Heroic Military Academy (Mexico)

The Heroic Military College (officially in Spanish: Heroico Colegio Militar) is the major military educational institution in Mexico. It was founded in 1823 and located in the former Palace of the Inquisition in Mexico City. Initially designated as the Cadet Academy, it was renamed in 1823 as the Colegio Militar. The college was relocated in Perote, Veracruz, before being returned to Mexico City, where it was established in the Betlemitas monastery (today occupied by the Interactive Museum of the Economy and the Museum of the Mexican Army and Air Force). From 1835, the Military College was located in the Recogidas Building (destroyed by an earthquake in 1985). Cadets training for the Mexican Navy originally formed part of the student body, but in 1897, the Military Naval School was established as a separate institution in Veracruz.

Heroico Colegio Militar (Mexico)
Logo del Heroico Colegio Militar Mexico.svg
MottoPor el honor de México (For Mexico's Honor)
TypeMilitary High School
Established1823; 198 years ago (1823)
Commandant of the AcademyBrigadier General Julio Álvarez Arellano
Location, ,
19°15′30″N 99°9′2″W / 19.25833°N 99.15056°W / 19.25833; -99.15056Coordinates: 19°15′30″N 99°9′2″W / 19.25833°N 99.15056°W / 19.25833; -99.15056
AffiliationsSecretariat of National Defense
MascotRoyal Eagle

The Military College comes under the supervision of the Mexican Army and Air Force University and the Army Military Education General Directorate.



Although plans for a military academy were proposed as early as 1818, only in 1822 were such plans materialized, with the efforts of Diego Garcia Conde, the ex-Spanish military officer then serving in the Mexican Army, and then plans for such an academy to be formed were approved by the Mexican imperial government, through the Imperial War Ministry.

In the middle of the year, Emperor Agustin de Iturbide ordered that the Former Inquisition Palace Complex become the headquarters of the now newly founded Military College of Mexico, the Military Cadet Academy, and the Engineers Training School, all under their first director, Brigadier Diego Garcia Conde. By the next year, through the orders of War Minister General Jose Joaquin de Herrera, the Military College of Mexico was relaunched as a separate academy with headquarters at San Carlos Fortress, in Perote, Veracruz state. In 1824, in compliance with an order from President Guadalupe Victoria, 18 cadets of the now called Perote Military College of Mexico, through the permission of then college director Col. Juan Dominguez y Galvez, became the first cadets of the new Naval Aspirants College and the Tlacotalpan Nautical School trained to be the Mexican Navy's future ship officers.

Early yearsEdit

In 1828, due to a campaign against secret societies and Masonic lodges, Lt. Col. Manuel Montano's visit became the reason for the college's first loyalty act by the Corps of Cadets and its faculty, for their response to him was that the Military College should be exempted from the campaign because no one in the College's cadet rosters was either a secret society member nor Mason, and it turned into a national act of loyalty by the college cadets and faculty. As a result of this great deed, the college in March 1828 returned to Mexico City, first in the Bethelemitas convent and later in the Inquisition Palace Complex on July 1. By then, it began to be recognized by every Mexican as the nation's premier military educational institution.

The turmoil that sparked in the 1828 presidential elections took its toll on the College cadets. On September 11, a rebellion led by Generals Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and Jose Maria Lobato denounced the election results ten days before, in which Manuel Gomez Pedraza emerged as the winner. Two months later, on November 30, they together with Lorenzo de Zavala and Col. Santiago Garcia staged a coup d'état that took over the La Acordada building demanding that the election results be voided by Congress. The same day, President Victoria called on the College cadets to proceed to the National Palace, and they fought on the side of the armed forces for 4 days until the fighting ended on December 4, with a compromise reached by both sides. Class would resume later the next day.

Political turmoil broke out again in 1840. On July 13 of that year Gen. Jose Urrea bolted out of jail and led a rebellion against President Anastacio Bustamante, who was later imprisoned in the presidential residence. General Gabriel Valencia then ordered all troops loyal to the President to proceed at once to the city citadel. These included the cadets of the Military College under its then director Brigade General Pedro Conde, who was received by Gen. Valencia and sent a delegation of cadets to the citadel. The College delegation then moved to a church where they fought anti-Bustamante troops, which resulted in two wounded cadets (Juan Rico and Antonio Groso), the former would later die of his wounds sustained. On the 16th President Bustamante left his residence and Gen. Vicente Filisola arrived at the church premises. On that night, when an armistice was made, the attempted coup was already over.

