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HOME   -   PEOPLE IN HISTORY A-Z   -   PANCHO VILLA

 
   


PANCHO VILLA 1878 - 1923
PANCHO VILLA
1878 - 1923

 

Hero or Villain? Revolutionary.


Francisco "Pancho" Villa was originally Doroteo Arango, but Pancho caught on better with anyone who felt like joining him in the fight that originally had the aim to get rid of Mexican dictator
 Porfirio Díaz.

As a guerrilla leader, Villa controlled Chihuahua for about two years during the  Mexican Revolution.

Pancho Villa might or might not have raided Columbus, New Mexico, in 1916.

In any event, as a consequence of the Columbus Raid, the US sent John J. Pershing after Pancho Villa. Without success.



Pancho Villa's Stamina

In his book The Life and Times of Pancho Villa, historian Friedrich Katz tells you what was remarkable about the man.

"It is doubtful whether many military leaders would have continued to fight had they suffered defeats of such magnitude as the ones that Villa suffered at Celaya.

Villa, however, seems to have had unlimited amounts of self-confidence, courage, and endurance.

Above all, he had such charismatic appeal that his soldiers were willing to continue the fight and that he was even able to win new recruits for his army."


 

Pancho Villa's Staff

Luis Aguirre Benavides was Pancho's secretary.

Another good friend of Villa's was Rodolfo Fierro, who passionately did all of Pancho's dirty work.

Arguably the best trained soldier in the field of the Mexican Revolution was Villa's general  Felipe Ángeles.

 

Doroteo Arango without hat
Doroteo Arango without hat
Archivo Histórico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
 

 

Pancho Villa - Early Years

Pancho was born on June 5, 1878, at the Rancho de la Coyotada on the Hacienda del Rio Grande, one of the largest haciendas in the state of Durango. The hacienda owner was the López Negrete family.

Francisco "Pancho" Villa was baptized Doroteo Arango. There are different opinions about his real name.


 

Pancho Villa's Family

Pancho Villa's father was Agustín Arango. His mother was María Micaela Arambula. The couple worked as sharecroppers on the hacienda.

Pancho's father died when he was five years old.

Pancho Villa had four siblings. His brothers were Antonio and Hipólito. Pancho's sister was Martina.
 


Ol' Pancho
PANCHO
Bettmann Archive


 

Pancho Villa's Politics, Successes, and Defeats

On September 30, 1914, Pancho issued his Manifesto for the Mexican People. Its complete title is Manifesto - Addressed by General Francisco Villa to the Nation, and documents justifying the disavowal of Venustiano Carranza as First Chief of the Revolution.

Pancho Villa's finest hour was at the end of the year 1914, when he, together with Emiliano Zapata, moved into Mexico City. However, beginning with the year 1915, and while fighting against Carranza, Pancho Villa's life went bad fast.


 

Pancho Villa's Looks

Pancho Villa's physical appearance is described as tall, as a matter of fact taller than Zapata, robust, approx. 180 pounds, with a light complexion.


Francisco "Pancho" Villa
PANCHO VILLA AND AMIGOS READY TO RUMBLE
Franklin Lee Cleavenger Photography Collection

 

 

Pancho Villa's Love Life and Offspring

If you think Elizabeth Taylor got married often, learn from Pancho Villa. Pancho seems to have been using marriage proposals as a pick-up line. Girls all over the place were delighted. Thus, he ended up having many kids by many girls. In other words, if you find out that you are related to Pancho Villa, join the club.

Pancho might or might not have married Petra Espinoza in Parral.

After just a brief courtship, Pancho Villa married Maria Luz Corral. He convinced the priest that neither one would really have the time for his confession before the marriage. This relationship ended in 1921.
 

Pancho Villa and his wife Luz Corral
PANCHO VILLA AND HIS WIFE LUZ CORRAL
El Paso Library
 


Juana Torres
was also married to Pancho at some point. Juana's love faded when Pancho Villa put Juana's mother and sister in prison for stealing his money.

Among others, Pancho also married Soledad Seañez and Austreberta Renterta.

So how did he pull it off? Pancho became a pro for simulated marriages. After the ceremony, he told the judge to burn the official papers. Or else. That simple.

Pancho had a son named Augustin. Augustin's mother was Asuncion Villaescusa.

Pancho had a daughter named Reynalda. Not sure about her mother.

Pancho had a daughter named Micaela. Micaela's mother was Petra Espinoza.
 

Pancho Villa 1878 - 1923
PANCHO VILLA
Library of Congress

 



Pancho Villa's Assassination

Pancho Villa was assassinated on July 20, 1923. Villa was in his Dodge Sedan with his bodyguards, driving home from Parral to Canutillo.

A street vendor was waving to him at the intersection Benito Juarez / Gabino Barveda. Pancho slowed his car to return the greeting and the vendor shouted "¡Viva Villa!". The shout was a signal for a squad of gunmen concealed in a house by the roadside.

They opened fire, the car swerved off the road and crashed into a tree. Villa was killed instantly, riddled by seven, some say nine, bullets. Four of his bodyguards were killed with him.

