Understanding the Mexican National Anthem: History, Lyrics, and Significance

In the middle of the 19th century, the nascent new republic was looking for the lyrics and music of the Mexican national anthem, which would represent the feelings of the great people of Mexico.

According to the historical record, the Mexican national anthem was born in San Luis de Potosí, in the midst of the hard blow of losing a large part of the northern territory.

Although it was a complex moment for the Mexican authorities to assimilate, they undertook the search for a music that would identify the country.

The intentions, above all, were to seek the union of Mexicans, and to elevate the patriotic feeling, ironically, a Spaniard was the author of the music of the current Mexican national anthem.

The national anthem represents for each country its presentation to the world; in each official event the lyrics and music of each nation elevate the national sentiment.


In this sense, we invite you to know the history of the Mexican national anthem, a work worthy of singing.

At the time of independence, back in 1821, Juan Torrescano expressed in his anthem the patriotic feeling of freedom, however, it did not remain in the Mexican population, since it took a political stance towards Agustín de Iturbide.

Then, in 1844, word spread of a new hymn, this time from a poem set to music by Eusebio Delgado, although of all of them, it was the one that had the poorest reception.

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History of the Mexican national anthem

In 1853 General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, occupied for the last time the Presidency of our country.

And in November of the same year, he ordered the publication of a call in the Official Gazette, to invite the poets of Mexico to participate in the contest to choose the best composition to be used as a patriotic song.

President Santa Anna, the Mexican National Anthem would be composed of two elements, the lyrics and the music.

This is how a Mexican and a Spaniard gave life to the anthem that is still in force in the country.

In this sense, Francisco González Bocanegra, a Mexican poet, was the one who knew how to capture the nationalist feeling between words and stanzas.

Although without any confirmation, it is said that the author refused to participate in the creation of the anthem, but it was his fiancée who motivated him.

The story goes that Guadalupe González del Pino y Villalpando locked Francisco in a room, letting him leave until he peeked through the door the 10-stanza poem that would later become the Mexican National Anthem.


While the authorship of the Mexican National Anthem is attributed to Jaime Nunó, who was in charge of setting Francisco González Bocanegra‘s poem to music.

Nunó was Spanish, so the Mexican people were not happy that he was the one who finished the work of the Mexican anthem.

In spite of the protests, the nationality of the author of the music of the Mexican national anthem did not prevent President Santa Anna from accepting the best note.

Undoubtedly, the composer’s skill eventually prevailed over prejudice, so that the music of the Mexican national anthem was born.

Origins and composition

Among the various compositions proposed for the National Anthem, the one by Francisco González Bocanegra was chosen, becoming the song of the Homeland.

In the original version, the Mexican national anthem had 84 decasyllabic verses (an introductory chorus of four verses and ten stanzas of eight verses).

The current version is reduced to only four stanzas, preceded by the chorus, which is repeated; the original stanzas II, III, IV, VII, VIII and IX were deleted.

González Bocanegra also left other compositions that stand out for their ease and inspiration.

Jaime Nunó, author of the music of the Mexican national anthem, was one of the candidates who responded to the call of November 12, 1853, made by Antonio López de Santa Anna.

After competing with 25 other poets, on August 12, 1854 he was declared the winner and for the first time the National Anthem was performed with music and lyrics on September 15 of that year at the Teatro de Santa Anna, the National Theater, which was demolished and replaced by today’s Palacio de Bellas Artes.

The jury was composed of José Antonio Gómez, Agustín Balderas and Tomás León.

Nunó himself made the adaptations to the Mexican National Anthem, which was adopted by the government from then on, although with a later reduction.

About the Mexican National Anthem

The Mexican national anthem was officially interpreted for the first time by soprano Claudina Florentini and tenor Lorenzo Salvi.

They were accompanied by the choir and orchestra of the Gran Compagnia dell’Opera Italiana.

The original hymn contained 10 stanzas, but since 1943 it was reduced to four stanzas of eight verses each.

Interpretation of the Mexican hymn

According to analysts, the Mexican national anthem is a lyrical poem, which praises the struggle to protect national sovereignty and independence, alluding to the battles fought by Mexicans against foreign threats.

It is the hope, courage and union of the Mexican people when it comes to defending the homeland.

Currently this patriotic symbol is regulated by the “Law on the National Coat of Arms, Flag and Anthem”.

The verses of the Mexican national anthem evoke heroism and the homeland; “but if a strange enemy dares to profane your soil with his plant, think, oh beloved homeland, that heaven gave you a soldier in each son”.

These lyrics leave no doubt to interpretation, since the Mexican National Anthem calls for the defense of the nation, affected by the context of the moment.

Esther Escobar, professor at the Faculty of Music of the UNAM, explained that Bocanegra’s poetic composition followed the form of ecclesiastical hymns.

The metrical form of the Mexican national anthem has eight-line stanzas, where the eighth line is always repeated, as well as four lines in the chorus.

The stanza follows the form of the so-called “Italian octave”, with a sharp rhyme in the fourth and eighth lines. The remaining lines are combined in various ways.


Letter of the Mexican national anthem


Mexicans, to the cry of war

The steel aprestad and the bridle,

And the earth tremble at its core

To the sonorous roar of the cannon.


Gird your olive temples, O homeland!

Of peace the archangel divine,

That in heaven thy eternal destiny

By God’s finger was written.

But if a strange enemy should dare

To profane your soil with his plant,

Think, O beloved homeland, that heaven has given you

A soldier in every son gave thee.



War, war without truce to him who would attempt

Of the fatherland to stain the coats of arms!

War, war, war! The patriotic banners

In the waves of blood soak.

War, war! On the mountain, in the valley

The horrendous cannons thunder,

And the sonorous echoes resound

With voices of Union! Freedom!



Before, O motherland, that your children, unarmed

Under the yoke bend their necks,

Thy fields with blood be watered,

On blood their foot be stamped.

And thy temples and palaces and towers

Shall crumble down with a fiery roar,

And their ruins exist, saying:

Of a thousand heroes the fatherland here was.



Fatherland! Fatherland! Thy children swear to thee

To exhale their breath on thy altars,

If the bugle with its warlike accent

Summons them to fight with courage.

For thee the olive garlands!

A memorial to them of glory!

A laurel to thee of victory!

A sepulcher for them of honor!

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