The next year, it relocated to the Chalpultepec Castle in Mexico City. This castle would be, in 6 years time, during the Mexican War, a place where 5 cadets and an officer in the faculty died in defense of the Mexican nation, and it would gain the Heroic designation. After a few years, the College relocated to the Inquisition Palace and later to San Lucas.

In 1846, the College's only naval director, Graduate Ship Captain Francisco Garcia began his duties as College Commandant, a duty lasting until 1847. A sudden rebellion by the Corps of Cadets happened during his tenure.

The Niños HéroesEdit

"Military College of Chapultepec", hand tinted lithograph published by Nathaniel Currier, c. 1847. The flagpole holds a United States flag.

The following year (1847), during the first term of Col. José Mariano Monterde Segura as commandant, the Mexican–American War reached Mexico City and the Military Academy. On September 11 cadets of the Academy were involved in fighting on the Condress Estate. On September 13 Chapultepec Castle and its surroundings became the site of the historic Battle of Chapultepec. Its Mexican Army defenders, under the leadership of Nicolás Bravo, former President of the Republic and a veteran of the war of independence, included about 200 members of the Corps of Cadets, aged between 13 and 19. At the end of the battle five cadets - Juan Escutia (who reportedly leapt to his death wrapped in the Flag of Mexico), Agustin Melgar, Francisco Marquez, Fernando Montes de Oca, and Vicente Suárez; plus faculty member Lieutenant of Juan de la Barrera - all refused to retreat and died in a final stand as the "young heroes" of Academy legend. An unknown proportion of the other cadets became casualties or prisoners during the earlier stages of the battle.

Each year on the anniversary of the battle, the sacrifice of the five Niños Héroes of the Military Academy is remembered nationwide, with a national ceremony at the monument with the Corps in attendance.


In 1858, during the term of Commandant Colonel Luis Tola Algarín, the College moved its facilities to the former Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Mexico City. During the Reform War the same year the Corps of Cadets was involved in a clash with the forces of Gen. Miguel Blanco on October 15 in Toluca. Casualties suffered by the cadets and instructors in this and subsequent actions caused the closure of the College in 1861.

The College was reopened in 1867. Located first in the National Palace the College was moved to various locations before returning to the Chapultepec Castle in 1882. Formerly a joint services institution, the College became an academy for the Mexican Army only in 1897, following the establishment of the Military Naval School in Veracruz.

On 8 February 1913 the 600 cadets of the Military College played a part in the coup known as The Ten Tragic Days against President Francisco Madero.[1] Cadets of the separate Escuela Militar de Aspirantes de Tlalpan (established in 1905 as an additional academy for training junior officers) had joined with regular army units in an ultimately successful attempt to overthrow Madero. However a detachment of cadets from the Heroic Military College, acting on the orders of Deputy Commandant Lieutenant Colonel Víctor Hernández Covarrubias escorted President Madero from Chapultepec Castle to the National Palace on the following day. Termed the Loyalty March, this action is still marked by an annual parade by the Corps of Cadets, attended by the present-day President of Mexico and his Cabinet.

The new government down-graded the role of the Heroic Military College, briefly merging its functions with those of the Escuela Militar de Aspirantes de Tlalpan and accelerating the training of cadets from both academies to reinforce the crumbling Federal Army. Following the overthrow of General Victoriano Huerta in July 1914 and the disbandment of the Federal Army, the College was closed. It was reestablished in February 1920 albeit in a new campus in Popotla, Mexico City. Later that spring the then reestablished cavalry squadron were involved in what has been termed "the final cavalry charge in the Americas". This occurred on May 8, when on the orders of Colonel Rodolfo Casillas the cadets acted in support of regular army dragoons led by General Pilar Sanchez under attack by rebel forces in Apizaco, Tlaxcala. In another engagement two days later a cadet was killed in action in San Marcos while supporting government forces.

The College from 1947 to todayEdit

A cadet holding the golden eagle mascot. A female cadet stands in the foreground. Both wear the gala uniform of the Cadet Corps

In 1947 The Military College celebrated the centenary of the Corps of Cadets' participation in the Battle of Chapultepec, the finest hour of its history. In 1949, the Congress of the Union formally conferred the "Heroic" designation to both the Corps and to the Midshipmen's Battalion of the Naval Military Academy, the latter for its role in resisting the United States occupation of Veracruz in 1914.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Heroic Military College (1820-1970), 1 oz silver coins were minted by the Central Bank. In addition stamps featuring two Military College shakos were printed by the Government of Mexico. A special issue of stamps also commemorated the Golden Jubilee of "the final cavalry charge in the Americas"; carried out by the cavalry cadets of the college in 1920 (see above).

