The alhóndiga was the public granary in Spanish colonial towns. The term continued in use during the national period in many places. One of the most famous was the Alhóndiga of Guanajuato, Mexico, a massive, fortress-like structure erected in 1798–1809 by Intendant Juan Antonio Riaño to store sufficient grain to supply the city for a year. When Riaño received word that the rebel forces of Father Miguel Hidalgo were approaching the city, he ordered the granary prepared for a lengthy siege. Gathering coin, silver bars, and other valuables, the royalists became the target not only for the rebel forces but also for the plebeians of the city. On September 28, 1810, Riaño was killed in the first assault; the rebels overwhelmed the defenses, sacked the building, and massacred about 300 European Spaniards, creoles, and royalist militiamen. In 1811, following the executions of the rebel leaders Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, and Mariano Jiménez, their heads were placed on display in iron cages on the corners of the Alhóndiga, where they remained until Mexican independence in 1821.
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Christon I. Archer