Archive for Revolution

30 July 1811 – Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla Gallaga Mondarte Villaseñor

Posted in Beheaded, Death penalty, Firing squad with tags , on July 30 by Last Writes

Sticking with today’s religious flavour, we head to Mexico for the most ostentatiously named subject yet to hit ‘Execution of the Day’s’ decks.

Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla Gallaga Mondarte Villaseñor (or Cura Hidalgo to his followers) was a national hero after he led an uprising against Spanish occupation.

So why would a normally mild-mannered priest want to rage against the Mexican machine?

Well, Napoleon inadvertently helped – the minute maverick was busy waging war all over the shop, and in 1811, Spain was his primary target. And while the rampant Spanish were thus diverted, Mexico was planning a little insurrection of its own.

At the forefront

Priest Hidalgo got in with the plotters and thanks to his eloquence among other attributes, he was soon leading the entire posse of uprisers.

However, all too soon the plot was busted, so the Mexicans were forced to mobilise early.

The clash was bloody and the Spanish were annihilated in places, such as Bajio and Guanajuato. But the prime target was Mexico City and while all this was going on, the capital had steeled itself against an attack.

As a result and with the onset of a reprisal likely, Hidalgo wisely beat a retreat to regroup.

Sadly, with such successes under his belt, the priest-cum-revolutionary had begun to believe his own hype. Support began to splinter, and this was the beginning of the end for the Mexicans.

Their adversaries were heading for Guadalajara where Hidalgo was holed up. On hearing who was coming, Hidalgo responded by mobilising his men and, ill-advisedly, they clashed at the bridge over the Calderon river.

Despite the Mexicans outnumbering the Spanish many times over, the European troops were seasoned campaigners and infinitely better equipped than the Mexicans. Soon the Spanish had them on the run and in no time Hidalgo was captured as the insurgents retreated.

Every dog has its day

He and some mates were then packed off to Chihuahua where they were sent to trial and sentenced to death.

Priest Hidalgo was promptly shot by a firing squad and beheaded posthumously, aged 58, alongside Ignacio Allende, Jose Mariano Jiminez and Juan Aldama – their heads were put on display in each corner of the town as a warning to all for a decade.

Yet, the heads must have been a good omen, because in that 10th year, Mexico gained the much-coveted independence, for which they had fought so hard.

Also on this day

30 July 1540 – Blessed Thomas Abel
30 July 1902 – John Bedford
30 July 1901 – Charles Watkins

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9 June 1716 – Baba Banda Singh Bahadur

Posted in Beheaded, Death penalty with tags , , on June 9 by Last Writes

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur A Sikh man, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, stuck out as a heroic revolutionary amid a backdrop of oppression in 18th-century Northern India. He fought for the Punjabi people inspired by his guru and his deep-set beliefs, and met a painfully bloody end for his insurrection. Now he’s hailed as a martyr to the cause and a full-blown hero of the day.

Sikh to the back teeth

Why? Basically, Banda was fighting against Mughal-Muslim rule, which had a habit of executing, by fair means and foul, key gurus, whom the Sikhs revered. Incensed by this ill-treatment, he rose up in arms against his enemies and managed to enlist the help of fellow Sikhs.

He managed to get up the Mughal-Muslims’ noses and it wasn’t long before they declared Jihad on Banda. The problem was that they were way more equipped than Banda’s men. While Banda had the numbers, the troops were made up of townsfolk and so only carried spears, bows and arrows and swords etc.

Khan get no satisfaction

The opposers, while lower in number, had guns, cannons and archers, besides which the army was trained to do the job. Couple that with horses and elephants, and you remember that scene from ‘Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’, when those huge mammoth-like creatures turn up and start taking side-swipes at the heroes? Yep, like that, the odds were grim. Under the helm of Wazir Khan the Mughal-Muslims were a full-on force against the disadvantaged Sikhs.

Nevertheless they clashed and, thanks to superb tactics, the underdogs won the day – they even bumped off Khan and stuck his head on a spear, revelling in the heady victory.