In 1976, the College's present campus in Tlalpan Borough, Mexico City, was formally opened, partially damaged by the 1985 earthquake that struck the city. Today, the commandant of the academy is Brigade General Julio Álvarez Arellano.

The school was used as a setting for Luis Miguel's 1989 music video "La Incondicional". In the video he plays an Air Force cadet who is in love, but he must take his studies as soldier seriously. In a marching scene towards the end of the song one can see the "Por el Honor de Mexico" banner.

Perote, the second home of the Military College, has been dubbed by the Veracruz State Congress as The Cradle of the Military College since 2002.

From 2007, the academy has accepted female cadets. The present Corps is regiment-sized and has among its units a cavalry squadron and an artillery battery, plus an armored cavalry training squadron raised recently - a first in a military academy in Latin America.

Motto and Collegiate SloganEdit

Por el Honor de Mexico (For Mexico's Honor) is the college motto, made in a contest organized by radio station XEQ in commemoration of the centenary of the defense of Chalpultepec Castle in 1947.

Every midday, after the afternoon ceremony and before the midday parade, the following cheer is done by the Corps of Cadets:

  • Cadet Corps Commander: "Heroico Colegio Militar" ("Heroic Military College")
  • Cadets: Por el Honor de Mexico! (For Mexico's Honor!)

Collegiate Hymn and MarchEdit

Hymn of the Heroic Military CollegeEdit

A military parade part of a ceremony on Heroico Colegio Militar at Tlalpan, Mexico City.
Military College

The Hymn of the Heroic Military College was composed in 1930 by Prof. José Ignacio Ríos del Río.[2]


Vibre el clarín de la guerra, resuenen las fanfarrias
Redoblen los tambores, una marcha triunfal
Y lleven de la Patria a todos los confines
Tu nombre sacrosanto,
Colegio Militar
Tu nombre sacrosanto,
Colegio Militar

Colegio sacrosanto, de memoria bendita
de forjaran sus almas, Montes de Oca y Melgar
La Patria bate marcha de honor a tu pasado,
de epopeyas gloriosas y de nombre inmortal.

Y en un gesto sublime de amor y de cariño,
bendice a los efebos que supieron morir
bañados por las ráfagas de luz espendorosa
que el ángel de la gloria enviara del cenit.

Repeat Chorus

Regimental March of the Heroic Military CollegeEdit

The Regimental March was composed by Lieutenant José Sotero Ortiz Sánchez, in time for the College's 1947 centenary of the Battle of Chapultepec.


Listen hcm

Páginas del libro de la historia del Heroico Colegio Militar
de epopeyas que ya jamás se borran del santuario de la inmortalidad.
Canto que se eleva a la memoria como ofrenda de honor a la lealtad
de los héroes que envueltos por la gloria grandioso ejemplo que nos dio la libertad.
Repeat All

Juventud de mi patria sublime, que marcháis con gallarda ilusión
aumentáreis la historia que escribe nobles hechos de sangre y honor.
Yunque forjador de hombres de guerra como Suárez, Escutia y Melgar,
Montes de Oca, Márquez y De la Barrera, los niños héroes de mi México inmortal!
Repeat All



