The Plaza Primo de Verdad is a public plaza that even long time Mexico City residents stroll by withouta thought to its origins. Primo de Verdad, though difficult for English speakers to grasp, is the abbreviated name of Francisco Primo de Verdad y Ramos.
Primo de Verdad was a prominent proponent of Mexican independence from Spain. This was well before the movement got started and took off after 1810. Primo de Verdad, in 1808 advocated for the principle that the nation’s sovereignty is based in its people. He was prosecuted, branded a heretic, and died within the cells of the Archbishop’s Palace.
But the little center city plaza had by then also been long known as the Plazuela de Jesús. This was for its location just above the Hospital de Jesús. It’s also referred to as the Antigua Plazuela de la Paja. It was the site of an open market in the mid-18th century, and later the Portacoeli Dominican School. In 1742, the Dominicans also rented most of the ground level to merchants.
The statue of Primo de Verdad was part of the 1969 rehabilitation of the plaza. It coincided with the construction of Metro Line 2. In fact, underneath the plaza is a section of the long Bookstore Tunnel that connects Metro Zócalo-Tenochtitlan with Metro Pino Suarez to the south.
Today, perhaps obviously, the Plaza Primo de Verdad is in the center of everything. Directly across from the Museum of Mexico City, it’s often a stop on a walk southward to the Jardín San Miguel and the Pino Suarez area.
Sources cited on this page:
• cdmx200lugares.com/Rafael Pérez Gay: Plaza Francisco Primo de Verdad
• Vida de Peatón/Estatua de Francisco Primo de Verdad y Ramos