Friday, July 04, 2008

un cañonazo se oyó alrededor del mundo

1776. The year of American independence. At least, the year a bunch of cocky Americans told the Hanoverian King George that they did not need a bunch of dukes and earls telling them how much tax to pay on their tea. And then came the price for taking on one of Europe's greatest powers.

Five years later, they had their freedom -- and a nation torn by sectional strife, barely limping along economically. But a small group of colonists had beat the European tyrant. And not just to exchange one group of power-grubbers for another. They fought a war because they held "these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

And those words were heard around the world. When a French dictator invaded Spain and toppled the monarchy, patriots in the Spanish Americas rose in revolt -- against Spanish rule. If the British colonists had a grudge against their British overlords, the Spanish colonists had a far greater case.

If you want to read some inspiring biographies, read about the warrior priest, Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla Gallaga Mondarte Villaseñor, and his military ally, Ignacio José de Allende y Unzaga. Both were inspired by the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, and both died traitor deaths just as their war for independence began.

Mexico has not had a happy history. Even when independence came, there was no George Washington to inspire a nation and show that power could be peacefully relinquished. Instead, Mexico took an emperor and then suffered a series of assassinations and usurpations.

But on September 16, 1810, when the priest raised his Grito de Dolores, Mexico dreamed of a better future -- one it is beginning to find. The map at the top of this post is generally what the Americas looked like 1n 1776. If things had gone differently for Mexico, what might that map look like now?

Today is a day we can all celebrate that all people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Happy Independence Day to all.


Anonymous said...


Niggling little detail, but it will help you with this form of the passive voice.

Add a "se" to "oyó"...un cañonazo se oyó alrededor del mundo"...otherwise, it's perfectly correct. ;-)

Examples to help you put it in grammatical context:

Pedro oyó el cañanazo. Peter heard the shot. (emphasis on who)
Un cañanazo se oyó. A shot was heard. (emphasis on action)

Ella habló mucho de México. She spoke alot about Mexico.
Se habló mucho de México. Alot was said about Mexico.

¡Espero que te haya servido! ¿Cuándo sales para Melanque?


Steve Cotton said...

Alee' -- I am surprised I came that close. But you were a good influence. There are far too many meanings to the word "shot" in English. I had to remember: convey the meaning, not just the words.

Now, I have the dilemma of rewriting blog history. When the Americans were invading French North Africa in World War Two, flyers were to be dropped inviting the French to surrender. George Patton noted that there was an error in one accent grave. He ordered every flyer of thousands to be altered by hand (the planes were already in the air) -- for fear the French would consider the Americans unsophisticated. (Like that would happen!)

Well, George Patton is no better than Steve Cotton. The fix is in.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I thought you chose an excellent word for shot. It wouldn't have ocurred to me, but "cañanazo" is far more descriptive than "disparo" or "tiro" o "trueno" - the words we tend to hear and use more in a legal setting for "gunshot".

Así que muy bien hecho! As to the accent grave in French omitted from the fliers you're probably right...I doubt that most native speakers of French would have been that demanding, nor would we Americans have ever been mistaken for sophisticated, at least in details related to culture and language. Tres terrible ;-)

Your correction is duly noted.