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History Information

Mexican Independence People

Mex. Items | Mex. People | Mex. Events

Emiliano Zapata
(1879-1919), Mexican revolutionary leader and agrarian reformer, born in San Miguel Anenecuilco (now Anenecuilco de los Zapata), in Morelos State. An illiterate tenant farmer of almost pure Native American blood, he recruited an army of Native Americans from villages and haciendas in Morelos and, under the rallying cry “Land and Liberty,” joined the Mexican revolutionist Francisco Indalécio Madero in the 1910 revolt against the Mexican soldier-statesman Porfirio Díaz. Having lost faith in Madero, who assumed the presidency in 1911, Zapata formulated his agrarian reform plan; known as the Plan of Ayala, it called for the land to be redistributed among the Native Americans. During the provisional presidencies of the Mexican soldier-politician Victoriano Huerta and, later, the Mexican statesman Venustiano Carranza, Zapata continued his resistance to the government. By this time Zapata had extended his power throughout southern Mexico. With the Mexican revolutionary general Francisco Villa, Zapata marched on Mexico City, entering it the first of three times in 1914. The following year Zapata withdrew to Morelos where, still resisting, he later was murdered by an agent of Carranza.

Although regarded as merely a pillaging bandit by his enemies, Zapata was idolized by the Native Americans as the true revolutionary reformer and hero; his life has inspired countless legends and ballads.

Victorano Huerta
Victoriano Huerta seized Mexico’s presidency in February 1913, during the Mexican Revolution. He resigned in July 1914 after his actions angered the United States government and prompted U.S. intervention in the war.

Alvaro Obregon
Huerta’s seizure of power in the capital soon provoked new revolts in the provinces. Zapata once again revolted in the south, motivated mainly by his belief that Huerta would not act on the issue of land reform. The chief opposition to Huerta came from the “Men of the North”: Álvaro Obregón of Sonora, Pancho Villa of Chihuahua, and Venustiano Carranza of Coahuila. The three leaders joined together in an uneasy, mutually suspicious coalition that aimed to overthrow Huerta. Carranza assumed command of the alliance, whose supporters were known as “Constitutionalists” for their desire for a legal, constitutional approach to solving Mexico’s problems.

Venustiano Carranza

Born in 1859 as one of fifteen children of a wealthy landowner. Well educated. Entered politics as a municipal president. Later served as a state legislator, federal deputy and state governor under Díaz.
Joined with Madero in 1909 to plan an armed rebellion against Díaz. Minister of war in Madero's provisional government and later interim governor of Coahuila. Elected governor in December 1911. Assumed leadership of the rebellion against Huerta. Named First Chief of the Constitutionalists.
Elected president in 1917. Tried to install a candidate favorable to him in the 1920 presidential election. Obregon, who was a candidate for president, rebelled. Carranza tried to flee to Veracruz. On May 20. 1920, he was killed as he slept in a small wooden hut in San Antonio Tlaxcalantongo.