No. Period Rank Notes
1 1818–1823 Brigadier General Diego García Conde
2 1823–1824 Cavalry Colonel Juan Domínguez y Gálvez
3 1825–1828 Cavalry Lieutenant Colonel José Manuel Arechaga
4 1835–1836 Engineers Colonel Ignacio Mora y Villamil
5 1836–1846 Brigadier General Pedro García Conde
6 1846–1847 Graduate Captain, Commander Francisco García Salinas Only naval officer commandant of the College
7 1847–1853 Graduate Gen., Engineers Colonel José Mariano Monterde Segura Led the defense of Chapultepec Castle during the Battle of Chapultepec which took a heavy toll for the Academy
8 1853–1854 Graduate Gen., Engineers Colonel Santiago Blanco Duque de Estrada
9 1854–1859 Graduate Gen., Engineers Colonel Luis Tola Algarín
10 1859–1860 Engineers Colonel (Staff) José Mariano Monterde Segura 2nd Period
11 1861–1863 Brigade General José Justo Alvarez Valenzuela
12 1868–1871 Engineers Colonel Amado Camacho
13 1871–1880 Engineers Colonel Miguel Quintana González
14 1880–1883 Divisional General Sóstenes Rocha
15 1883–1884 General Graduado, Coronel Tec. de Artillería Francisco de Paula Méndez
16 1884–1906 Engineers Colonel General Juan Villegas Highest-ranking officer commandant of the College
17 1906–1912 General de Brigada de E.M. Esp. Joaquín Beltrán Castañares
18 1912–1913 Brigade General Felipe Ángeles
19 1913 Artillery Technical Colonel Miguel Bernard
20 1914 Division General Samuel García Cuéllar
Closed in 1914 during Mexican Revolution, reopened 1920
21 1920 Brigade General Angel Vallejo
22 1920 Brigade General Joaquín Mucel Acereto
23 1920–1921 General de Brigada Marcelino Murrieta Murrieta
24 1921–1923 General de Brigada Víctor Hernández Covarrubias
25 1923 General de Brigada José Domingo Ramírez Garrido
26 1923–1925 General de Brigada Miguel Angel Peralta
27 1925 General de Brigada I.C. Manuel Mendoza Sarabia
28 1925 Brigadier General Amado Aguirre Santiago
29 1925–1927 Division general Miguel M. Acosta Guajardo
30 1927–1928 General de Brigada Juan José Ríos
31 1928–1931 General de División Gilberto R. Limón
32 1931–1935 General de División Joaquín Amaro Domínguez
33 1935–1936 General de Brigada Rafael Cházaro Pérez
34 1936 General de Brigada Samuel Carlos Rojas Raso
35 1936–1938 General de Brigada Othón León Lobato
36 1939–1941 General de Brigada Alberto Zuno Hernández
37 1941–1942 General de División Marcelino García Barragán
38 1942–1945 General de División Gilberto R. Limón 2nd Period
39 1945–1948 General de Brigada Luis Alamillo Flores
40 1948–1950 General de Brigada Rafael Ávila Camacho
41 1950–1953 General de División Tomás Sánchez Hernández
42 1953–1955 General de División Leobardo Ruiz Camarillo
43 1955–1959 General de División Francisco de Jesús Grajales Godoy
44 1959–1965 General de Brigada Jerónimo Gomar Suástegui
45 1965–1970 General de Brigada Roberto Yáñez Vázquez
46 1971–1973 General de Brigada Miguel Rivera Becerra
47 1976 General de División Salvador Revueltas Olvera
48 1976–1980 General de División Absalón Castellanos Domínguez
49 1980–1982 General de División Enrique Cervantes Aguirre
50 1983–1985 General de Brigada Jaime Contreras Guerrero
51 1985–1988 General de División Carlos Cisneros Montes de Oca
52 1988–1991 General de División Carlos Duarte Sacramento
53 1991–1994 General de Brigada Luis Ángel Fuentes Álvarez
54 1994–1997 General de Brigada Rigoberto Castillejos Adriano
55 1997–2000 General de Brigada Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda
56 2000–2002 Divisional General Tomás Ángeles Dauahare
57 2002–2003 General de Brigada Manuel Sánchez Aguilar
58 2003–2006 Brigade General Carlos García Priani
59 2007–2008 Brigade General Francisco Tomas Gonzalez Loaiza
60 2008–2011 Brigade General Gonzalo Bernardino Duran Valdez
61 2011–2013 Brigade General Sergio Alberto Martinez Castuera
62 2013–2017 Brigade General André Georges Foullon Van Lissum
63 2017–2020 Brigade General Julio Álvarez Arellano
64 2020– Brigade General Fidel Mondragón Rivero

Filming locationEdit

The site was used as a location for the 1990 movie Total Recall.[4] The buildings of the academy were used as apartments and a subway entrance.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ronald Atkin, page 126 "Revolution! Mexico 1910-20", Granada Publishing Ltd. 1973
  2. ^ http://www.sedena.gob.mx/index.php?id=234
  3. ^ Directores del Heroico Colegio Militar, Secretariat of National Defense (Mexico) (SEDENA)
  4. ^ "Total Recall (1990) Filming Locations". IMDB. Retrieved 21 April 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)


Further readingEdit

  • Camp, Roderic Ai. Generals in the Palacio: The Military in Modern Mexico. New York: Oxford University Press 1992.
  • DePalo, William A. Jr. The Mexican National Army, 1822-1852. College Station TX: Texas A&M Press 1997.
  • Liewen, Edwin. Mexican Militarism: The Political Rise and Fall of the Revolutionary Army. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1968.