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Pancho Villa

Updated on March 29, 2011

Francisco (Pancho) Villa, aka Doroteo Arango Arambula (Durango, June 5, 1878 - Parral, 20 July 1923) was a Mexican revolutionary and guerrilla fighter, folk hero of the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1911.

Leader of the people who supported the revolt of Francisco Madero called peons against the dictatorial regime of Porfirio Diaz said of himself in an autobiography and in interviews with Jack London and reporter John Reed (witness the October Revolution): "My life is was a tragedy. "

MIGHTY biographies (and dozens of films) have revealed many aspects of his personality, describing him in an almost unanimous as an idealistic individual, humanity beyond its heroic dimension and sincerely interested in improving the living conditions of the weaker. Die murdered in 1923 in Parral, State of Chihuahua (northern Mexico).


Francisco Pancho Villa was born near Durango, in the ranch of San Juan del Río Coyoitoda owned by Lopez Negrete, a pair of sharecroppers, Augustin Arango and Micaela Arambula.

His legend began to flourish in 1894 when he was sixteen: immediately after the death of his father had moved to the hacienda Gogojito and one evening, returning home surprises his mother in a heated argument with the owner of the ranch who had attempted to harass the older sister of the young Francisco. They responded by shooting the rancher, injuring him slightly. Francisco for this event marked the beginning of a long period of inaction.

Sympathizing with the peons with whom he shared a deep hatred of the rich landowners, from that moment his life was marked by raids against farmers whose livestock subtracted, and robbery to wealthy miners.

Hunted in the mountains of the Sierra (where it will become Francisco Pancho Villa) was repeatedly caught always managing to be released through the efforts of influential friends, a little later would be drafted - with official duties - in the irregular troops of the armies of Francisco Indalecio Madero and Alvaro Obregon, perhaps, for him, it was a perfect continuation of the struggle always against the hated landowners. In 1910, with a new identity and a spotless conscience was now ready to descend from the mountains to participate actively in what was called the Mexican Revolution.

New Identities And New Ideals

Abraham Gonzalez came into contact with, exposure of Madero, Villa he decided to join the cause of the Mexican Revolution. In the State of Chihuahua, right on the border with Texas and New Mexico, Villa and his Dorados (mounted troops loyal to him) acted in small groups with shares of surprise, the strategy followed was that of the Apache and Comanche Indians against whom Mexican settlers had fought a generation ago.

In subsequent years, with the government Madero, Pancho Villa served in the army under General Victoriano Huerta, which condemned him to death for insubordination, not only have to emigrate in the United States, except to return after the overthrow of Madero and his subsequent murder ambushed by Huerta in 1913. Villa then lined in the civil war of 1913-1914 aimed to overthrow the new despot Huerta, the leader of the progressive movement Venustiano Carranza, who broke off from the however, when he became president as being too moderate.

In any event, Villa was able to gain control of the State of Chihuahua, where - with the help of Emiliano Zapata - the peasant revolt fomented not hesitating to pass, in response to support provided by the U.S. government to President Carranza, the American frontier. For over a year was in vain pursued across the border from the troops sent by President Woodrow Wilson.

The First Aircraft Against Villa

On March 9, 1916 Villa led fifteen hundred Mexican guerrillas in an attack against the city of Columbus, New Mexico, where there was a garrison of six hundred American soldiers. The village was set on fire and a hotel was blown up, the result was the death of seventeen people. President Wilson responded to this gesture with a punitive expedition demo: put a bounty of $ 5,000 on Villa's head and sent seven thousand soldiers led by General John "Blackjack" Pershing and his right arm, George Patton, that would be both distinct personality in World War I, Chihuahua over the mountains to hunt him down.

On that occasion, U.S. troops took them to the time the most modern methods, such as trucks, three wheelers, motorcycles and tanks, and was even used an airship piloted by General Pershing. Not to mention the use - for the first time in the Americas - combat aircraft (eight, the chronicles of the report). Everything was in vain: the attempt to capture Villa and his men went on, just without success, until the end of January the following year.

Companies from the revolutionary Pancho Villa completed in 1920: the assassination of Carranza and the ascent to the presidency of Alvaro Obregon. Pancho deposed collected weapons in the "hacienda" of Canutillo assigned to him where he devoted himself to the life of a landowner. Three years later he died murdered (like those for whom he had fought, Madero, Zapata, Carranza and Obregon) in the town of Parral, just where he felt safer in the state of Chihuahua.

The Myth Of Villa On The Screen

Pancho Villa of the cinema has occupied a great deal since the days of silent cinema. In some cases, the films still no sound documented, almost documentary, the exploits of the famous fighter using the same in the Villa as himself, the former villa of the screen, in The Life of General Villa, 1914, was interpreted by Raoul Walsh (even when what would become a great director had not abandoned his career as an actor with whom he debuted).

Then, during the twentieth century - from the first film of David Griffith and Harry Aitken - have been many actors who have alternated in the role (in some cases several times), to the performances of stars like Telly Savalas, Hector Elizondo, Yul Brynner and Antonio Banderas, last Pancho Villa of the screen. However, the interpretation is more effective than Wallace Beery, Jack Conway in the film "Viva Villa!". Beery won, for his extraordinary characterization, the Gold Medal at the 2nd Exhibition of the Venice Film Festival.


The section dealing with the relationship the film had with the figure of Pancho Villa was adapted - as also other steps of the aid - from the analogous item of the English Wikipedia.

Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution, Manuel Plana, Giunti, 1993

The Life and Times of Pancho Villa, Friedrich Katz, Stanford University Press, 1998

Villa and Zapata, a biography of the Mexican Revolution, Frank McLynn, Basic Books, 2003

A revolutionary named Pancho, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Tropea Editore, 2007


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    • ponchovilla profile image


      7 years ago from Sweden

      Excellent write! George Patton's first "kill" was said to be one of Villa's most loyal men. (Patton carried the same revolver until his death.) Villa helped shape not only his own country's future but ours as well.

    • daffodil2010 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      i have read the book. you should really read

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Excellent write, as well as an interesting read, I voted up, useful and awesome.I've always held great interest in these topics. keep hubbing, Peace, 50

    • susannah42 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      Very interesting hub. Well researched and written. He was a shady character.

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      7 years ago from Texas

      MY great grandfather was a colonel in Villas Army. THank you for sharing.

    • stars439 profile image


      7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      He was a interesting piece of work. Many years ago there was film taken of his prisoners that he executed. He would have them placed one behind another, and would have three prisoners killed by one bullet to save ammunition. Great hub. God Bless You.


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