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Pancho Villa

Pancho Villa

Overview
José Doroteo Arango Arámbula (5 June 1878 – 20 July 1923) – better known by his pseudonym Francisco Villa or its hypocorism Pancho Villa – was one of the most prominent Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

ary generals.

As commander of the División del Norte
Division del Norte
The División del Norte was an armed faction formed by Madero and initially led by General Jose Gonzales Salas following the call to arms from Francisco Madero at the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. After Salas committed suicide following his defeat at the hands of Pascual Orozco at the...

(Division of the North), he was the veritable caudillo
Caudillo
Caudillo is a Spanish word for "leader" and usually describes a political-military leader at the head of an authoritarian power. The term translates into English as leader or chief, or more pejoratively as warlord, dictator or strongman. Caudillo was the term used to refer to the charismatic...

of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua which, given its size, mineral wealth, and proximity to the United States of America, provided him with extensive resources.
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Timeline

1914   Mexican Revolution: Pancho Villa takes Zacatecas from Victoriano Huerta.

1916   Pancho Villa leads nearly 500 Mexican raiders in an attack against Columbus, New Mexico.

1916   President Woodrow Wilson sends 12,000 United States troops over the U.S.-Mexico border to pursue Pancho Villa.

1916   The 7th and 10th US cavalry regiments under John J. Pershing cross the US-Mexico border to join the hunt for Pancho Villa.

1916   Eight American planes take off in pursuit of Pancho Villa, the first United States air-combat mission in history.

 
Quotations

Men will not forget that Pancho Villa was loyal to the cause of the people.

As quoted in Pancho Villa: Rebel of the Mexican Revolution (2006) by Mary Englar

Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something.

As quoted in Famous Last Words : The Ultimate Collection of Finales and Farewells (2004) by Laura Ward and Robert Allen, p. 92
Encyclopedia
José Doroteo Arango Arámbula (5 June 1878 – 20 July 1923) – better known by his pseudonym Francisco Villa or its hypocorism Pancho Villa – was one of the most prominent Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

ary generals.

As commander of the División del Norte
Division del Norte
The División del Norte was an armed faction formed by Madero and initially led by General Jose Gonzales Salas following the call to arms from Francisco Madero at the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. After Salas committed suicide following his defeat at the hands of Pascual Orozco at the...

(Division of the North), he was the veritable caudillo
Caudillo
Caudillo is a Spanish word for "leader" and usually describes a political-military leader at the head of an authoritarian power. The term translates into English as leader or chief, or more pejoratively as warlord, dictator or strongman. Caudillo was the term used to refer to the charismatic...

of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua which, given its size, mineral wealth, and proximity to the United States of America, provided him with extensive resources. Villa was also provisional Governor of Chihuahua
Governor of Chihuahua
According to the Political Constitution of the Free and Sovereign State of Chihuahua, Executive Power in that Mexican state resides with a single individual, the Constitutional Governor of the Free and Sovereign State of Chihuahua, who is chosen for a period of six years and cannot for any reason...

 in 1913 and 1914. Although he was prevented from being accepted into the "panteón" of national heroes until some 20 years after his death, today his memory is honored by Mexicans, US citizens, and many people around the world. In addition, numerous streets and neighborhoods in Mexico are named in his honor.

Villa and his supporters seized hacienda
Hacienda
Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even business factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities...

 land for distribution to peasants and soldiers. He robbed
Train robbery
Train robbery is a type of robbery, in which the goal is to steal money or other valuables being carried aboard trains.-History:Train robberies were more common in the past than today, and often occurred in the American Old West. Trains carrying payroll shipments were a major target...

 and commandeered trains, and, like the other revolutionary generals, printed fiat money
Fiat money
Fiat money is money that has value only because of government regulation or law. The term derives from the Latin fiat, meaning "let it be done", as such money is established by government decree. Where fiat money is used as currency, the term fiat currency is used.Fiat money originated in 11th...

 to pay for his cause. Villa's men and supporters became known as Villistas during the revolution from 1910 to roughly 1920.

Villa's dominance in northern Mexico was broken in 1915 through a series of defeats he suffered at Celaya
Battle of Celaya
The Battle of Celaya, which occurred near Celaya, Guanajuato on 13 April 1915, was a battle of the Mexican Revolution.The Conventionist forces under Pancho Villa were badly defeated by forces under the command of Álvaro Obregón, who supported the presidency of Venustiano Carranza. Villa lost...

 and Agua Prieta
Second Battle of Agua Prieta
The Second Battle of Agua Prieta was fought between the forces of Pancho Villa and those of the future President of Mexico, Plutarco Elías Calles, a supporter of Venustiano Carranza, on November 1, 1915, at Agua Prieta, Sonora, as part of the Mexican Revolution. Villa's attack on the town was...

 at the hands of Álvaro Obregón
Álvaro Obregón
General Álvaro Obregón Salido was the President of Mexico from 1920 to 1924. He was assassinated in 1928, shortly after winning election to another presidential term....

 and Plutarco Elías Calles
Plutarco Elías Calles
Plutarco Elías Calles was a Mexican general and politician. He was president of Mexico from 1924 to 1928, but he continued to be the de facto ruler from 1928–1935, a period known as the maximato...

. After Villa's famous raid on Columbus
Battle of Columbus (1916)
The Battle of Columbus, the Burning of Columbus or the Columbus Raid began as a raid conducted by Pancho Villa's Division of the North on the small United States border town of Columbus, New Mexico in March 1916. The raid escalated into a full scale battle between Villistas and the United States Army...

 in 1916, US Army General John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

 tried unsuccessfully to capture
Pancho Villa Expedition
The Pancho Villa Expedition—officially known in the United States as the Mexican Expedition and sometimes colloquially referred to as the Punitive Expedition—was a military operation conducted by the United States Army against the paramilitary forces of Mexican insurgent Francisco "Pancho" Villa...

 Villa in a nine-month pursuit that ended when Pershing was called back as the United States entry into World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 was assured. Villa retired in 1920 and was given a large estate which he turned into a "military colony" for his former soldiers. In 1923, he decided to re-involve himself in Mexican politics and as a result was assassinated, most likely on the orders of Obregón.

Early life


Villa was born on June 5th, 1878, as Jose Doroteo Arango Arambula to poor peasants Agustín Arango and Micaela Arambula at the Rancho de la Coyotada, which was located in San Juan del Rio
San Juan del Río
N20 23 23 W99 59 49San Juan del Río is a city and administrative seat of the surrounding San Juan del Río Municipality in the central Mexican state of Querétaro. The population in July, 2007 is calculated in 128,270 for the city and 217,980 for the municipality.The city and municipality both rank...

 and was one of the largest haciendas in the state of Durango
Durango
Durango officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Durango is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. The state is located in Northwest Mexico. With a population of 1,632,934, it has Mexico's second-lowest population density, after Baja...

. Doroteo was the oldest of five children and as such helped his mother care for his siblings after Agustín died. As a child, Doroteo received some education from a local church-run school, but quit school and became a sharecropper after his father died.

