Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/195

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189
ANCIENT CASTLE AND ITS HISTORY.

cent. on the old rates; but farther reductions must be made before the silver interest can become again thoroughly prosperous.

One of the greatest objects of interest in Guanajuato, is the ancient Castillo del Grenaditas, a square, two story, stone structure of immense size, flat roof of stone slabs, cemented water-tight, and walls from five to ten feet in thickness, built early in the last century, and originally intended to be used as a granary in which to store surplus corn for the public protection against seasons of scarcity. There is a large court-yard in the center of the structure, surrounded with cornices and graceful pillars.

When Hidalgo, after his pronunciamento with eleven men at Dolores in the State of Guanajuato, in 1810, arrived here, the whole Indian and native-born Spanish-American population flocked to his banner. They were hardly armed at all, but were brave and determined. The Spaniards, two thousand strong, fled into this Castle of Grenaditas, and defended themselves through a long siege, with obstinate courage and determination. The patriots sought in vain to carry the place, as the Spaniards were constantly on the watch, and gave them no opportunity to approach the gates. At night, the Spaniards burned great torches, and by their light, shot all who came within reach.

At last, an Indian placed a great flat stone upon his back, and thus shielded from the bullets which the Spaniards rained down upon it, crawled up to the gates and burned them down. The stone which he used as armor, is still shown. The besiegers followed up their advantage, and, after a part of the garrison had perished from suffocation, carried the castle. It is said that not a Spaniard escaped.