Pancho Villa's revolution

The life and death of a revolutionary like Francisco Villa is covered through documentary graphics, a testimony of moments that marked the legend of a figure.

Momento en que Francisco Villa es abatido (1923) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

On the morning of July 20, 1923, revolutionary General Doroteo Arango, better known as Francisco Villa, was assassinated by a group of men while driving his car through the streets of Parral, Chihuahua.

Retrato del general Francisco Villa by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

With Villa's death ended the era of the main caudillos of the armed stage of the Mexican Revolution. His figure was surrounded by legends that exalted him as a revolutionary leader and others that referred to dark and violent events.

Francisco Villa, de pie, portando un rifle y carrilleras (1911) by AGN, Archivos Fotográficos, Propiedad Artística y Literaria, H. J. Gutiérrez-Revolución-99, caja 10, PAL-1484.Archivo General de la Nación - México

The story of Pancho Villa began on June 5, 1878 in the town of La Coyotada, in the state of Durango. He spent his childhood working as a laborer on a hacienda, from which he eventually fled to the mountains after a confrontation with the owner.

Pancho Villa posando con un revolver en la cintura (1922) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

To survive, he joined a group of bandits who stole cattle, was trained in the handling of weapons and learned to move between the roads of the mountains to evade the justice imparted by the Porfirista regime. It was at this time that he adopted the name Francisco Villa.

Consejo revolucionario encabezado por Francisco I. Madero. (1911) by AGN, México contemporáneo, Colecciones, Colección de Documentos del Instituto de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana, caja 7.3, exp. 8862 fotografía 1315.Archivo General de la Nación - México

In 1910, Francisco I. Madero planned a revolt against the government of Porfirio Díaz and commissioned Abraham González, leader of the anti-reelectionism, to get enough troops. González did not hesitate to recruit Villa to put him at the head of the northern troops.

Francisco Villa, parado junto a una máquina del ferrocarril. (1912) by AGN, Archivos Fotográficos, Propiedad Artística y Literaria, La Rochester. Revolución/35, caja 17, PAL- 2675.Archivo General de la Nación - México

The revolutionary life of Francisco Villa began under the orders of the Maderista movement and quickly became an important figure in fundamental moments such as the taking of Ciudad Juárez, which meant the triumph of the revolution against the Díaz dictatorship.

Pancho Villa posando con un revolver en la cintura. (1922) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

With Madero in the presidency, problems began with the other revolutionary leaders, because they demanded that what was established in the Plan of San Luis be executed. Pascual Orozco was one of those who rebelled and, on Huerta's orders, Villa intervened to stop him.

Petición de indulto para el general Francisco Villa por parte de Antonio Méndez Castellanos. (1912) by AGN, México contemporáneo, Archivos Fco. I Madero, Caja 009 exp. 222-1Archivo General de la Nación - México

Huerta did not like Villa's attitude and branded him as insubordinate to send him to the wall, but Madero intervened so that he was only imprisoned, first in Lecumberri and then in the prison of Santiago Tlatelolco, from which he escaped in December 1912.

General Fernando Trucy y Francisco Villa acompañados de otras personas. (1912) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Colección Fotográfica, Propiedad Artística y Literaria, Revolución. Varios/Revolución/24, Caja 17, PAL 2598Archivo General de la Nación - México

Villa took refuge in the United States in early 1913, but soon received the news that Madero had been killed by Huerta's forces. For this reason, and with the aim of forming a new army, he returned to the state of Chihuahua in the company of eight men.

Villa y un grupo de Dorados rinden las armas en Sabinas. by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Colección Fotográfica, Propiedad Artística y Literaria, La Rochester. Revolución/26, Caja 17, PAL 2666Archivo General de la Nación - México

Once on Mexican soil, Villa recruited an army of approximately 300 soldiers. From that moment began the first communications with Venustiano Carranza, who was organizing the forces known as constitutionalists.

Hombres ejecutados en el paredón by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

Among the populations, the name of Pancho Villa was positioned as that of a leader of great social actions. Although it was also said that he had a radical thought and that he resorted to violence as a means to dispense justice.

El coronel Francisco Villa y su denominado Estado Mayor. (1911) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

In September 1913, multiple guerrilla corps from the north of the country in favor of the revolutionary movement met to give rise to the army called Division of the North and opted for Villa to be the general in chief given his experience and good military performance.

