The Pípila

Many stories can and do arise as a result of important and relevant events that occur in a country, events that deserve to be remembered by current generations. This is the case of El Pípila , who managed to enter the history of Mexico as a man who managed to help in an important way in the taking of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas , an act that greatly collaborated with the army formed by the Mexican insurgents in the search for the independence.

Personal information

  • When was he born: 01/03/1782
  • Where he was born: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
  • When he died: 07/25/1863
  • Where he died: Guanajuato, Mexico

Who was El Pípila?

El Pípila was a man working in the mines who decided to join the group of Mexican insurgents that sought to achieve the country’s independence , considered by many to be one of the most emblematic characters in this process.

  • Biography of El Pípila
  • Death
  • What did El Pípila do
  • Participation in the Independence of Mexico
  • Contributions
  • What study
  • Physical characteristics of El Pípila
  • Personality
  • Parents
  • Relations
  • Sons
  • Importance of El Pípila
  • Acknowledgments
  • Phrases
  • Curiosities

Biography of El Pípila

Juan José de los Reyes Martínez, better known to the Mexican people as El Pípila, was born on January 3, 1782 in a city in Guanajuato called San Miguel de Allende . From his youth he had to dedicate himself to the hard work of the mines, he was a humble, simple man and of Otomí descent . He was an important part of the army led by Miguel Hidalgo during the war process for independence.


There are different theories that revolve around the death of El Pípila. It is said that after the movements of struggle for independence ended, he again dedicated himself to work in the mines, dying of a respiratory disease on July 26, 1863 , a disease that was caused by continuous exposure to dust. A second version indicates that he continued to battle in the war for independence , in which he died trying to find freedom for his people.

What did El Pípila do

Perhaps his best and most important feat took place on September 28, 1810 when, being already part of the army of Mexican insurgents, a pottery was placed on his back to prevent the enemy’s bullets from hitting him, thus reaching the entrance. from the Alhóndiga de Granaditas , a place that was a food store and that at that time was used by the soldiers of the Spanish crown as a fort.

Participation in the Independence of Mexico

El Pípila’s participation in the Independence of Mexico is a famous legend in the country. According to the story , Hidalgo needed to enter and take the Alhóndiga de Granaditas , a place that functioned as a warehouse for the crops that supplied the food needs of the royalist army and that at that time was used by them to hide and protect themselves from the insurgents.

After Hidalgo had made several attempts to get to and enter this place, without any success, it was thought that the best option would be for one of the insurgents to be able to get to the main entrance to start a fire and burn the entrance. Not just anyone could be able to perform this feat, however, El Pípila immediately volunteered.

He decided to place a stone slab on his back so that he could defend himself from the enemy’s bullets, finally reaching the main door carrying a torch in his hand . Upon reaching the entrance, he managed to light the place and thanks to this gesture of heroism, the insurgents managed to enter the place to confront their opponents. Finally, the Spanish had to surrender to them thanks to the heroism of El Pípila.


El Pípila’s main contribution, in addition to actively participating in the militia’s army to fight for the independence of Mexico, is his feat of reaching the door of the Alhóndiga with a heavy rock on his back to avoid receiving impacts from bullets by the Spaniards who had taken shelter in place to fight the Mexican Insurgents .

What study

It is said that El Pípila only went to school to later dedicate himself to work in the city’s mines .

Physical characteristics of El Pípila

Mexican historians describe Pípila as a man who had dark skin , straight hair and also very muscular thanks to the arduous work he carried out in the mines. Apparently he suffered from smallpox and as a result of this he had many spots and scars on his body, this characteristic on his skin made them compare him with the turkeys that have many points and a mottled color, and hence his nickname.


His personality for many is that of a man brave , brave , hard – working and very strong .


Many historians affirm that his father was named Pedro Martínez and his mother Ledibeth Mauricio .


No information is known about their relationships so far.


So far there is no data or record on possible children that El Pípila has had.

Importance of El Pípila

The importance of this historical character is based on the bravery that he demonstrated at the time that was most needed to be able to enter the Alhóndiga and attack the Spaniards who had taken refuge in the place. Thanks to their feat, the Mexican insurgents finally managed to enter and win that battle. Thanks to his actions, the Mexican people see him as the man who risked his life for the independence of the country.


Among his recognitions we can mention a statue made in his honor which can be found located on the highest part of a hill southeast of the city of Guanajuato , in his hand you can see a torch , object with which he expelled the Spaniards from their city hundreds of years ago. This monument was built during the year 1939 .


Among the records of Mexican history there is no data on any famous phrase that has been mentioned by El Pípila.


Perhaps the main curiosity is that many connoisseurs El Pípila was only a myth that arose during the war of independence, because in reality there are no exact data , references or historical documents where its existence is mentioned. However, other historians claim that Hidalgo wrote: Pípila! The country needs your courage. Are you ready to burn the door of the Alhóndiga? And later, El Pípila did his great feat.

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