According to his own later statements, at the age of sixteen, Doroteo moved to Chihuahua, but swiftly returned to Durango to track down Agustín Lopez Negrete, the owner of the hacienda who had raped Doroteo's sister. However, historians have questioned the veracity of this story. After he shot and killed Negrete, Doroteo stole a horse and fled to the Sierra Madre Occidental
Sierra Madre Occidental
The Sierra Madre Occidental is a mountain range in western Mexico.-Setting:The range runs north to south, from just south of the Sonora–Arizona border southeast through eastern Sonora, western Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, Nayarit, Jalisco, Aguascalientes to Guanajuato, where it joins...

 region in Durango, where he roamed the hills as a bandit. Eventually, he became a member of an outlaw "super group" headed by Ignacio Parra, one of the most famous bandits of Durango at the time. As a bandit he went by the name "Orango."

In 1902, Orango was arrested for stealing mules and assault. While he was spared the death sentence from the rurales
Rurales
Rurales was the name commonly used to designate the Mexican Guardia Rural : a force of mounted police or gendarmerie that existed between 1861 and 1914...

 due to his connections with the powerful Pablo Venezuela (to whom Villa would sell the stolen goods), he was forced to join the federal army. Several months later he deserted and fled to the neighboring state of Chihuahua. In 1903, after killing an army officer and stealing his horse, he was no longer known as Orango, but Francisco "Pancho" Villa. It was then that he took the name "Francisco Villa" after his paternal grandfather, Jesus Villa. He was also known to his friends as La Cucaracha, "the cockroach."

According to Frank McLynn, until 1910 Villa would alternate episodes of banditry with more legitimate pursuits. Villa's outlook on banditry would change after he met Abraham Gonzalez. The local representative for Francisco Madero, a politician who was opposed to the rule of dictator Porfirio Díaz
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

, González convinced Villa that through his banditry he could fight for the people and hurt the hacienda owners.

Beginnings of the Mexican Revolution



In 1910, the Mexican Revolution began, with Madero's pro-democracy, anti-reeleccionista volunteers confronting Díaz's federal troops. As the revolution spread, Villa joined with Madero's forces and aided in winning the first Battle of Ciudad Juárez
Battle of Ciudad Juárez
The First Battle of Ciudad Juárez took place in April and May 1911 between federal forces loyal to Porfirio Díaz and rebel forces of Francisco Madero, during the Mexican Revolution. Pascual Orozco and Pancho Villa commanded Madero's army which besieged Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. After two days of...

 in 1911. All across Mexico, Madero's volunteers won victories, driving Díaz into exile. Villa, however, strongly disapproved of Madero's decision to name Venustiano Carranza
Venustiano Carranza
Venustiano Carranza de la Garza, was one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. He ultimately became President of Mexico following the overthrow of the dictatorial Huerta regime in the summer of 1914 and during his administration the current constitution of Mexico was drafted...

, who had previously been a staunch supporter of Diaz until Diaz refused to appoint him as Governor of Coahuila
Coahuila
Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Coahuila de Zaragoza is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico...

 in 1909, as his Minister of War.

When one of Madero's military commanders, Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco Vazquez was a Mexican revolutionary leader who, after the triumph of the Mexican Revolution, rose up against Francisco I...

, started a counterrebellion against Madero, Villa gathered his mounted cavalry troops and fought alongside General Victoriano Huerta to support Madero. However, Huerta viewed Villa as an ambitious competitor, and later accused Villa of stealing a horse and insubordination; he then had Villa sentenced to execution in an attempt to dispose of him. Reportedly, Villa was standing in front of a firing squad waiting to be shot when a telegram from President Madero was received commuting his sentence to imprisonment, from which Villa later escaped after serving only a brief period in jail. During Villa's imprisonment, Gildardo Magaña Cerda, a Zapatista who was in prison at the time, provided the chance meeting which would help to improve his poor reading and writing skills, which would serve him well in the future during his service as provisional governor of the state of Chihuahua.

Fight against Huerta's usurpation


In the second part of the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

, President Francisco I. Madero
Francisco I. Madero
Francisco Ignacio Madero González was a politician, writer and revolutionary who served as President of Mexico from 1911 to 1913. As a respectable upper-class politician, he supplied a center around which opposition to the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz could coalesce...

 was betrayed and assassinated. After crushing the Orozco rebellion
Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco Vazquez was a Mexican revolutionary leader who, after the triumph of the Mexican Revolution, rose up against Francisco I...

, Victoriano Huerta
Victoriano Huerta
José Victoriano Huerta Márquez was a Mexican military officer and president of Mexico. Huerta's supporters were known as Huertistas during the Mexican Revolution...

, with the federal army
Huerta's Federal Army
Huerta's Federal Army, also known as the Federales in popular culture, was the force headed by Victoriano Huerta during his 1913–1914 reign as president of Mexico....

 he commanded, held the majority of military power in Mexico. Huerta saw an opportunity to make himself the dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

 of Mexico, and he began to conspire with men such as Bernardo Reyes
Bernardo Reyes
Bernardo Reyes was a General in the army of Mexico under Porfirio Díaz. He served as governor of Nuevo León he helped in the modernization of that state. While governor of Nuevo León, Reyes approved a workers compensation law. He was the father of the writer Alfonso Reyes, and grandfather of the...

, Félix Díaz (nephew of Porfirio Díaz
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

), and the American ambassador Henry Lane Wilson
Henry Lane Wilson
Henry Lane Wilson was an American diplomat.-Biography:He was born in Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Indiana to Indiana congressman James Wilson and his wife, Emma Wilson; he was the younger brother of John L. Wilson, and had been named for Henry Smith Lane...

, which resulted in La decena trágica
La decena trágica
The Ten Tragic Days was a series of events that took place in Mexico City between February 9 and February 19, 1913, during the Mexican Revolution. They culminated in a coup d'état and the assassination of President Francisco I...

(the "Tenth Tragic") and the assassination of President Madero.

After Madero's murder, Huerta proclaimed himself provisional president. Venustiano Carranza
Venustiano Carranza
Venustiano Carranza de la Garza, was one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. He ultimately became President of Mexico following the overthrow of the dictatorial Huerta regime in the summer of 1914 and during his administration the current constitution of Mexico was drafted...

 then proclaimed the Plan of Guadalupe
Plan of Guadalupe
The Plan of Guadalupe was a document drafted on March 23, 1913 by Venustiano Carranza in response to the overthrow and execution of Francisco I. Madero, then President of Mexico...

 to oust Huerta as an unconstitutional usurper
Usurper
Usurper is a derogatory term used to describe either an illegitimate or controversial claimant to the power; often, but not always in a monarchy, or a person who succeeds in establishing himself as a monarch without inheriting the throne, or any other person exercising authority unconstitutionally...

