The Legendary Mexican Juan Amaro (El Pipila)

Almost the entire advancements in the contemporary society trace their roots from works of earlier populations inhabiting the earth. For instance, most scientific innovations today associated with founding fathers, provided the fundamentals which others have developed over the years. However, not all contributions of past individuals are recognized in the modern society. Despite that, the contributions of Juan Amaro, popularly referred as El Pipila, form a critical pride of the Mexican early liberty revolution (Bouquet). Amaro, unlike other heroes and superwomen associated with their material contribution, has his story retold severally from acts of heroism despite his earlier physical disadvantages.

As a boy born in the year 1783, Amaro grew up in a society at a time when the physically challenged members faced tough resistance from the rest of the population. His physical complications emerged from birth complications impairing his limbs structure and affecting his learning abilities too. Consequently, his strange walking style which resembled that of the turkey earned his title, El Pipila. Were it not for his contribution in the Mexican independence movement, El Pipila would have remained a condemned and unknownminer at Mellado (Cook). However, history accords the most insignificant members a unique opportunity to join heroes of legends.

His great moment emerged when a liberation struggle led by Miguel Hildago, then a priest in Dalores town.As the insurrection spread to other regions, Hildago matched on to Guanajuato, where the Spanish governor sought refuge in the stone-wall grain warehouse(Weibel Para 2). The granary, locally identified as the Alhondiga de Granaditas, formed an ideal defence position for Spanish archers to repel aggressors, with its stone-walls standing solid against potential attacks. On this particular day, the Spanish initial plan was to guard their position in the granary till reinforcements from other regions arrived to subdue the rioters. The Spanish plan was paying for third consecutive day until the brave El Pipila defied all odds to grant Mexicans light towards their longed for independence.

The power of knowledge exceeds physical strength. After Hildago concluded that breaking the door was the only left solution for the rioters to invade the fort, Pipila volunteered to force the door open. He demonstrated great knowledge, by tying up a large flag-stone over his back, took a bucket of tar and a flaming torch, then crawled tirelessly towards the wooden door. Under the heavy stone-shield he managed to edge to the doorway despite the risky enemy fire and went for the door. The stone shielded him from bullets directed to him by the Spanish archers. On arrival at the door, he coated it with tar and quickly torched it to the surprise of the cheering Mexicans. The resulting fire weakened the wooden door while the smoke blurred the vision of the Spanish defending archers, allowing other insurgents to rush to the wooden door. As the door gave in, the surging rioters forced open the barrier, flooded into the building and killed the Spanish troops, refugees and plundered the hoarded treasures (Cook).

Driven by courage Juan demonstrated his wit to shed reprieve to the despairing rebels by putting his life to risk and single-handedly burnt the door of the perceived invincible fortress (Ontiveros, Para 3). This formed the first victory for the Mexicans liberation, with the tale spreading to other regions where other peasants revolted. How would a crippled miner challenge the entire Spanish force? Such questions encouraged others to drive out the Spanish in later years. The spirit of volunteerism for his countrymen freedom led other rioters to continuously resist the oppressing rule of the Spanish and guarantee the nations liberty at the initial days of Hildago war for independence (Cook).

Although not a widely celebrated figure in the entire Mexican society, the substantial contribution of Juan in the initial struggle for independence proved a turning point for the despairing locals. However, Mexico would finally attain her independence but no one knew how and when the rioters would defeat the equipped and trained Spanish troops. If it were not for the unique knowledge displayed by El Pipila, the historical clash against the Spanish oppressors seemed beyond the rioters’ control. Amongst the rioting crowd, there lacked anyone to embrace such a risk and fight for the wellbeing of their fellow citizens. Although Juan Amaro name was not recognized in contrast to Captain Allende, his heroic act sparked an essential event for the Mexican independence in later years. Since then, he is a legend in the Mexican history as a crippled and little known miner who defied all odds to initiate both mental and physical test for others. Lastly, Juan Amaro did not count on the evil done to him by the society who ridiculed and despised the physically challenged members (Weibel Para 1). Contrariwise, he demonstrated qualities of legendary leader to guide the entire population through his knowledge to grant Mexico her sought independence.


  • Bouquet, Susana. “El Pipila.” n.d. 23 January 2013 .
  • Cook, Jim. “Jim & Carole’s Mexico Adventure.” 21 September 2008. 23 February 2013 .
  • Ontiveros, Bob. “IHCC Honors Bob Ontiveros with “El Pipila” Award.” 16 September 2011. 23 February 2013 .
  • Weibel, Barbara. “Monument to El Pipila, the Soul of Guanajuato, Mexico.” 08 June 2010. 23 February 2013 .
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