Porfirio Díaz

José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori (/ˈdiːəs/;[1] Spanish: [poɾˈfiɾjo ði.as]; 15 September 1830 – 2 July 1915) was a Mexican general and politician who served seven terms as President of Mexico, a total of 31 years, from February 17, 1877 to December 1, 1880 and from December 1, 1884 to May 25, 1911. The entire period 1876-1911 is often referred to as the Porfiriato.

A veteran of the War of the Reform (1858–60) and the French intervention in Mexico (1862–67), Díaz rose to the rank of General, leading republican troops against the French-imposed rule of Emperor Maximilian. He subsequently revolted against Presidents Benito Juárez and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, on the principle of no re-election to the presidency. Diaz succeeded in seizing ousting Lerdo in a coup in 1876, with the help of his political supporters, and Diaz was elected in 1877. In 1880, he stepped down and his political ally Manuel González was elected president, serving from 1880-84. In 1884 Diaz abandoned the idea of no re-election and held office continuously until 1911.[2]

Díaz has been a controversial figure in Mexican history. His regime brought "order and progress," ending political turmoil and promoting economic development. Díaz and his allies, a group of technocrats known as Científicos "scientists."[3] His economic policies largely benefited his circle of allies as well as foreign investors, and helped a few wealthy estate-owning hacendados acquire huge areas of land, leaving rural campesinos unable to make a living. It later years grew unpopular due to civil repression and political conflicts, as well as challenges from labor and the peasantry, groups that did not share in Mexico's prosperity.

Despite public statements in 1908 favoring a return to democracy and not running again for office, Díaz reversed himself and ran again in 1910. His failure to institutionalize presidential succession, since he was by then 80 years old, triggered a political crisis between the Científicos and the followers of General Bernardo Reyes, allied with the military and with peripheral regions of Mexico.[4] After Díaz declared himself the winner of an eighth term in office in 1910, his electoral opponent, wealthy estate owner Francisco I. Madero, issued the Plan of San Luis Potosí calling for armed rebellion against Díaz, leading to the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution. After the Federal Army suffered a number of military defeats against the forces supporting Madero, Díaz was forced to resign in May 1911 and went into exile in Paris, where he died four years later.

Porfirio Díaz Mori
Porfirio diaz
29th President of Mexico
In office
1 December 1884 – 25 May 1911
Vice PresidentRamón Corral
Preceded byManuel González
Succeeded byFrancisco León de la Barra
In office
17 February 1877 – 1 December 1880
Preceded byJuan N. Méndez
Succeeded byManuel González
In office
28 November 1876 – 6 December 1876
Preceded byJosé María Iglesias
Succeeded byJuan N. Méndez
Personal details
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori

15 September 1830
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Died2 July 1915 (aged 84)
Paris, France
Resting placeCimetière du Montparnasse, Paris
Political partyNational Porfirist Party
National Reelectionist Party (previously Liberal Party)
Delfina Ortega Díaz (m. 1867–1880)
; her death
Carmen Romero Rubio (m. 1881–1915)
; his death
ChildrenDeodato Lucas Porfirio (1875–46)
Luz Aurora Victoria (1875–65)
ParentsJosé Faustino Díaz Orozco
María Petrona Mori Córtés
ProfessionMilitary officer, politician.
Porfirio Díaz's signature
Military service
Allegiance Mexico
Branch/service Mexican Army
Years of service1848–1876

Early years

María Petrona Mori Cortés, mother of Porfirio Díaz, photo ca. 1854 in Oaxaca.

