La Ciudadela

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La Ciudadela

La Ciudadela, a fortress in the center of Mexico City. It was the scene of many military rebellions. Antonio González Velázquez built it in 1793 as the Royal Cigar and Cigarette Works. It obtained its military features from Miguel Costansó and Ignacio Castera when in 1808 they finished transforming it into a gunpowder storage facility for the Spanish army. The rebel leader José María Morelos was imprisoned in La Ciudadela in 1815. In the period of Santa Anna (late-1820s–mid-1850s) it served as the bastion for the generals in revolt, and its importance continued during The reform (1857–1860) and the French intervention. In 1871, Sóstenes Rocha seized it in order to crush a rebellion against Benito Juárez. In 1913, Manuel Mondragón and Félix Díaz rebelled against Francisco Madero and for ten days (Decena Trágica) bombarded the center city and principal neighborhoods from La Ciudadela. The treaty that the rebels signed there with their adversary, General Victoriano Huerta, was backed by U.S. Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson and resulted in the assassination of Madero and the dictatorship of Huerta from 1913 to 1914.

After the Revolution, La Ciudadela was declared a historic monument and became a center of fine culture. In its surroundings began the student movement of 1968. Between 1987 and 1991 it was refurbished under the direction of Abraham Zabludovsky and today houses the Mexican Library.

See alsoMexico City .


La Ciudadela: Biblioteca México (1991).

Antonio Saborit et al., La Ciudadela de fuego: A ochenta años de la decena trájica (1993).

Additional Bibliography

García Cantú, Gastón. La intervención francesa en México. México: Clío, 1998.

                                     J. E. Pacheco