Banda on the run

In a seemingly unstoppable advance, Banda set forth as far as Lahore amassing disgruntled inhabitants and swelling his numbers as he went. But it was there that things started to turn a bit spicy. His antics had caught the attention of the belligerent Emperor Shah, who started passing laws against Sikhs and ordering them to be killed.

This forced Banda up into hiding in the hills where he got married and even had a kid. But the militant in him mobilised and he was off to fight the good fight pretty sharpish. The problem was that he was too outnumbered this time – they held out for about eight months before the sheer force of the opposition caused the Sikhs to buckle.

Banda was captured following a bloodbath. Roughly 740 men were taken prisoner and the near enough the same again were beheaded and their decapitated heads were carted off as proof of the Mughal-Muslims’ successes, while another couple of hundred were stuck on spikes.

As they entered Delhi, each solider had a head stuck on his bayonet, and the executions en mass began. The leaders of the insurrection were given the choice – turn to Islam or face death. They chose death.

Child torture

But the captors saved the worst fate for Banda and his four-year-old son. First they tortured the little boy in front of his dad, then they asked Banda to stab his own child to death. Naturally, Banda wouldn’t have a bar of it so they did it for him, right there in front of him.

They then turned to the man himself and the torture began. They stuck a dagger in his right eye and out popped his eyeball, then the left promptly followed. What happened next is a quote from a number of sources:

“The cruel devil then took his sword and slashed off Banda’s left foot, then both his arms. But Banda’s features were still calm as if he was at peace with his Creator. Finally they tore off his flesh with red-hot pincers, and there being nothing else left in their book of tortures, they cut his body up into a hundred pieces, and were satisfied.”

He was ultimately decapitated, aged around 56 years old, and left to languish in Sikh minds as a hero of the day.

If you can’t get enough of the gory details, check out write-ups from authors such as: Thornton, Elphinstone, Mohammed Harisi, Daneshwar, Khafi Khan to name a few.

Also on this day

9 June 1939 – Ray Anderson

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7 June 1821 – Tudor Vladimirescu

Posted in Death penalty, Quartered with tags , , on June 7 by Last Writes

Tudor Vladimirescu Today we head to Wallachia – at the foot of the Danube river – for our next termination. Hell-bent on revolution in Romania, Tudor Vladimirescu saw a bloody end after he was diced and dumped in a toilet.

Following a successful stint in the army fighting in the Russo-Turkish war from 1806 to 1812, he came back all fired up. He was even awarded the Order of St Vladimir 3rd degree, which put him above the law – because he couldn’t be prosecuted in either Wallachia or the Ottoman empire, or so he thought…

So, it was with Russian backing that he thought he was acting when he put together an army of his own – a guerrilla brigade made up of Croats, known as pandurs. Vladimirescu was keen to ensure that Romania stayed under military rule, and he had a persuasive way about him and his army respected his ways.

Head-less

Things came to a head when Prince Alexandru Suţu died in January 1821, leaving a leaderless Romania. A committee was put in place but it was only ever temporary. There was a power struggle bubbling under and Vladimirescu quickly took the opportunity to write to the Turks in order to buy him time to team up with the anti-Turkish revolutionaries.

He fortified key monasteries in order to resist a Turkish invasion, then set about explaining his demands. These demands were pretty sound by all accounts: including the prevention of buying key government offices, instead encouraging promotion to office by merit alone, cutting of key taxation and the setting up of a Wallachian army. That all sounded pretty good, so what was not to like?

But the power went to his head and Vladimirescu started getting above his station, wearing the hat reserved for royalty. Slowly, he began losing his support. All this took place amid a bigger power struggle – dissension between the mighty Russians and the Turks, the latter of whom converged on Wallachia.

Pooh-poohed

Naturally, when faced with the size of the Turkish army, Vladimirescu backed off and categorically stated that Wallachia was neutral. But the fact that he was keen to hold talks about compromising with the Turks was not widely supported, so he was arrested just six months after the whole thing had kicked off.

Seen as treason, he was tortured, literally chopped up and chucked down a toilet1. However, his was such an integral part of Romania’s history, that there is now a place called Tudor Vladimirescu in his honour.

1 Some sources state his execution took place on 27 May and that he was disposed of down a well, so we’ll keep checking and update this piece shortly.

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