Francisco "Pancho" Villa was initially a bandit, who became a general in the Mexican Revolution. He was a key figure in the revolutionary violence that forced out President Porfirio Díaz and brought Francisco I. Madero to power in 1911. In 1913-14 he was led a division of the Constitutionalist Army directed by Venustiano Carranza, then breaking with that faction and allying with Emiliano Zapata. He was at the height of his power and popularity in early 1915, but was decisively defeated by Constitutionalist General Alvaro Obregón in summer 1915. In 1916 he conducted a raid in Columbus, New Mexico, promoting the U.S. Army to invade Mexico in an unsuccessful attempt to capture him. When President Carranza was ousted from power in 1920, Villa negotiated an amnesty with interim President Adolfo de la Huerta and was given a landed estate, on the condition he retire from politics. He was assassinated in 1923. Although his faction did not prevail in the Revolution, he is one of its most prominent figures.
Villa was commander of the División del Norte, 'Division of the North', in the Constitutionalist Army, in the northern state of Chihuahua.