish bullets and ran to the wooden doors of the Alhóndiga, with a his torch. He was killed in his effort, but he allowed the Mexicans to massacre their Spanish overlords. Unfortunately, the victory was short-lived, as Hidalgo and his top deputies — Allende, Aldama, and Jiménez — were executed and their heads hung from hooks on the four corners of the Alhóndiga for all to see.
In the bottom right corner, our hero, el Pípila, makes his way towards the wooden doors of the Alhóndiga with a torch and a slab of rock strapped to his back!
The murals of José Cháves Morado line the walls and ceiling of the staircase and depict the history of the brutal treatment of the indigenous peoples by Europeans.
On the right, the sword and the cross being held by a soldier and a monk symbolize the military and spiritual conquest of the people of modern day Mexico.
The knights riding horses, both with metal armor symbolize the technological superiority of the Spanish forces over the indigenous people.
In the lower left, the balding man in a white rob holding a piece of paper is Bartolomé de las Casas, who in the late 15th Century, wrote a damning document against the Spanish abuses against the indigenous people.
The character whose feet are on fire on the left side is Tlolac, the Aztec god of rain.
In the image above, Father Hidalgo, in the green robe, comforts the oppressed. Beneath him a slave is breaking free of his chains.
Above to the right, heroic insurgents take up whatever tools they have to use as weapons in their fight against the Spanish conquistadors.
In the middle, men in white hoods and cloaks symbolize the Spanish Inquisition, and, on the left, the toppling pillars show the falling of the Spanish governments in the Americas.