Francisco Villa firmando la bandera constitucionalista (1914) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

The Northern Division, in a great military feat, managed to take the capital of the state of Chihuahua. This action allowed Villa to provisionally occupy the government of the region and impose his agrarian policy of distributing land to the peasants who worked them.

Villa sus Dorados. (1915) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

By 1914, Villa created the so-called Dorados, a group of loyal men who became the squadron that served as his personal escort. In addition to this, he achieved the professionalization in every sense of each of the lines of the Northern Division.

Coronel Francisco Villa con su ametralladora y un grupo de revolucionarios. (1912) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos Colección Fotográfica Propiedad Artística y Literaria, La Rochester. Revolución/36, Caja 17, PAL 2676.Archivo General de la Nación - México

At its best, from the military point of view, the Northern Division achieved the capture of Zacatecas, which meant the overthrow of the coup government of Victoriano Huerta, but it was also the point of rupture with Carranza and the constitutionalist forces.

La facción villista durante la Soberana Convención Revolucionaria de Aguascalientes. (1914) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

At the Convention of Aguascalientes, the political and ideological differences between Villa and Carranza were irreconcilable. This situation provoked a struggle between Villistas and Zapatistas against Carrancistas, which culminated in the victory of the latter.

Carta del general Francisco Villa al general Emiliano Zapata (1914) by AGN, México Contemporáneo, Colecciones, Colección Revolución, caja 3, exp. 41 BISArchivo General de la Nación - México

Francisco Villa and Emiliano Zapata, through letters, agreed to disown Carranza as First Chief of the Constitutionalist Army and then leave for Mexico City to besiege it and overthrow the government. This started a new civil war.

El general Francisco Villa supervisando sus tropas sobre ferrocarril. (1915) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

Due to logistics and superiority of resources, Villa was defeated by the Constitutionalist Army, commanded by Álvaro Obregón. This marked the end of the Northern Division, whose troops ended up allied with the enemy and others were exiled from the territory.

Francisco Villa, de pie, portando un rifle y carrilleras. (1911) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos Colección Fotográfica Propiedad Artística y Literaria, H. J. Gutiérrez/ Revolución/99, Caja 10, PAL 1484.Archivo General de la Nación - México

As in his youth, Francisco Villa returned to the Chihuahuan mountains to make them his headquarters from 1916 to 1920, years in which he carried out the coup to Columbus, New Mexico, as revenge against the United States for intervening in favor of Carranza.

Soldados villistas ahorcados en el exterminio de la División del Norte. (1916) by Archivo General de la Nación, Archivos Fotográficos, Soldados Villistas ahorcados, Soldados Villistas ahorcadosArchivo General de la Nación - México

Among Villa's enemies was General Francisco Murguía. This bloody relationship was full of villistas hanged by Murguía and the harsh revenges of Villa, as when he ordered the execution of some soldaderas who were about to kill him.

Pancho Villa montando a caballo. (1922) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

On May 21, 1920, Venustiano Carranza was assassinated after his government was ignored through the Agua Prieta Plan. Villa took advantage of this to agree with Adolfo de la Huerta and Plutarco Elías Calles his retirement from public and military life.

Francisco Villa cargando a un niño (1922) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

With the promise of never again taking up arms against the government, Villa was granted his desire to make a normal life inside the Hacienda de Canutillo, located in Durango. Thus ended his stage in the revolutionary struggle.

Retrato Francisco Villa y su legitima esposa Luz Corral. (1922) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

In the Hacienda de Canutillo, the former revolutionary gathered the different children he had with more than 23 women. It is said that he married all of them, but only Luz Corral was recognized as the legitimate one.

El cadáver del general Francisco Villa (1923) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y García, Caja 1-7Archivo General de la Nación - México

After residing two years in Canutillo, the Centauro del Norte held talks with Adolfo de la Huerta to support his presidential candidacy. However, after De la Huerta's break with Calles and Obregón, he would be assassinated.

Corrido de Pancho Villa de Miguel Ángel Menéndez. (1924) by AGN, Archivos fotográficos, Colección Felipe Teixidor, FTx. 480Archivo General de la Nación - México

The military campaigns of Francisco Villa built a legend that is honored through verses, melodies and writings, finally, Villa fought for the dignity and vindication of those who were victims of an unequal social system.

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