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News Article

200 Years of Independence / Repatriation of Archaeological Pieces

By Paloma Duran | Mon, 09/27/2021 - 11:36

Mexico celebrates 200 years of the Consummation of Independence. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador invited all Mexicans to celebrate 200 years of the Consummation of Independence and participate in festivities, either by going to exhibitions or assisting with remote events. “Today, we commemorate 200 years of our independence. It is going to be a day of commemorations and celebrations about the greatness of Mexico. Everyone is invited to the celebrations; they can do so by attending exhibitions, such as the representation in the Zocalo that will also be broadcast by the media.”

Mexico’s independence was a social and political process where it ceased to be a colony of Spain and the first Mexican empire was established. The revolt lasted from Sept. 16, 1810, when priest Miguel Hidalgo rang the church bell and called on Mexicans to take up arms, until Sept. 27, 1821, when the Trigarante Army entered Mexico City.

Repatriation of archaeological assets. Minister of Culture Alejandra Fausto announced that the country has repatriated 5,746 goods over the past three years, of which 5,149 are archaeological and 547 historical. In addition, Fausto thanked the Italian Police Unit, represented by Gen. Roberto Riccardi, for stopping an auction of 17 pieces of Mixtec-Mayan culture on Sept. 16. "The restitution of extracted pieces represents an unprecedented effort on the part of Mexican cultural diplomacy. These efforts will bear fruit so that cases such as the one that occurred in Germany are not repeated, where it was intended to sell 74 pieces."

This month, the Italian authorities stopped an auction in Rome, in which archaeological pieces from Mexico, including as vessels and messianic figures, were offered. The Italian Foreign Ministry has reported that the pieces are being cared for and examined to confirm whether they were obtained illegally. The Mexican government has thanked the Italian authorities and asked them to return the pieces when the investigations have been completed. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has awarded the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest recognition that Mexico grants to foreigners for services to the nation, to Riccardi for his police work.

Mexico calls on authorities to stop the sale and auction of archaeological pieces. Fausto asked national and international authorities to help Mexico stop the sale and auction of archaeological pieces. “Heritage is not a luxury item, it is priceless. Mexico calls on the authorities to suspend these actions that threaten the culture and identity of peoples and nations. Heritage is not sold, it is loved and defended, it is not possible to love what is not known.”

This year, Germany returned 34 archaeological pieces from Colima and Nayarit to Mexico. Meanwhile, the US has returned 280 pieces that were obtained illegally and remained in the country for eight years before being sold. Mexican authorities have said that the theft of archaeological pieces is a big problem in the country, for which it has been necessary to create alliances with other countries to protect these pieces and secure their return.

New commemorative coins. Minister of Economy Tatiana Clouthier announced that the Bank of Mexico has launched six new coins for the 700 years of the foundation of Tenochtitlan: the 500 years of its history and the 200 after the Consummation of Independence. Clouthier said three coins will be put into circulation for daily use, while the other three will be commemorative. “Today, the Bank of Mexico put into circulation the six coins, three of them bimetallic and three silver. Coins are an excellent means to evoke the traditions, culture and events of our history."

Click HERE for full transcript in Spanish

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Gobierno de México, Milenio
Photo by:   Gobierno de México
Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Journalist and Industry Analyst