Among the ones killed were: Trillo (the chauffeur), and Daniel Tamayo (Villa's assistant). Three members of his escort were wounded: Rafael Medrano, Ramón Contreras, and Claro Hurtado.

Villa was buried in the Parral cemetery.

On February 6, 1926, grave robbers had a field day. Pancho Villa's head disappeared and was never recovered. Of course there were all kind of rumors where the head went.

Back to 1923. Shortly after Pancho Villa's killing, Jesús Salas Barrazas, the congressman for the Eloro district of Durango, was arrested and charged with the murder of Pancho Villa. Barrazas claimed innocence but, on September 13, 1923, was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He served only 6 months.

Shortly before his death in 1951, Barrazas confessed to being one of the seven men who had ambushed Villa.
 

PANCHO VILLA ON HORSEBACK
PANCHO VILLA ON HORSEBACK
Archivo Histórico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México


 

Pancho Villa's Legacy

In 1976, President Luis Echeverría dedicated the Monument of the Revolution in Mexico City. Once more but this time by presidential decree, Pancho, or what was left of him, was dug out and re-buried in Mexico City alongside Francisco Madero and Venustiano Carranza.

Pancho's girl Austreberta and some of his children were present at the ceremony. Luz Corral didn't show. She said the only proper place to bury Pancho Villa would have been the crypt in Chihuahua.

In 1979, a statue of Pancho Villa was erected in Tuscon, Arizona. Talk about split reaction.

 


Pancho Villa All-Time Records - The División del Norte

In his book The Life & Times of Pancho Villa, author Friedrich Katz speculates that, "Pancho Villa's División del Norte was probably the largest revolutionary army that Latin America ever produced."

All-Time Records in History
Largest revolutionary army in Latin America

In its prime, the División del Norte was about 50,000 troops strong.


 

GENERAL PANCHO VILLA
GENERAL PANCHO VILLA
Archivo Histórico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

 



Pancho Villa Songs

If you are a real legend, people will be singing about you. Swing along while listening to General Villa's corrido. A corrido is a Mexican ballad, by the way.

 

 

 

Pancho Villa's Short Biography
 

June 5, 1878

 

Birth in Rio Grande, Durango, Mexico

     

1909

 

Marries Maria Luz Corral

     

1910

 

Joins the Mexican Revolution on the rebels site as captain

     

1911

 

Wins the Battle of Cuidad Juarez, Diaz packs his bags, and Madero becomes new president

     

1912

 

Death sentence for disobeying orders, sentence is changed to two years in prison, Villa flees to El Paso, Texas

     

1913

 

Madero gets himself killed, Huerta is the new president, Villa feels hot under the collar and conquers Chihuahua

     

1914

 

US intervention in Veracruz, Huerta resigns, Carranza is the new president, Villa and Zapata are having a good time in the National Palace in Mexico City

     

1915

 

Villa fights Carranzas troops now, is having a nightmare in the Battle of Celaya, US recognized Carranza government, it goes downhill with Pancho

     

1916

 

Raid on Columbus, NM, allegedly initiated and executed by Pancho Villa

     

1916 / 1917

 

As a consequence of the Columbus Raid, Pancho is on the run from General Pershing and 3,000 US troops that roam on Mexican soil without impunity

     

1918

 

Continues fighting against Carranza's army

     

1919

 

Defeat at Juarez

     

1920

 

Carranza assassinated, Villa negotiates a peace with Interim President Adolfo de la Huerta. Villa agrees to retire. He purchases the Hacienda Canutillo in the state of Durango

     

July 20, 1923

 

Death in Parral

 

 


 

 

 



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Pancho Villa Photos

Here are some more pictures:

PANCHO VILLA IN MOUNTAINS
PANCHO VILLA IN MOUNTAINS
Archivo Cassola
 


PANCHO VILLA IN 1899
Source Unknown



Mexican Revolution Movies
More or less authentic. Excellent Western Classics!

Viva Zapata! 1952
Viva Zapata! 1952


A Bullet for the General, 1966
A Bullet for the General, 1966


The Professionals, 1966
The Professionals, 1966


Run, Man, Run, 1968
RUN, MAN, RUN, 1968


The Wild Bunch, 1969
The Wild Bunch, 1969


Companeros, 1970
Companeros, 1970


Duck You Sucker aka A Fistful of Dynamite, 1971
Duck You Sucker, 1971
aka A Fistful of Dynamite



Pancho Villa Maps

On this map you can track Pancho Villa's movements during the Mexican Revolution.

Mexico - The Constitutionalist Revolution, 1910-1920
MEXICAN REVOLUTION
Click map to enlarge


More Mexican Revolution maps:

Mexican Revolution - Major Battles
Mexican Revolution - Major Battles
Click map to enlarge

Historical Map of the Mexican State (estado) of Morelos, around 1910
Morelos State, Mexico
Click map to enlarge


Mexico and the State Morelos
Click map to enlarge



 

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