Niños Héroes, the young men killed at Cerro de Chapultepec on 13 September 1847, during the Mexican-American War. The public sculpture of these young heroes is Mexico's premier emblem of nationalism; the monument, at the west end of Mexico City's Paseo de la Reforma, symbolizes the greatness of a people. The staff and cadet volunteers of the Military Academy contributed seventy of the 1,000 or so defenders of Chapultepec Castle. Of these seventy, six were killed, three wounded, and one taken prisoner. Five of the Niños Héroes were cadets.
The seventy Military Academy defenders of Chapultepec were initially honored on 11 November 1847 by a medal; on 23 December another decoration was authorized for the group. The six who died in this action were not recognized until 3 March 1884, an action that was not ratified until 31 July 1926. Remains claimed to be those of the Niños Héroes were discovered on 25 March 1947 in Chapultepec Park; six months later (9 September 1947) the find was officially recognized (not without controversy) by congressional decree.
The six Niños Héroes are Lieutenant Juan de la Barrera, nineteen years old; Cadet Juan Escutia, less than nineteen, a cadet for five days; Cadet Francisco Márquez, at thirteen the youngest casualty; Cadet Agustín Melgar, younger than nineteen, who had been a cadet, expelled, then readmitted five days before he was killed; and Cadet Fernando Montes de Oca, younger than nineteen, found wrapped in a flag three days after the engagement, who had apparently jumped to his death to avoid capture; and fourteen-year-old Cadet Vicente Súarez Ferrer.
Alberto María Carreno, El Colegio militar de Chapultepec: 1847–1848, 2d ed. (1972).
José Rogelio Álvarez, Enciclopedia de México, vol. 10 (1988), pp. 3,809-5,811.
Heidler, David Stephen, and Jeanne T. Heidler. The Mexican War. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006.
Vázquez, Josefina Zoraida. México al tiempo de su guerra con Estados Unidos, 1846–1848. México: Secretaría de Exteriores: El Colegio de México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1997.
Robert Himmerich y Valencia