Porfirio Díaz was the sixth of seven children, baptized on 15 September 1830, in Oaxaca, Mexico, but his actual date of birth is unknown.[5] September 15 is an important date in Mexican history, the eve of the day when hero of independence Miguel Hidalgo issued his call for independence in 1810; when Díaz became president, the independence anniversary was commemorated on September 15 rather than on the 16th, a practice that continues to the present era.[6] Díaz was a castizo.[7] His mother, Petrona Mori (or Mory), was the daughter of a man whose father had immigrated from Spain and Tecla Cortés, an indigenous woman; Díaz's father was a Criollo.[7][8] There is confusion about his father's name, which is listed on the baptismal certificate as José de la Cruz Díaz; he was also known as José Faustino Díaz, and was a modest innkeeper who died of cholera when his son was three.[7][8]

Despite the family's difficult economic circumstances following Díaz's father's death in 1833, Díaz was sent to school at age 6.[9] In the early independence period, the choice of professions was narrow: lawyer, priest, physician, military. The Díaz family was devoutly religious, and Díaz began training for the priesthood at the age of fifteen when his mother, María Petrona Mori Cortés, sent him to the Colegio Seminario Conciliar de Oaxaca. He was offered a post as a priest in 1846, but national events intervened. Díaz joined with seminary students who volunteered as soldiers to repel the U.S. invasion during the Mexican–American War, and, despite not seeing action, decided his future was in the military, not the priesthood.[9] Also in 1846, Díaz came into contact with a leading Oaxaca liberal, Marcos Pérez, who taught at the secular Institute of Arts and Sciences in Oaxaca. That same year, Díaz met Benito Juárez, who became governor of Oaxaca in 1847, a former student there.[10] In 1849, over the objections of his family, Díaz abandoned his ecclesiastical career and entered the Instituto de Ciencias and studied law.[8][10] When Antonio López de Santa Anna was returned to power by a coup d'état in 1853, he suspended the 1824 constitution and began persecuting liberals. At this point, Díaz had already aligned himself with radical liberals (rojos), such as Benito Juárez. Juárez was forced into exile in New Orleans; Díaz supported the liberal Plan de Ayutla that called for the ouster of Santa Anna. Díaz evaded an arrest warrant and fled to the mountains of northern Oaxaca, where he joined the rebellion of Juan Álvarez.[11] In 1855, Díaz joined a band of liberal guerrillas who were fighting Santa Anna's government. After the ousting and exile of Santa Anna, Díaz was rewarded with a post in Ixtlán, Oaxaca, that gave him valuable practical experience as an administrator.

Military career

Young Porfirio Diaz
Colonel Porfirio Díaz, 1861.

Díaz's military career is most notable for his service in the struggle against the French. By the time of the Battle of Puebla (5 May 1862), Mexico's great victory over the French when they first invaded, Díaz had advanced to the rank of general and was placed in command of an infantry brigade.[8][12]

During the Battle of Puebla, his brigade was positioned centered between the forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. From there, he successfully helped repel a French infantry attack meant as a diversion, to distract the Mexican commanders' attention from the forts that were the French army's main targets. In violation of General Ignacio Zaragoza's orders, after helping fight off the larger French force, Díaz and his unit then pursued them and later Zaragoza commended his actions during the battle as "brave and notable".

13488 2 de abril de 1867. Entrada del general Porfirio Díaz a Puebla
The Third Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, oil painting on canvas depicting an entrance of Porfirio Díaz to Puebla, April 2, 1867

In 1863, Díaz was captured by the French Army. He escaped and President Benito Juárez offered him the positions of secretary of defense or army commander in chief. He declined both, but took an appointment as commander of the Central Army. That same year, he was promoted to the position of Division General.

In 1864, the conservatives supporting Emperor Maximilian asked him to join the Imperial cause. Díaz declined the offer. In 1865, he was captured by the Imperial forces in Oaxaca. He escaped and fought the battles of Tehuitzingo, Piaxtla, Tulcingo and Comitlipa.

In 1866, Díaz formally declared loyalty. That same year, he earned victories in Nochixtlán, Miahuatlán, and La Carbonera, and once again captured Oaxaca. He was then promoted to general. Also in 1866, Marshal Bazaine, commander of the Imperial forces, offered to surrender Mexico City to Díaz if he withdrew support of Juárez. Díaz declined the offer. In 1867, Emperor Maximilian offered Díaz the command of the army and the imperial rendition to the liberal cause. Díaz refused both. Finally, on 2 April 1867, he went on to win the final battle for Puebla.

