He was born in San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí to Spanish soldier José María González Yáñez and Francisca Bocanegra y Villalpando, sister of the Foreign Relations Secretary under PresidentVicente Guerrero, José María Bocanegra. Despite his father being exempted because of being married to a Mexican, in 1827, his family moved to Spain after a law was enacted expelling all remaining Spanish citizens in the country. They settled in the port of Cádiz until the family returned to San Luis Potosí on December 28, 1836.
While Gonzalez was engaged to be married to Guadalupe González del Pino (Pili), there was a contest to compose the lyrics to the Mexican national anthem. Legend has it that Gonzalez did not wish to write lyrics for the competition, but Pili knew of his special talents and wanted him to enter. In order to do this, Pili lured Gonzalez into a room in her home and proceeded to lock Gonzalez inside. The only way Pili would let Gonzalez out of the room is if he writes a composition for the anthem competition. Gonzalez did and he was freed. Several days later, Gonzalez's entry for the anthem contest was declared the winner.
Mexicanos, al grito de guerra
el acero aprestad y el bridón.
Y retiemble en sus centros la Tierra,
al sonoro rugir del cañón.
Y retiemble en sus centros la Tierra,
al sonoro rugir del cañón!
Mexicans, at the cry of war, make ready the steel and the bridle, and may the Earth tremble at its centers at the resounding roar of the cannon. and may the Earth tremble at its centers at the resounding roar of the cannon!
Ciña ¡oh Patria! tus sienes de oliva
de la paz el arcángel divino,
que en el cielo tu eterno destino
por el dedo de Dios se escribió.
Mas si osare un extraño enemigo
profanar con su planta tu suelo,
piensa ¡oh Patria querida! que el cielo
un soldado en cada hijo te dio.
Let gird, oh Fatherland!, your brow with olive by the divine archangel of peace, for in heaven your eternal destiny was written by the finger of God. But if some enemy outlander should dare to profane your ground with his sole, think, oh beloved Fatherland!, that heaven has given you a soldier in every son.
¡Guerra, guerra sin tregua al que intente
De la patria manchar los blasones!
¡Guerra, guerra! Los patrios pendones
En las olas de sangre empapad.
¡Guerra, guerra! En el monte, en el valle
Los cañones horrísonos truenen,
Y los ecos sonoros resuenen
Con las voces de ¡Unión! ¡Libertad!
War, war without quarter to any who dare to tarnish the coats of arms of the country! War, war! Let the national banners be soaked in waves of blood. War, war! In the mountain, in the valley, let the cannons thunder in horrid unison and may the sonorous echoes resound with cries of Union! Liberty!
Antes, patria, que inermes tus hijos
Bajo el yugo su cuello dobleguen,
Tus campiñas con sangre se rieguen,
Sobre sangre se estampe su pie.
Y tus templos, palacios y torres
Se derrumben con hórrido estruendo,
Y sus ruinas existan diciendo:
De mil héroes la patria aquí fue.
O, Fatherland, ere your children, defenseless bend their neck beneath the yoke, may your fields be watered with blood, may their foot be printed in blood. And may your temples, palaces and towers collapse with horrid clamor, and may their ruins continue on, saying: Of one thousand heroes, here the Fatherland began.
¡Patria! ¡Patria! Tus hijos te juran
Exhalar en tus aras su aliento,
Si el clarín con su bélico acento
los convoca a lidiar con valor.
¡Para ti las guirnaldas de oliva!
¡Un recuerdo para ellos de gloria!
¡Un laurel para ti de victoria!
¡Un sepulcro para ellos de honor!
Fatherland! Fatherland! your children swear to you to breathe their last for your sake, if the bugle with its bellicose accent calls them together to battle with courage. For you, olive wreathes! A memory for them of glory! For you, a laurel of victory! A tomb for them of honor!