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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in San Juan del Rio, Durango, Mexico
Died in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico  (assassination)
Birth NameJosé Doroteo Arango Arámbula

Mini Bio (1)

Francisco "Pancho" Villa was born Doroteo Arango to rural peasant parents in San Juan del Rio, Mexico, on June 5, 1878. He later took several aliases, the most popular and well-known being "Pancho Villa". Raised in poverty in Durango, he turned to cattle rustling and robbery as a young man. The turning point in his life, however, was the day his sister was attacked and raped by Mexican army troops. Villa wanted revenge against the whole world and soon turned from being simply a bandit leader into a full-fledged revolutionary with the aim of overthrowing Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz. To that end Villa became an ally of another revolutionary, the urbane and educated Francisco I. Madero, and although the two were about as opposite from one another as it was possible to be, Villa soon became a diehard supporter of the diminutive Madero, whom he affectionately called "the little man". Madero appointed Villa a colonel in the revolutionary army. On May 11, 1911, Villa led a daring raid against the federal stronghold of Juarez, soundly defeating the government forces and securing Madero's position as the new president. After Diaz was driven from power and Madero installed as president, Villa went home. His stay there was not to be very long, however. Two years later Madero was overthrown and executed by renegade Gen. Victoriano Huerta. Enraged, Villa re-formed his army, now called the Army of the North, and became an important member of a coalition of anti-Huerta forces, among whom were such legendary Mexican figures as Emiliano Zapata and Venustiano Carranza.

Villa's mounted troops, called "Villistas", were highly mobile and seasoned by years of fighting against the Diaz regime. They inflicted a decisive defeat on Huerta's army in northern Mexico at the Battle of Zacatecas on June 23, 1913, then began a campaign to drive Huerta's forces south to their stronghold of Mexico City. By December, in conjunction with the armies of Carranza and Zapata, Villa captured Mexico City, forcing Huerta to flee and placing control of the government in the hands of the three rebel leaders. However, the following spring Villa was forced out of the triumvirate when he lost a power struggle with Carranza. In the ensuing conflict his troops were badly defeated by Carranza's army and Villa was forced to withdraw to his headquarters in Durango. There he resumed his life as a bandit, raiding isolated American border towns and mining camps as well as Mexican villages.

On March 9, 1916, troops under Villa's command raided the town of Columbus, New Mexico, looted it, burned down much of it and caused the deaths of more than a dozen residents, although about 30 of their own men were killed by American soldiers and civilians defending the town (supposedly Villa was angered by the U.S. authorities allowing elements of Carranza's army, which was pursuing him, to cross through American territory as a shortcut in an attempt to get ahead of Villa and ambush him, and the raid was in retaliation for that). The U.S. government sent an expeditionary force into Mexico under Gen. John J. Pershing to capture Villa. However, Villa's maneuverability and superior knowledge of the terrain enabled him to elude the pursuing American troops, and Pershing's forces withdrew from the area the following year.

In 1920 the Carranza government struck a deal with Villa in which he agreed to halt his raids in exchange for settling down on a ranch in Canutillo and being appointed a general in the Mexican army. However, on June 20, 1923, Villa was ambushed and murdered in Parral by followers of Álvaro Obregón, a former army general, who feared that Villa would oppose their leader's candidacy for president in the upcoming elections. Immediately following his death the name of Pancho Villa was eliminated from all history books, children's books and all monuments in Mexico. It wasn't until 1975 (more than a half-century after his death) that both the Mexican and American governments felt safe enough to exhume his body, and when they did, they discovered that someone had stolen his head. After a large parade was held in his honor in Mexico, Pancho Villa's body was sent to the cemetery where many Mexican revolutionary heroes were buried, and he was finally given the proper burial he deserved.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Spouse (3)

Austreberta Rentería (1921 - 20 July 1923) ( his death) ( 2 children)
Soledad Seañez Holguin (1919 - ?)
María Luz Corral (1911 - ?)

Trivia (4)

Mexican bandit and revolutionary.
In 1914, signed a contract with Mutual Films of New York for the screen rights to his guerrilla war (dramatized in And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003), with Antonio Banderas as Villa).
Villa acted as a "Producer" and consultant in the American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. film, Life of Villa (1912) which he portrayed himself in as well.

Personal Quotes (1)

[last words, as he lay dying from assassins' bullets] Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something.

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