A sad but heroic moment of Mexico’s past has been commemorated forever with this monument to Mexican heroes of the Mexican-American War.
The Monumento a los Niños Heroes recognizes military cadets who died while defending Chapultepec Castle, the last major resistance to U.S. troops who had invaded Mexico in 1846. This battle was part of the Mexican-American War of aggression instigated by United States President James Polk. See the six tall columns of the solemn structure and learn about the specifics of the event.
The U.S. began the Mexican-American War when Mexico was in a weak position with discord across its separate states and limited military resources. U.S. troops quickly overcame Mexican forces in Buena Vista and Veracruz. They marched south and laid siege to the highest point of Mexico City, Chapultepec Hill. This led to the decisive battle on September 13, 1847. See paintings and documents depicting this historic event at the National Museum of History near the monument.
Chapultepec Castle was at that time serving as a military academy. Military cadets made up much of the resistance to the U.S. forces, fighting valiantly but losing to better equipped and more experienced soldiers. As the battle was ending, one of the youths is said to have wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and jumped off the top of the castle to avoid letting the flag be captured by the American enemies. Gaze at the monument that honors six fighters from the military academy. They ranged in age from 13 to 17. Thus the monument honors the “child heroes” of this battle and the war.
Several months after Mexico’s defeat at Chapultepec Castle, the countries signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the war. Mexico ceded much of the areas that are now southern California and New Mexico to the United States. Reflect on the events that shifted that region of the country from Mexican to American.
Find the impressive Monumento a los Niños Heroes at the entrance to Bosque de Chapultepec park near the Chapultepec metro stop. The area is open from morning to late afternoon on Tuesdays through Sundays. Farther inside the park see the mural of the tragic event in the National Museum of History inside Chapultepec Castle.