Early opposition political career

Porfirio Díaz in 1867

When Juárez became the president of Mexico in 1868 and began to restore peace, Díaz resigned his military command and went home to Oaxaca. However, it was not long before Díaz was openly opposed to the Juárez administration, since Juárez held onto the presidency. As a Liberal military hero, Díaz had ambitions for national political power. He challenged the civilian president Benito Juárez, who was running for what Díaz considered an illegal subsequent term as president. In 1870, Díaz ran against President Juárez and Vice President Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada. In 1871, he made claims of fraud in the July elections won by Juárez, who was confirmed as president by the Congress in October. In response, Díaz launched the Plan de la Noria on 8 November 1871, supported by a number of rebellions across the nation, including one by General Manuel González of Tamaulipas, but this rebellion failed.[13] In March 1872, Díaz's forces were defeated in the battle of La Bufa in Zacatecas.

Following the death of Juárez of natural causes on 9 July 1872, Lerdo became president. With Juárez's death, Diaz's principle of no re-election could not be used to oppose civilian Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, who became president. Lerdo offered amnesty to the rebels, which Díaz accepted and "retired" to the Hacienda de la Candelaria in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, rather than his home state of Oaxaca.[13] In 1874, Diaz was elected to Congress from Veracruz. Opposition to Lerdo grew, particularly as his militant anti-clericalism increased, labor unrest grew, and a major rebellion of the Yaqui in northwest Mexico under the leadership of Cajemé challenged central government rule there.[14] Díaz saw an opportunity to plot a more successful rebellion, leaving Mexico in 1875 for New Orleans and Brownsville, Texas with his political ally, fellow general Manuel González. Although Lerdo offered Diaz an ambassadorship in Europe, a way to remove him from the Mexican political scene, Diaz refused. With Lerdo running for a term of his own, Diaz could again invoke the principle of no re-election as a reason to revolt.

Becoming president and first term, 1876-80

Porfirio Diaz ak
Porfirio Díaz circa 1880

Diaz launched his rebellion in Ojitlan, Oaxaca, on 10 January 1876 under the Plan of Tuxtepec, which initially failed. Díaz fled to the United States. [8] Lerdo was re-elected in July 1876 and his constitutional government was recognized by the United States. Díaz returned to Mexico and fought the Battle of Tecoac, where he defeated the Lerdo's forces in what turned out to be the last battle (on 16 November).[8] In November 1876, Díaz occupied Mexico City, Lerdo left Mexico for exile in New York. Díaz did not take formal control of the presidency until the beginning of 1877, putting General Juan N. Méndez as provisional president, followed by new presidential elections in 1877 that gave Díaz the presidency. Ironically, one of his government's first amendments to the 1857 liberal constitution was to prevent re-election.[15]

Although the new election gave some air of legitimacy to Diaz's government, the United States did not recognize the regime. It was not clear that Diaz would continue to prevail against supporters of ousted President Lerdo, who continued to challenge Diaz's regime by insurrections, which ultimately failed. In addition, cross-border Apache attacks with raids on one side and sanctuary on the other was a sticking point.[16] There were a number of conditions that Mexico needed to meet before the U.S. would consider recognizing Diaz's government, including controlling the cross-border Apache raids and payment of a debt to the U.S. The U.S.emissary to Mexico, John W. Foster, had the duty to protect the interests of the U.S., first and foremost. Lerdo's government had entered into negotiations with the U.S. over claims that each had against the other in previous conflicts. A joint U.S.-Mexico Claims Commission was established in 1868, in the wake of fall of the French Empire.[17] When Diaz seized power from Lerdo's government, he inherited Lerdo's negotiated settlement with the U.S. As Mexican historian Daniel Cosío Villegas put it, "He Who Wins Pays."[18] Diaz secured recognition by paying $300,000 to settle claims by the U.S. In 1878, the U.S. government recognized the Díaz regime and former U.S. president and Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant visited Mexico.[19]