. Despite his strong dislike of Carranza, Villa aligned with him afterwards to overthrow Huerta; Between Huerta and Carranza, Carranza would be regarded as only the lesser of two evils and would also be regarded as the butt of Villa's jokes and pranks. The politicians and generals (who included Pablo González
Pablo González Garza
Pablo González Garza was a Mexican General during the Mexican Revolution. He is considered to be the main organizer of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata....

, Álvaro Obregón
Álvaro Obregón
General Álvaro Obregón Salido was the President of Mexico from 1920 to 1924. He was assassinated in 1928, shortly after winning election to another presidential term....

, Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South, during the Mexican Revolution...

 and Villa) who supported Carranza's plan were collectively styled the Ejército Constitucionalista de México (Constitutionalist Army of Mexico
Constitutional Army
The Constitutional Army was the army that fought against Huerta's Federal Army, and later, against the Villistas and Zapatistas during the Mexican Revolution. It was formed in March 1913 by Venustiano Carranza, so-called "First-Chief" of the army, as a response to the murder of President Francisco I...

), the constitucionalista adjective was added to stress the point that Huerta had not obtained power through methods prescribed by Mexico's Constitution of 1857.

Operating in conjunction with Carranza's Constitutionalist Army of Mexico, Villa operated in the northern provinces. Villa's hatred of Huerta became more personal and intense after 7 March 1913, when Huerta ordered the murder of Villa's dear friend and political mentor, Abraham González
Abraham González
Abraham González Casavantes was the provisional and constitutional governor of the Mexican state of Chihuahua during the early period of the Mexican Revolution...

, who had worked with Madero and Villa since 1910. González had been one of Madero's political advisors. He recruited Francisco Villa in 1910 to support Madero with the Plan de San Luis which started the first part of the Mexican Revolution with the armed movement of 20 November 1910. The Plan de San Luis was conceived to force Dictator Porfirio Diaz
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

 (Mexican president for 33 years) to leave the presidency and allow for a Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 democracy. Villa later recovered González's remains and gave his friend a proper funeral in Chihuahua.

Villa joined the rebellion against Huerta, entering the valley of the Río Bravo del Norte
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 (Rio Grande) into Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez , officially known today as Heroica Ciudad Juárez, but abbreviated Juárez and formerly known as El Paso del Norte, is a city and seat of the municipality of Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Juárez's estimated population is 1.5 million people. The city lies on the Rio Grande...

 initially with a mere 8 men, 2 pounds of coffee, 2 pounds of sugar, and 500 rounds of rifle ammunition. The new United States president, Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

, dismissed Ambassador Wilson, and began to support Carranza's cause. Villa's remarkable generalship and recruiting appeal, combined with ingenious fundraising methods to support his rebellion, were a key factor in forcing Huerta from office a little over a year later, on 15 July 1914.

This was the time of Villa's greatest fame and success. He recruited soldiers and able subordinates (both Mexican and mercenary
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

) such as Felipe Ángeles
Felipe Ángeles
Felipe Ángeles Ramirez was a Mexican military officer, noteworthy for his participation in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 to 1920.-Early life:...

, Manuel Chao, Sam Dreben
Sam Dreben
Samuel "Sam" Dreben , sometimes misspelled "Drebben", and known as "The Fighting Jew", was a highly decorated soldier in the US Army and a mercenary who fought in a variety of wars and revolutions.-Early life:...

 and Ivor Thord-Gray
Ivor Thord-Gray
Ivor Thord-Gray was a Swedish-born adventurer, ethnologist and linguist.-Biography:Thord Ivar Hallström was born in the Södermalm district in central Stockholm, Sweden as the second son of an elementary school teacher August Hallström and his wife Hilda. His eldest brother was the artist Gunnar...

, and raised money using methods such as forced assessments
Danegeld
The Danegeld was a tax raised to pay tribute to the Viking raiders to save a land from being ravaged. It was called the geld or gafol in eleventh-century sources; the term Danegeld did not appear until the early twelfth century...

 on hostile hacienda
Hacienda
Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even business factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities...

 owners, and train robberies. In one notable escapade, he held 122 bars of silver ingot from a train robbery (and a Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is an American multinational diversified financial services company with operations around the world. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by assets and the largest bank by market capitalization. Wells Fargo is the second largest bank in deposits, home...

 employee) hostage and forced Wells Fargo to help him sell the bars for cash. A rapid, hard-fought series of victories at Ciudad Juárez, Tierra Blanca
Battle of Tierra Blanca
The Battle of Tierra Blanca was fought during the Mexican Revolution. It took place about 35 miles south of Ciudad Juárez. It was a major victory for Francisco "Pancho" Villa over the forces of José Inés Salazar, commander of the forces loyal to Victoriano Huerta.The two armies were of relatively...

, Chihuahua
Chihuahua, Chihuahua
The city of Chihuahua is the state capital of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It has a population of about 825,327. The predominant activity is industry, including domestic heavy, light industries, consumer goods production, and to a smaller extent maquiladoras.-History:It has been said that the...

 and Ojinaga
Ojinaga
Ojinaga Municipality is one of the 67 municipalities of Chihuahua, in northern Mexico. The municipal seat lies at Ojinaga, a rural bordertown on the U.S.-Mexico border...

 followed. The well-known American journalist and fiction writer Ambrose Bierce
Ambrose Bierce
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist...

, then in his seventies, accompanied Villa's army during this period and witnessed the battle of Tierra Blanca. Bierce vanished while still with Villa's army in or after December 1913. Oral accounts of his execution by firing squad were never verified.

Governor of Chihuahua


Against the wishes of Carranza, who wanted to name Manuel Chao as the provisional governor of Chihuahua, Villa's was named as the provisional governor of the state of Chihuahua in 1913, after the local military commanders in the region elected him. As Governor of Chihuahua, Villa recruited more experienced generals, such as Toribio Ortega, Porfirio Talamantes and Calixto Contreas, in his military staff and achieved more success than ever. Following his appointment as Governor of Chihuahua, Villa's secretary Perez Rul divided his army into two groups, one led by Ortega, Contreras and Orestes Pereyra and the other led by Talamantes and Contreras' deputy Severianco Ceniceros.

According to some of the references, Villa considered Tierra Blanca his most spectacular victory, though Talamantes died while fighting the battle as well. Villa's war tactics were studied by the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 and a contract with Hollywood was made. Hollywood would be allowed to film Villa's movements and 50% of the profit would be paid to Villa to support the Revolution.

As governor of Chihuahua, Villa raised more money for a drive to the south by printing his own currency. He decreed his paper money to be traded and accepted at par
Par value
Par value, in finance and accounting, means stated value or face value. From this comes the expressions at par , over par and under par ....

 with gold Mexican peso
Mexican peso
The peso is the currency of Mexico. Modern peso and dollar currencies have a common origin in the 15th–19th century Spanish dollar, most continuing to use its sign, "$". The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded in the Americas, and by far the most...

s, then forced the wealthy to give loans that would allow him to pay salaries to the army as well as food and clothes. He also took some of the land owned by the hacendados (owners of the haciendas) to give it to the widows and family of dead revolutionaries. The forced loans would also support the war machinery of the Mexican Revolution. He also confiscated gold from specific banks, in the case of the Banco Minero, by holding hostage a member of the bank's owning family, the extremely wealthy Terrazas clan, until the location of the bank's hidden gold was revealed.

