In Mexico, it’s fairly common to see statues of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a hero of the Mexican Independence movement and indigenous rights. After promoting a revolt among indigenous and mestizo peasants against Spanish landowners in 1810, ultimately leading to the Mexican War of Independence, Hidalgo became the leader of the Mexican armies. He was subsequently executed by the Spanish for treason on July 30, 1811.
In Mexico, statues of Miguel Hidalgo are not unlike those of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln in the United States. But statues of the Mexican founding father in the United States? That’s far more unusual.
Mile Square Park, a full square mile of green space in Fountain Valley, California, contains one of only two such statues in the United States (the only other statue of Hidalgo in the U.S. can be found in San Francisco’s Dolores Park). It was unveiled in 2017 as a tribute to the Mexican-American heritage of many of California’s residents and as a gesture of appreciation for the state’s neighbors to the south.
In fact, California was part of Spanish America during the time of Hidalgo’s revolt, even if he didn’t live to see it become part of Mexico and then the United States. So it seems fitting to see a statue of this Mexican anti-colonial hero in California, even if he never set foot anywhere near it.
Know Before You Go
Since Mile Square Park is literally a full square mile, it can be a bit confusing to navigate. To make it easier to find the statue, use the following coordinates in any maps app: 33°43'41.0"N, 117°56'21.2"W