During his first term in office, Díaz developed a pragmatic and personalist approach to solve political conflicts. Although a political liberal who had stood with radical liberals in Oaxaca (rojos), he was not a liberal ideologue, preferring pragmatic approaches towards political issues. He was explicit about his pragmatism. He maintained control through generous patronage to political allies.[20] In his first term, members of his political alliance were discontented that they had not sufficiently benefited from political and financial rewards. In general he sought conciliation, but force could be an option. "'Five fingers or five bullets,' as he was fond of saying."[21] Although he was an authoritarian ruler, he maintained the structure of elections, so that there was the façade of liberal democracy. His administration became famous for suppression of civil society and public revolts. One of the catch phrases of his later terms in office was the choice between "pan o palo", ("bread or the bludgeon")—that is, "benevolence or repression."[22] Díaz saw his task in his term as president to create internal order so that economic development could be possible. As a military hero and astute politician, Díaz's eventual successful establishment of that peace (Pax Porfiriana) became "one of [Díaz's] principal achievements, and it became the main justification for successive re-elections after 1884."[23]

Diaz and his advisers' pragmatism in relation to the United States became the policy of "defensive modernization," which attempted to make the best of Mexico's weak position against its northern neighbor. Attributed to Diaz was the phrase "so far from God, so close to the United States." Diaz's advisers Matías Romero, Juárez's emissary to the U.S., and Manuel Zamacona, a minister in Juárez's government, advised a policy of "peaceful invasion" of U.S. capital to Mexico, with the expectation that it would then be "naturalized" in Mexico. In their view, such an arrangement would "provide 'all possible advantages of annexation without ....its inconveniences'."[24] Diaz was won to that viewpoint, which promoted Mexican economic development and gave the U.S. an outlet for its capital and allowed for its influence in Mexico. By 1880, Mexico was forging a new relationship with the U.S. as Diaz's term of office was ending.

González presidency, 1880-84

President Manuel Gonzalez
President Manuel González
Matias Romero
Important Diaz political ally, Matías Romero

Diaz stepped down from the presidency, with his ally, Manuel González, one of the trustworthy members of his political network (camarilla), elected president in a fully constitutional manner.[8] This four-year period, often characterized as the "González Interregnum,"[25] is sometimes seen as Diaz placing a puppet in the presidency, but González ruled in his own right and was viewed as a legitimate president free of the taint of coming to power by coup. During this period, Diaz briefly served as governor of his home state of Oaxaca. He also devoted time to his personal life, highlighted by his marriage to Carmen Romero Rubio, the devout 17 year old daughter of Manuel Romero Rubio, a supporter of Lerdo. The couple honeymooned in the U.S., going to the New Orleans World's Fair, St Louis, Washington D.C. and New York. Accompanying them on their travels was Matías Romero and his U.S.-born wife. This working honeymoon allowed Diaz to forge personal connections with politicians and powerful businessmen with Romero's friends, including former U.S. President, Ulysses S. Grant. Romero then publicized the growing amity between the two countries and the safety of Mexico for U.S. investors.[26]

President González was making room in his government for political networks not originally part of Diaz's coalition, some of whom had been loyalists to Lerdo, including Evaristo Madero, whose grandson Francisco would later challenge Diaz for the presidency in 1910. Important legislation changing rights to land and subsoil rights, and to encourage immigration and colonization by U.S. nations was passed during the González presidency. The administration also extended lucrative railway concessions to U.S. investors. Despite those developments, the González administration met financial and political difficulties, with the later period bringing the government to bankruptcy and popular opposition. Diaz's father-in-law Manuel Romero Rubio linked these issues to personal corruption by González. Despite Diaz's previous protestations of "no re-election," he ran for a second term in the 1884 elections.[27]