Villa's political stature at that time was so high that banks in El Paso
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

, Texas, accepted his paper pesos at face value. His generalship drew enough admiration from the U.S. military that he and Álvaro Obregón
Álvaro Obregón
General Álvaro Obregón Salido was the President of Mexico from 1920 to 1924. He was assassinated in 1928, shortly after winning election to another presidential term....

 were invited to Fort Bliss
Fort Bliss
Fort Bliss is a United States Army post in the U.S. states of New Mexico and Texas. With an area of about , it is the Army's second-largest installation behind the adjacent White Sands Missile Range. It is FORSCOM's largest installation, and has the Army's largest Maneuver Area behind the...

 to meet Brigadier General John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

. Returning to Mexico, Villa gathered supplies for a drive to the south.

The new pile of money was used to purchase draft animals, cavalry horses, arms, ammunition, mobile hospital facilities (railroad cars and horse ambulance
Ambulance
An ambulance is a vehicle for transportation of sick or injured people to, from or between places of treatment for an illness or injury, and in some instances will also provide out of hospital medical care to the patient...

s staffed with Mexican and foreign volunteer doctors, known as Servicio sanitario), and food, as well as to rebuild the railroad south of Chihuahua City. As governor, he also recruited fighters from Chihuahua and Durango and became leader of a large army known as the Division del Norte (Division of the North), the most powerful and feared military unit in all of Mexico. The rebuilt railroad transported Villa's troops and artillery south, where he defeated Federal forces at Gómez Palacio
Gómez Palacio
Gómez Palacio is a city and its surrounding municipality in northeastern Durango, Mexico, located at 25°33′40″N 103°29′54"W adjacent to the border with the state of Coahuila...

, Torreón
Torreón
Torreón is a city and seat of the surrounding municipality of the same name in the Mexican state of Coahuila. As of 2010, the city's population was 608,836 with 639,629 in the municipality. The metropolitan population, including Matamoros, Coahuila, and Gómez Palacio and Lerdo in adjacent Durango,...

, and eventually at the heart of Huerta's regime in Zacatecas
Zacatecas
Zacatecas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Zacatecas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is Zacatecas....

. Of all of Villa's generals, Felipe Angeles
Felipe Ángeles
Felipe Ángeles Ramirez was a Mexican military officer, noteworthy for his participation in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 to 1920.-Early life:...

 was considered to be his best one.

Carranza tries to halt the Villa advance, the fall of Zacatecas


After Villa successfully captured Torreón
Torreón
Torreón is a city and seat of the surrounding municipality of the same name in the Mexican state of Coahuila. As of 2010, the city's population was 608,836 with 639,629 in the municipality. The metropolitan population, including Matamoros, Coahuila, and Gómez Palacio and Lerdo in adjacent Durango,...

, Carranza
Venustiano Carranza
Venustiano Carranza de la Garza, was one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. He ultimately became President of Mexico following the overthrow of the dictatorial Huerta regime in the summer of 1914 and during his administration the current constitution of Mexico was drafted...

 issued a puzzling order for Villa to break off action south of Torreón and instead ordered him to divert to attack Saltillo
Saltillo
Saltillo is the capital city of the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila and the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name. The city is located about 400 km south of the U.S. state of Texas, and 90 km west of Monterrey, Nuevo León....

, and threatened to cut off Villa's coal supply if he did not comply. Coal was needed for railroad locomotives to pull trains transporting soldiers and supplies. This was widely seen as an attempt by Carranza to divert Villa from a direct assault on Mexico City, so as to allow Carranza's forces under Álvaro Obregón
Álvaro Obregón
General Álvaro Obregón Salido was the President of Mexico from 1920 to 1924. He was assassinated in 1928, shortly after winning election to another presidential term....

, driving in from the west via Guadalajara
Guadalajara, Jalisco
Guadalajara is the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the seat of the municipality of Guadalajara. The city is located in the central region of Jalisco in the western-pacific area of Mexico. With a population of 1,564,514 it is Mexico's second most populous municipality...

, to take the capital first. This was an expensive and disruptive diversion for the División del Norte, since Villa's enlisted men were paid the then enormous sum of a peso per day, and each day of delay cost thousands of pesos.

Villa, disgusted by what he saw as egoism, complied with Carranza's order to divert his attacks towards Saltillo, but then offered his resignation after capturing the city. Felipe Ángeles and the rest of Villa's staff officers argued for Villa to withdraw his resignation, defy Carranza's orders, and proceed to attack Zacatecas, a strategic mountainous city that was heavily defended by Federal troops and considered nearly impregnable. Zacatecas was the source of much of Mexico's silver, and thus a supply of funds for whoever held it. Victory in Zacatecas would mean that Huerta's chances of holding the remainder of the country would be slim. Villa accepted his staff's advice, cancelled his resignation, and the División del Norte defied Carranza and attacked Zacatecas. Attacking up steep slopes, the División del Norte defeated the Federals in the Toma de Zacatecas (Taking of Zacatecas), the single bloodiest battle of the Revolution, with the military forces counting approximately 7,000 dead and 5,000 wounded, and unknown numbers of civilian casualties. (A memorial to and museum of the Toma de Zacatecas is on the Cerro de la Bufa, one of the key defense points in the battle of Zacatecas. Tourists use a teleférico (aerial tramway
Aerial tramway
An aerial tramway , cable car , ropeway or aerial tram is a type of aerial lift which uses one or two stationary ropes for support while a third moving rope provides propulsion...

) to reach it, owing to the steep approaches. From the top, tourists may appreciate the difficulties Villa's troops had trying to dislodge Federal troops from the peak.) The loss of Zacatecas in June 1914 broke the back of the Huerta regime, and Huerta left for exile on 14 July 1914.

However, in August 1914, Carranza and his army entered Mexico City ahead of Villa. Villa despised Carranza and saw him as another Porfirio Diaz-like dictator. Nevertheless, Villa, who did not want to be named President of Mexico, accepted Carranza as the Chief of the Revolution. The revolutionary caudillos convened a National Convention
Convention of Aguascalientes
The Convention of Aguascalientes was a major meeting that took place during the Mexican Revolution.The call for the Convention was issued on 1 October 1914 by Venustiano Carranza, head of the Constitutional Army, who described it as the Gran Convención de Jefes militares con mando de fuerzas y...

, and conducted a series of meetings in Aguascalientes. This National Convention set rules for Mexico's path towards democracy. None of the armed revolutionaries were allowed to be nominated for government positions. They chose an interim president, Eulalio Gutierrez
Eulalio Gutiérrez
Eulalio Gutiérrez Ortiz was elected provisional president of Mexico during the Aguascalientes Convention and led the country for a few months between November 6, 1914, and January 16, 1915....

. Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South, during the Mexican Revolution...

, a military general from southern Mexico, and Pancho Villa met at the convention. Zapata was sympathetic to Villa's views of Carranza and told Villa he feared Carranza's intentions were those of a dictator and not of a democratic president. True to Zapata's prediction, Carranza decided to oppose the agreements of the National Convention, setting off a civil war. Fearing that Carranza was imposing a dictatorship, Villa and Zapata broke with him.

Battling Carranza


Following the Convention, Carranza was deposed as President and fled to Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

. Following Carranza's departure, Villa and Zapata occupied Mexico City. Although Villa had a more formidable army, Carranza's general Álvaro Obregón was a better tactician. With Obregón's help, Carranza was able to use the Mexican press to portray Villa as a sociopathic bandit. In late 1914, one of Villa's top generals, Toribio Ortega died of typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

.

After he fled Mexico City, Carranza also maintained control over two Mexican states, Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

 and Tamaulipas
Tamaulipas
Tamaulipas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tamaulipas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 43 municipalities and its capital city is Ciudad Victoria. The capital city was named after Guadalupe Victoria, the...

. These states, however, contained Mexico's two largest ports and Carranza was therefore collecting more revenue than Villa. In 1915, Villa was forced to abandon the capital after a number of incidents involving his troops. This helped pave the way for the return of Carranza and his followers.

To combat Villa, Carranza sent his ablest general, Álvaro Obregón north. Meeting at the Battle of Celaya, a battle fought between April 6 and April 15, 1915, Villa was badly defeated suffering 4,000 killed and 6,000 captured. Obregón would encounter Villa again at the Battle of Trinidad, which was fought between April 29 and June 5, 1915, where Villa suffered another huge loss. In October of 1915, Villa crossed into Sonora, the main stronghold of Obregón and Carranza's armies, where he hoped to crush Carranza's regime. Carranza had reinforced Sonora, however, and Villa was badly defeated. Rodolfo Fierro
Rodolfo Fierro
Rodolfo Fierro was a railway worker, railway superintendent, federal soldier and lieutenant in the army of Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution in the . Fierro and his counter part and fellow lieutenant, Tomas Urbina, have been cited as the two halves of Pancho Villa, Fierro representing his...

, his most loyal officer and cruel hatchet man, was killed while Villa's army was crossing into Sonora as well.

After losing the Battle of Agua Prieta
Second Battle of Agua Prieta
The Second Battle of Agua Prieta was fought between the forces of Pancho Villa and those of the future President of Mexico, Plutarco Elías Calles, a supporter of Venustiano Carranza, on November 1, 1915, at Agua Prieta, Sonora, as part of the Mexican Revolution. Villa's attack on the town was...

 in Sonora, an overwheming number of Villa's men in the Division del Norte were killed and 1,500 of the army's surviving members soon turned on him and accepted an amnesty offer from Carranza. In November of 1915, Carranza's forces had captured and executed Contreras, Pereyra and Pereyra's son. Severianco Ceniceros also accepted amnesty from Carranza and turned on Villa as well. Although Villa's secretary Perez Rul also broke with Villa, he refused to become a supporter of Carranza.

Only 200 men in Villa's army would remain loyal to him and he was soon forced to retreat back into the mountains of Chihuahua. However, Villa and his men were determined to keep fighting Carranza's forces. Villa's position was further weakened by the United States' refusal to sell him weapons. By the end of 1915, Villa was on the run and the United States Government recognized Carranza.

Split with the United States and the Punitive Expedition



After years of public and documented support for Villa's fight, the United States, following the diplomatic policies of Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

, who believed that supporting Carranza was the best way to expedite establishment of a stable Mexican government, refused to allow more arms to be supplied to Villa's army, and allowed Carranza's troops to be relocated over U.S. railroads. Villa felt betrayed by the Americans. He was further enraged by Obregón's use of searchlights, powered by American electricity, to help repel a Villista night attack
Second Battle of Agua Prieta
The Second Battle of Agua Prieta was fought between the forces of Pancho Villa and those of the future President of Mexico, Plutarco Elías Calles, a supporter of Venustiano Carranza, on November 1, 1915, at Agua Prieta, Sonora, as part of the Mexican Revolution. Villa's attack on the town was...

 on the border town of Agua Prieta
Agua Prieta
Agua Prieta is a pueblo and municipality in the northeastern corner of the Mexican state of Sonora . It stands on the U.S.–Mexico border, adjacent to the town of Douglas, Arizona, USA. The municipality covers an area of 3,631.65 km²...

, Sonora
Sonora
Sonora officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo....

, on 1 November 1915. In January 1916, a group of Villistas attacked a train on the Mexico North Western Railway
Mexico North Western Railway
The Mexico North-Western Railway or Compañía del Ferrocarril Nor-Oeste de México was a railroad that operated in Mexico between Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua, via Nuevo Casas Grandes in the western portion of the state of Chihuahua. Prior to 1909, it was known as the Rio Grande, Sierra Madre &...

, near Santa Isabel
Santa Isabel, Chihuahua
Santa Isabel is a small town in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of Santa Isabel.As of 2005, Santa Isabel had a total population of 1412....

, Chihuahua, and killed several American employees of the ASARCO
ASARCO
ASARCO LLC is a mining, smelting, and refining company based in Tucson, Arizona that mines and processes primarily copper. The company, a subsidiary of Grupo México, is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy...

 company. The passengers included eighteen Americans, fifteen of whom worked for American Smelting and Refining Company. There was only one survivor, who gave the details to the press. Villa admitted to ordering the attack, but denied that he had authorized the shedding of American blood.

After meeting with a Mexican mayor named Juan Muñoz, Villa recruited more men into his guerrilla militia and now had 400 men under his command. Villa then met with his Lieutenants Martin Lopez, Pablo Lopez, Francisco Beltran, Candelario Cervantes and commissioned an additional 100 men to the command of Joaquin Alvarez, Bernabe Cifuentes and Ernesto Rios; Pablo Lopez and Cervantes were later killed in the early part of 1916. Villa and his 500 guerrillas then started planning an attack on US soil.


Attack on New Mexico


On 9 March 1916, General Villa ordered nearly 100 Mexican members of his revolutionary group to make a cross-border attack against Columbus
Battle of Columbus (1916)
The Battle of Columbus, the Burning of Columbus or the Columbus Raid began as a raid conducted by Pancho Villa's Division of the North on the small United States border town of Columbus, New Mexico in March 1916. The raid escalated into a full scale battle between Villistas and the United States Army...

, New Mexico. While some believed the raid was conducted because of the U.S. government's official recognition of the Carranza regime and for the loss of lives in battle due to defective bullets purchased from the United States, it was accepted from a military standpoint that Villa carried out the raid because he needed more military equipment and supplies in order to continue his fight against Carranza. They attacked a detachment of the 13th Cavalry Regiment (United States)
13th Cavalry Regiment (United States)
The 13th Cavalry Regiment is a unit of the United States Army. The 1st and 2nd Squadrons are currently stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas as part of the 1st Armored Division.-Service History:...

