How long was Arizona a part of Mexico? During the first decade, or ten years, of the 1800s, people living in Mexico grew more and more unhappy with Spain. Early in the morning of September 16, 1810, Mexico began its fight for independence. On this morning, Miguel Hidalgo, a priest, called for Mexico to be free from Spanish rule. The war was long and very hard. Independence for Mexico finally came on September 21, 1821. The country of Mexico now ruled the land that would become Arizona. Spain’s 300 years of ruling in the New World was over. Mexican rule of Arizona, however, did not last long. The new nation of Mexico had many problems. The problems of the northern lands were far away from the challenges the government faced in Mexico City. Map shows all the lands controlled by Spain when Mexico began to seek its independence in the early 1800s. Miguel Hidalgo Father Miguel Hidalgo was a Creole priest who did not like the way the government of Spain treated the people of Mexico. On the night of September 15, 1810 he declared that the people of Mexico should fight for their independence from Spain. September 15, 1810 is known today as Mexico’s Independence Day. 64  Chapter 6 • Territory of New Mexico