During this period the Mexican underground political newspapers spread the new ironic slogan for the Porfirian times, based on the slogan "Sufragio Efectivo, No Reelección" (Effective suffrage, no re-election) and changed it to its opposite, "Sufragio Efectivo No, Reelección" (Effective suffrage - No. Re-election!).[28] Díaz had the constitution amended, first to allow two terms in office, and then to remove all restrictions on re-election. With these changes in place, Díaz was re-elected four more times by implausibly high margins, and on some occasions claimed to have won with either unanimous or near-unanimous support.[28]

Over the next twenty-six years as president, Díaz created a systematic and methodical regime with a staunch military mindset.[8] His first goal was to establish peace throughout Mexico. According to John A. Crow, Díaz "set out to establish a good strong paz porfiriana, or Porfirian peace, of such scope and firmness that it would redeem the country in the eyes of the world for its sixty-five years of revolution and anarchy" since independence. [29] His second goal was outlined in his motto – "little of politics and plenty of administration,"[29] meaning the eliminating open political conflict replaced by a well-functioning government apparatus.


Díaz managed to dissolve all local authorities and all aspects of federalism that once existed. Not long after he became president, the governors of all federal states in Mexico answered directly to him.[8] Those who held high positions of power, such as members of the legislature, were almost entirely his closest and most loyal friends. In his quest for even more political control, Díaz suppressed the press and controlled the court system.[8]

In order to secure his power, Díaz engaged in various forms of co-optation and coercion. He constantly balanced between the private desires of different interest groups and playing off one interest against another.[8] In order to satisfy any competing forces, such as the mixed-race Mestizos and wealthier indigenous people, he gave them political positions of power that they could not refuse. He did the same thing with the elite Creole society by not interfering with their wealth and haciendas. Covering both pro and anti-clerical elements, Díaz was both the head of the Freemasons in Mexico and an important advisor to the Catholic bishops.[30] Díaz proved to be a different kind of liberal than those of the past. He neither assaulted the Church (like most liberals) nor protected the Church.[31] Mexico's indigenous communities in central and south lost their lands by expropriation and their leader were undermined politically.

Díaz knew that it was crucial for him to suppress banditry; he expanded the guardias rurales (countryside police), although it guarded chiefly only transport routes to major cities.[32] Díaz thus worked to enhance his control over the military and the police.[31]

Although from 1892 onwards, Díaz's perennial opponent was the eccentric Nicolás Zúñiga y Miranda, who lost every election but always claimed fraud and considered himself to be the legitimately elected president of Mexico, he did not mount a serious challenge to the regime.[33] More importantly as the 1910 election approached and Diaz stated he would not run for re-election, leaders of two factions within his administration, José Yves Limantour and GeneralBernardo Reyes vied against each other for favor, with political outsider Francisco I. Madero challenging Díaz in 1910.

Economic development under Díaz

A photo of the Metlac railway bridge, an example of engineering achievement that overcame geographical barriers and allowed efficient movement of goods and people. Photo by Guillermo Kahlo.

"It was the golden age of Mexican economics, 3.2 dollars per peso. Mexico was compared economically to economic powers of the time such as France, Great Britain, and Germany. For some Mexicans, there was no money and the doors were thrown open to those who had."[29] Economic progress varied drastically from region to region. The north was defined by mining and ranching while the central valley became the home of large-scale farms for wheat and grain and large industrial centers.[31]

One component of economic growth involved stimulating foreign investment in the Mexican mining sector. Through tax waivers and other incentives, investment and growth were effectively realized. The desolate region of Baja California Sur benefited from the establishment of an economic zone with the founding of the town of Santa Rosalía and the commercial development of the El Boleo copper mine. This came about when Díaz granted a French mining company a 70-year tax waiver in return for its substantial investment in the project. In a similar fashion, the city of Guanajuato realized substantial foreign investment in local silver mining ventures. The city subsequently experienced a period of prosperity, symbolized by the construction of numerous landmark buildings, most notably, the magnificent Juárez Theatre.