, burned the town and seized 100 horses and mules and other military supplies. 18 Americans and about 80 Villistas were killed. There are other attacks in US territory that have been said to be done by Villa, however, none of these attacks were ever confirmed to be performed by Villistas. These unconfirmed attacks are: 1) On 15 May, it is claimed that they attacked Glenn Spring
Glenn Spring, Texas
Glenn Springs is an uninhabited place in the state of Texas, United States, which is of historical importance. It is located 11 miles south-southeast of the Panther Junction visitor center in what is now the Big Bend National Park, and is not accessible by motorable road...

, Texas, killing a civilian and wounding three American soldiers; 2) on 15 June, bandits killed four soldiers at San Ygnacio, Texas; 3) on 31 July, one American soldier and a U.S. customs inspector were killed.

Punitive Expedition


In response to Villa's raid on Columbus, President Wilson dispatched General John Pershing and 10,000 men to Mexico to capture Villa. Employing aircraft and trucks for the first time, the US Army chased Villa until January of 1917. The search for Villa would be unsuccessful. However, some of Villa's senior commanders-Colonel Candelario Cervantes, General Francisco Beltran, Beltran's son and Villa's second-in-command Julio Cardenas
Julio Cardenas
Julio Cárdenas was a Captain in Pancho Villa's Villista military organization. He was second-in-command to Villa and the head of his personal bodyguard. The Battle of Columbus, New Mexico, in which 18 Americans were killed, sparked the campaign, led by 'Black Jack' Pershing, to eradicate the...

- and a total of 190 of his men were killed during the expedition.

The Mexican population were against US troops in Mexican territories. There were several demonstrations of their disagreement with the Punitive Expedition and that counted towards the failure of that expedition. During the course of the expedition, one of Villa's top generals, Pablo Lopez, was captured by Carranza's forces and was executed on June 13, 1916.

Villa's battles and military actions



  • First Battle of Ciudad Juarez (1911 won)
  • Second Battle of Ciudad Juarez (1913 won)
  • Battle of Tierra Blanca
    Battle of Tierra Blanca
    The Battle of Tierra Blanca was fought during the Mexican Revolution. It took place about 35 miles south of Ciudad Juárez. It was a major victory for Francisco "Pancho" Villa over the forces of José Inés Salazar, commander of the forces loyal to Victoriano Huerta.The two armies were of relatively...

     (1913 won)
  • Battle of Chihuahua (1913 won)
  • Battle of Ojinaga (1913 won)
  • First Battle of Torreón (1914 won)
  • Battle of Gómez Palacio (1914 won)
  • Battle of Saltillo (1914 won)
  • Battle of Zacatecas
    Battle of Zacatecas
    The Battle of Zacatecas, also known as the Toma de Zacatecas , was the bloodiest battle in the campaign to overthrow Mexican President Victoriano Huerta. On June 23, 1914, Pancho Villa's División del Norte decisively defeated the troops of General Luís Medina Barrón defending the town of Zacatecas...

     (1914 won)
  • Battle of Celaya
    Battle of Celaya
    The Battle of Celaya, which occurred near Celaya, Guanajuato on 13 April 1915, was a battle of the Mexican Revolution.The Conventionist forces under Pancho Villa were badly defeated by forces under the command of Álvaro Obregón, who supported the presidency of Venustiano Carranza. Villa lost...

     (1915 lost)
  • Battle of Trinidad (1915 lost)
  • Battle of Agua Prieta
    Second Battle of Agua Prieta
    The Second Battle of Agua Prieta was fought between the forces of Pancho Villa and those of the future President of Mexico, Plutarco Elías Calles, a supporter of Venustiano Carranza, on November 1, 1915, at Agua Prieta, Sonora, as part of the Mexican Revolution. Villa's attack on the town was...

     (1915 lost)
  • Battle of Columbus
    Battle of Columbus (1916)
    The Battle of Columbus, the Burning of Columbus or the Columbus Raid began as a raid conducted by Pancho Villa's Division of the North on the small United States border town of Columbus, New Mexico in March 1916. The raid escalated into a full scale battle between Villistas and the United States Army...

     (1916 lost)
  • Battle of Guerrero
    Battle of Guerrero
    The Battle of Guerrero, or the Battle of San Geronimo, in March 1916, was the first military engagement between the rebels of Pancho Villa and the United States during the Mexican Expedition. After a long ride, elements of the American 7th Cavalry Regiment encountered a large force of Villistas at...

     (1916 lost)
  • Battle of Parral (1918 won)
  • Third Battle of Ciudad Juarez
    Battle of Ciudad Juárez (1919)
    The Third Battle of Ciudad Juarez, or simply the Battle of Juarez, was the final major battle involving the rebels of Francisco "Pancho" Villa. It began on June 15, 1919 when Villa attempted to capture the border city of Ciudad Juarez from the Mexican Army...

     (1919 lost)
  • Siege of Durango (1919 lost)

German involvement in Villa's later campaigns


Before the Villa-Carranza irregular forces had left to the mountains in 1915, there is no credible evidence that Villa co-operated with or accepted any help from the German government or agents. Villa was supplied arms from the USA, employed international (Americans included) mercenaries
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

 and doctors, was portrayed as a hero in the US media, made business arrangements with Hollywood, and did not object to the 1914 US naval occupation of Veracruz
United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914
The United States occupation of Veracruz, which began with the Battle of Veracruz, lasted for six months and was a response to the Tampico Affair of April 9, 1914...

. Villa's observation was that the occupation merely hurt Huerta. Villa opposed the armed participation of the United States in Mexico, but he did not act against the Veracruz occupation in order to maintain the connections in the United States necessary to buy bullets and other supplies. The German consul in Torreón did make entreaties to Villa, offering him arms and money to occupy the port and oil fields of Tampico
Tampico
Tampico is a city and port in the state of Tamaulipas, in the country of Mexico. It is located in the southeastern part of the state, directly north across the border from Veracruz. Tampico is the third largest city in Tamaulipas, and counts with a population of 309,003. The Metropolitan area of...

 to enable German ships to dock there, but the offer was rejected by Villa.

German agents did attempt to interfere, unsuccessfully, in the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

. Germans attempted to plot with Victoriano Huerta to assist him to retake the country, and in the infamous Zimmermann Telegram
Zimmermann Telegram
The Zimmermann Telegram was a 1917 diplomatic proposal from the German Empire to Mexico to make war against the United States. The proposal was caught by the British before it could get to Mexico. The revelation angered the Americans and led in part to a U.S...

 to the Mexican government, proposed an alliance with the government of Venustiano Carranza.

There were documented contacts between Villa and the Germans, after Villa's split with the Constitutionalists. Principally this was in the person of Felix A. Sommerfeld (noted in Katz's book), who allegedly, in 1915, funneled $340,000 of German money to the Western Cartridge Company
U.S. Repeating Arms Company
The U.S. Repeating Arms Company. Inc. is the current business name of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, famous for making Winchester rifles....

 to purchase ammunition. However, the actions of Sommerfeld indicate he was likely acting in his own self-interest (he acted as a double agent for Carranza). Villa's actions were hardly that of a German catspaw; rather, it appears that Villa only resorted to German assistance after other sources of money and arms were cut off.

