Dia de la Marina

San Felipe, Baja, Mexico

Mexico's history has shown the importance of being able to patrol and defend her coastlines in order to prevent invasions. Many such conflicts have occurred in Mexico's past. Along with defense, there is a need to develop and take advantage of the oceans in a rational and organized manner. For Mexico, its seas are a great source of bounty and employment. Because of these reasons, the history of the Mexican National Navy runs parallel to the birth of Mexico as a nation.

Navy Day in San FelipeIhe Military Naval school of Mexico was created in 1897, during the regime of Porfirio Diaz. But because of its maritime inexperience, Mexico's navy had many foreign officials, much to the irritation of nationalists. The country took its first step toward maritime solidarity on June 1, 1917, by nationalizing the navy. On that date the merchant ship Tabasco sailed from the port of Veracruz under the command of Captain Rafael Izaguirre Castañares, with a totally Mexican crew. This was the birth of Dia de la Marina (Navy Day) .

The voyage of the Tobasco was a symbolic ratification of the recent Article 32 of the Magna Carta of 1917, which insured national loyalty by declaring that no matter how invaluable an individual's contribution to the navy might be, if he was not born in Mexico, he could not serve in the navy.

On December 30, 1939 President Lazaro Cardenas reorganized his cabinet and formed the Department of the Navy. However just one year later, on December 31, 1940, it was converted to its present status as Secretary of the Navy.

Official recognition of Dia de la Marina was by a presidential agreement published in the official gazette of Mexico, April 30, 1942.

Recently President Vicente Fox Quesada was aboard the flagship Ignacio Allende during Navy Day celebrations in the Port of Veracruz. Part of his speech contained the following:

In Mexico, the sea holds great hope for the future and economic growth, so the best way to celebrate Navy Day is to assign greater resources so that the Navy can carry out its mission of protecting the country.

During Navy Day, San Felipe launches a small flotilla for a "drive by". Pangas and shrimp boats, some decked with wreaths and arbors of flowers, motor by the town's beach drive (the Malecon). Flowers are often jettisoned in memory of sailors, both civilian and military, whose lives have been lost in the performance of their duties. Live music and celebrations follow.