Pancho Villa: Short bio and facts
Pancho Villa was born José Doroteo Arango Arámbula, and one of the best-known of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution.
His father died when he was 15, and he began working on a hacienda to support the family. In 1894, Pancho Villa came home to find that the owner of the hacienda was going to sexually assault his 12-year old sister. Pancho Villa shot the owner, and then escaped to the mountains.
From 1894 – 1910 Villa ran from the law and joined a group of bandits, eventually becoming their leader. It was during this period that he started to use the name Francisco “Pancho” Villa.
Villa was recruited for the revolutionary army that was created to unseat Porfirio Diaz, president of Mexico. Many blamed Diaz for the hardships endured by Mexico’s poor, so Villa joined in support of Francisco Madero because of his commitment to bring change to the poor.
Madero eventually assumed the presidency, but a new rebellion appeared. After marrying Maria Luz Corral in 2011, Villa was once again called into combat. In early 1912, he worked with General Victoriano Huerta to recruit troops and support Madero. Later in the year, Huerta accused Villa of stealing a horse, and he was imprisoned until the end of December when he escaped.
Huerta became an enemy of Madero and killed the president on February 1913 to claim the office for himself. Throughout the next year, Villa partnered with Venustiano Carranza to successfully resist Huerta. Carranza and Villa ended up becoming enemies, plunging Mexico into a civil war between the two factions.
After the U.S. took the side of Carranza, Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico to steal ammunition and rob banks on March 9, 1916. The attack was the first on U.S. soil since 1812. It failed, and the U.S. sent General John Pershing to track Villa down. Pershing never found him.
On May 20, 1920, Carranza was assassinated. Adolfo De la Huerta became interim president of Mexico and negotiated Villa’s retirement.
The revolution made Villa rich. When he retired from the revolution in 1920, he had a large ranch with livestock, a pension and even land and money for his men.
Villa had a short retirement. He was gunned down in his car on July 1923.
* Pancho Villa never drank, but during the revolution, he allowed his men to drink
* Villa had no ambitions to be President of Mexico. He wanted to unseat president Porfirio Diaz and he was a big supporter of Francisco Madero.
Father: Luis Férman Gurrola
Mother: Micaela Arámbula de Arango
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