At the time of Villa's attack on Columbus
Columbus, New Mexico
Columbus is a village in Luna County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 1,765 at the 2000 census. The town is named after 15th century explorer Christopher Columbus.-History:...

, New Mexico in 1916, Villa's military power had been marginalized (he was repulsed at Columbus by a small cavalry detachment, albeit after doing a lot of damage), his theater of operations was mainly limited to western Chihuahua, he was persona non grata
Persona non grata
Persona non grata , literally meaning "an unwelcome person", is a legal term used in diplomacy that indicates a proscription against a person entering the country...

with Mexico's ruling Carranza constitutionalists, and the subject of an embargo
Embargo
An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country, in order to isolate it. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is...

 by the United States; so communication or further shipments of arms between the Germans and Villa would have been difficult.

A plausible explanation of any Villa-German contacts after 1915 would be that they were a futile extension of increasingly desperate German diplomatic efforts and Villista pipe dreams of victory as progress of their respective wars bogged down. Villa effectively did not have anything useful to offer in exchange for German help at that point.

When weighing claims of Villa conspiring with Germans, one should take into account that at the time, portraying Villa as a German sympathizer served the propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 ends of both Carranza and Wilson.

The use of Mauser
Mauser
Mauser was a German arms manufacturer of a line of bolt-action rifles and pistols from the 1870s to 1995. Mauser designs were built for the German armed forces...

 rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

s and carbine
Carbine
A carbine , from French carabine, is a longarm similar to but shorter than a rifle or musket. Many carbines are shortened versions of full rifles, firing the same ammunition at a lower velocity due to a shorter barrel length....

s by Villa's forces does not necessarily indicate any German connection. These weapons were widely used by all parties in the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

, Mauser longarms being enormously popular. They were standard issue in the Mexican Army
Mexican Army
The Mexican Army is the combined land and air branch and largest of the Mexican Military services; it also is known as the National Defense Army. It is famous for having been the first army to adopt and use an automatic rifle, , in 1899, and the first to issue automatic weapons as standard issue...

, which had begun adopting 7 mm Mauser system arms as early as 1895.

Personal Life


On May 29 1911, Villa married María Luz Corral. a woman whom he met when he and his army rode into San Andres and asked for monetary contributions. Together, Villa and his wife had only one child, a daughter who died within a few years after birth. While Villa had engaged in several marriage ceremonies with many of his mistresses, Corral was his only legal wife. Corral would also take care of the children Villa fathered through his various extramaritial affairs. At the time of his death, Corral and five different women each claimed to be his widow.

Last years, death and gravesite



Following his unsuccessful military campaign at Celaya
Battle of Celaya
The Battle of Celaya, which occurred near Celaya, Guanajuato on 13 April 1915, was a battle of the Mexican Revolution.The Conventionist forces under Pancho Villa were badly defeated by forces under the command of Álvaro Obregón, who supported the presidency of Venustiano Carranza. Villa lost...

 and the American incursion, Villa's influence began to wane. While Villa still remained active, Carranza shifted his focus to dealing with the more dangerous threat posed by Zapata in the south. By the end of 1915, Villa no longer had an army and had gone back to being a guerrilla leader in the mountains of Chihuahua. Villa's last major military action would be a raid against Ciudad Juarez in 1919. Following the raid, Villa would suffer yet another major blow after Felipe Angeles
Felipe Ángeles
Felipe Ángeles Ramirez was a Mexican military officer, noteworthy for his participation in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 to 1920.-Early life:...

, who had returned to Mexico in 1918 after living in exile for three years as a dairy farmer in Texas, left Villa and his now small militia. Angeles was also later captured by Carranza's forces and was executed on November 26, 1919.

After losing his final battle at Ciudad Juarez, Villa agreed that he would cease fighting if it were made worth his while. Villa still continued fighting and conducted a small siege in Ascencion, Durango after his failed raid in Juarez. However, the siege failed and Villa's new second-in-command, his longtime lieutenant Martín López, was killed during the fighting.

On May 21, 1920, a break for Villa came when Carranza, along as his top advisors and supporters, was assassinated by supporters of Álvaro Obregón
Álvaro Obregón
General Álvaro Obregón Salido was the President of Mexico from 1920 to 1924. He was assassinated in 1928, shortly after winning election to another presidential term....

. With his archnemesis dead, Villa was now ready to negotiate a peace settlement and retire. On July 22, 1920, Villa was finally able to send a telegram to Mexican intern President Adolfo de la Huerta
Adolfo de la Huerta
Felipe Adolfo de la Huerta Marcor was a Mexican politician and interim President of Mexico from June 1 to December 1, 1920....

, which stated that he recognized Huerta's presidency and requested amnesty. Six days later, Adolfo de la Huerta met with Villa successfully negotiated a peace settlement.

In exchange for his retirement, Villa was given a 25,000 acre hacienda
Hacienda
Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even business factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities...

 in Canutillo, just outside of Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua, by the national government. This was in addition to the Quinta Luz
Historical Museum of the Mexican Revolution
The Historical Museum of the Mexican Revolution in the Mexican city of Chihuahua, Chih., is housed in the former estate of General Francisco Villa and his widow, Sra. María Luz Corral de Villa...

 estate that he owned with his wife, María Luz Corral de Villa
Historical Museum of the Mexican Revolution
The Historical Museum of the Mexican Revolution in the Mexican city of Chihuahua, Chih., is housed in the former estate of General Francisco Villa and his widow, Sra. María Luz Corral de Villa...

, in Chihuahua, Chihuahua
Chihuahua, Chihuahua
The city of Chihuahua is the state capital of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It has a population of about 825,327. The predominant activity is industry, including domestic heavy, light industries, consumer goods production, and to a smaller extent maquiladoras.-History:It has been said that the...

. The last remaining 200 guerrillas and veterans of Villa's milita who still maintained a loyalty to him would reside with him in his new hacienda
Hacienda
Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even business factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities...

 as well and the Mexican government also granted them a pension that totalled 500,000 gold pesos. The 50 guerrillas who still remained in Villa's small calvary would also be allowed to serve as Villa's personal bodyguards.

On Friday, 20 July 1923, Villa was killed while visiting Parral. Usually accompanied by his entourage of Dorados (his bodyguards) Pancho Villa frequently made trips from his ranch to Parral for banking and other errands. This day, however, Villa had gone into the town without them, taking only a few associates with him. He went to pick up a consignment of gold from the local bank with which to pay his Canutillo ranch staff. While driving back through the city in his black 1919 Dodge roadster, Villa passed by a school and a pumpkinseed vendor ran toward Villa's car and shouted Viva Villa! – a signal for a group of seven riflemen who then appeared in the middle of the road and fired over 40 shots into the automobile. In the fusillade of shots, Villa was hit by 9 Dumdum bullets in his head and upper chest, killing him instantly. He was found in the driver seat of the car, with one hand reaching for his gun.

One of Villa's bodyguards, Ramon Contreras, was also badly wounded but managed to kill at least one of the assassins before he himself managed to escape; he would be the only person who accompanied Villa during this assassination who managed to survive. Two other bodyguards, Claro Huertado and Villa's main personal bodyguard Rafael Madreno, who were with him also died, as did his personal secretary Daniel Tamayo and his high ranking Colonel Miguel Trillo, who served as his chauffeur
Chauffeur
A chauffeur is a person employed to drive a passenger motor vehicle, especially a luxury vehicle such as a large sedan or limousine.Originally such drivers were always personal servants of the vehicle owner, but now in many cases specialist chauffeur service companies, or individual drivers provide...

. Villa is sometimes reported to have died saying: "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." However, there is no contemporary evidence he survived his shooting even momentarily, and his biographer, Katz, confirms that Villa died instantly; Time Magazine also reported in 1951 that both Villa and his aide (Tamayo) were killed instantly. The next day, Villa's funeral was held and thousands of his grieving supporters in Parral followed his casket to his burial site while Villa's men and his closest friends remained at the haceinda in the Canitullo armed and ready for an attack by the government troops. The six surviving assassins hid out in the desert and were soon captured, but only two of them served a few months in jail, and the rest were commissioned into the military.

Shortly after his death, two theories emerged about why he was killed. One was that it he was killed as an act of family revenge by Jesus Herrera
Jesús Herrera
Jesús Herrera is a retired long-distance runner from Mexico. He represented his native country at two consecutive Summer Olympics, starting in 1984. His best Olympic result was finishing in 11th place in the men's marathon, clocking 2:13:58, at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South...

, the last surviving son of Villa's former general Jose de la Luz Herrera. In 1914, Jose de la Luz Herrera and his family betrayed Villa and joined Carranza. Villa then made it a goal to exterminate the Herrera clan.

In 1915, Herrera's son Maclovio was accidentally killed by friendly fire while fighting Villa on the outskirts of Nuevo Larado, Tamaulipas. Another one Herrera's sons, General Luis Herrera, was captured in a hotel by Villa's soldiers after the Battle of Torreon in 1916 and was executed. In 1919, Jose de la Luz Herrera and his two sons Zeferino and Melchor, along with a number of the men their militia, were captured by Villa's soldiers after an unsuccessful on Villa's base in Parral and were executed; Villa, however, surprisingly pardoned and released the remaining prisoners who were captured. After Villa retired, Jesus Herrera was determined to use his family's wealth to seek revenge on Villa. In 1922, a secret war began between Herrera and Villa and lasted over a year. According to Villa, Herrera had bribed a number of men, including some of his own former generals, to kill him and was unsuccessful.

The other theory that emerged was that Villa was killed for political reasons. At the time of his death, Villa had taken an interest in running for President of Mexico and would have presented a significant challenge to his rival potential candidate Plutarco Elias Calles
Plutarco Elías Calles
Plutarco Elías Calles was a Mexican general and politician. He was president of Mexico from 1924 to 1928, but he continued to be the de facto ruler from 1928–1935, a period known as the maximato...

.

While it has never been completely proven who was responsible for the assassination, most historians attribute Villa's death to a well planned conspiracy, most likely initiated by Plutarco Elías Calles
Plutarco Elías Calles
Plutarco Elías Calles was a Mexican general and politician. He was president of Mexico from 1924 to 1928, but he continued to be the de facto ruler from 1928–1935, a period known as the maximato...

 and Joaquin Amaro
Joaquín Amaro
Joaquín Amaro Domínguez was a Mexican revolutionary general and military reformer. He served as Secretary of War in the cabinets of Presidents Plutarco Elías Calles, Emilio Portes Gil, and Pascual Ortiz Rubio, making him one of the longest-serving cabinet-level officials in Mexican history...

 with at least tacit approval of the then president of Mexico, Obregon. At the time, a state legislator from Durango
Durango
Durango officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Durango is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. The state is located in Northwest Mexico. With a population of 1,632,934, it has Mexico's second-lowest population density, after Baja...

, Jesus Salas Barraza, who Villa once whipped during a quarrel over a woman, claimed sole responsibility for the plot. Barraza admitted that he told his friend Gabriel Chavez, who worked as a dealer for General Motors, that he would kill Villa if he were paid 50,000 pesos. Chavez, who wasn't wealthy and didn't have 50,000 pesos on hand, then collected money from enemies of Villa and managed to collect a total of 100,000 pesos for Barraza and his other co-conspirators. Barraza also admitted that he and his co-conspirators watched Villa's daily car-rides and paid the pumpkinseed vendor at the scene of Villa's assassination to shout "Viva Villa!" either once if Villa was sitting in the front part of the car or twice if he was sitting in the back.

Despite the fact that he did not want to have a sitting politician arrested, Obregon gave into the people's demands and had Barraza arrested. Barraza was originally sentenced to 20 years in prison, The following month, however, Barraza's sentence was commuted to three months by the Governor of Chihuahua; Barraza eventually became a colonel in the Mexican Army. In a letter to the governor of Durango, Jesus Castro
Jesús Castro
José Jesús Castro Montaño was a Mexican soldier of the Cristero War. He is noted for sheltering himself, and other soldiers, inside the bell tower of the chapel of La Purísima from the federal troops after a battle that occurred in Cocula, Jalisco...

, Barraza agreed to be the "fall guy" and the same arrangement is mentioned in letters exchanged between Castro and Amaro. Others involved in the conspiracy were Felix Lara, the commander of federal troops in Parral, who was paid 50,000 pesos by Calles to remove his soldiers and policemen from the town on the day of the assassination, and Meliton Lozoya, the former owner of Villa's hacienda whom Villa was demanding pay back funds he had embezzled. It was Lozoya who planned the details of the assassination and found the men who carried it out. It was reported that before Barraza died of a stroke in his Mexico City home in 1951, his last words were "I'm not a murderer. I rid humanity of a monster."

Villa's purported death mask was hidden at the Radford School in El Paso
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

, Texas, until the 1970s, when it was sent to the Historical Museum of the Mexican Revolution
Historical Museum of the Mexican Revolution
The Historical Museum of the Mexican Revolution in the Mexican city of Chihuahua, Chih., is housed in the former estate of General Francisco Villa and his widow, Sra. María Luz Corral de Villa...

 in Chihuahua; other museums have ceramic and bronze representations that do not match this mask.

Villa was buried in the city cemetery of Parral, Chihuahua
Parral, Chihuahua
Hidalgo del Parral, is a city and seat of the municipality of Hidalgo del Parral in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It is located in the southern part of the state, 220 km from the state capital, the city of Chihuahua, Chih....

, Tombs for Villa exist in Chihuahua and Mexico City.