Because Díaz had created such an effective centralized government, he was able to concentrate decision-making and maintain control over the economic instability.[31] This instability arose largely as a result of the dispossession of hundreds of thousands of peasants of their land. Communal indigenous landholdings were privatized, subdivided, and sold. The Porfiriato thus generated a stark contrast between rapid economic growth and sudden, severe impoverishment of the rural masses, a situation that was to explode in the Mexican revolution of 1910.[34]

During 1883-1894, laws were passed to give fewer and fewer people large amounts of land. Land was taken away from people by bribing local judges to declare them vacant. Díaz's friend obtained 12 million acres of land in Baja California by bribing local judges. Those who opposed were killed or captured and sold as slaves to plantations.[35]

Relations with the Catholic Church

Porfirio Diaz
Porfirio Díaz

Unlike many doctrinaire liberals, Díaz was not virulently anti-clerical. Radical liberalism was anti-clerical, seeing the privileges of the Church as challenging the idea of equality before the law and individual, rather than corporate identity. The economic power of the Church was considered a detriment to modernization and development. The Church as a major corporate landowner and de facto banking institution shaped investments to conservative landed estates more than industry, infrastructure building, or exports.

However, powerful liberals following the ouster of Santa Anna had moved to implement legal measures to curtail the power of the Church. The Juárez Law abolished special privileges (fueros) of ecclesiastics and the military, and the Lerdo law mandated disentailment of the property of corporations, specifically the Church and indigenous communities. The liberal constitution of 1857 removed the privileged position of the Catholic Church and opened the way to religious toleration, considering religious expression as freedom of speech. However, Catholic priests were ineligible for elective office, but could vote.[36] Conservatives fought back in the War of the Reform, under the banner of religión y fueros (that is, Catholicism and special privileges of corporate groups), but they were defeated in 1861. Conservatives unsuccessfully tried again with the French Intervention (1862–67) to reinstate the dominance of the Church.

Following the fall of the Second Empire in 1867, liberal presidents Benito Juárez and his successor Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada began implementing the anti-clerical measures of the constitution. Lerdo went further, extending the laws of the Reform to formalize: separation of Church and State; civil marriage as the only valid manner for State recognition; prohibitions of religious corporations to acquire real estate; elimination from legal oaths any religious element, but only a declaration to tell the truth; and the elimination of monastic vows as legally binding.[37] Further prohibitions on the Church in 1874 included: the exclusion of religion in public institutions; restriction of religious acts to church precincts; banning of religious garb in public except within churches; and prohibition of the ringing of church bells except to summon parishioners.[38]

Díaz was a political pragmatist and not an ideologue, likely seeing that the religious question re-opened political discord in Mexico. When he rebelled against Lerdo, Díaz had at least the tacit and perhaps even the explicit support of the Church.[39] When he came to power in 1877, Díaz left the anti-clerical laws in place, but no longer enforced them as state policy, leaving that to individual Mexican states. This led to the re-emergence of the Church in many areas, but in others a less full role. The Church flouted the Reform prohibitions against wearing clerical garb, there were open-air processions and Masses, and religious orders existed.[40] The Church also recovered its property, sometimes through intermediaries, and tithes were again collected.[40] The Church regained its role in education, with the complicity of the Díaz regime which did not put money into public education. The Church also regained its role in running charitable institutions.[41] Despite an increasingly visible role of the Catholic Church during the Porfiriato, the Vatican was unsuccessful in getting the reinstatement of a formal relationship between the papacy and Mexico, and the constitutional limitations of the Church as an institution remained the law of the land.[42]

This modus vivendi between Díaz and the Church had pragmatic and positive consequences. Díaz did not publicly renounce liberal anti-clericalism, meaning that the Constitution of 1857 remained in place, but neither did he enforce its anti-clerical measures. Conflict could reignite, but it was to the advantage of both Church and the Díaz government for this arrangement to continue. If the Church did counter Díaz, he had the constitutional means to rein in its power. The Church regained considerable economic power, with conservative intermediaries holding lands for it. The Church remained important in education and charitable institutions. Other important symbols of the normalization of religion in late 19th century Mexico included: the return of the Jesuits (expelled by the Bourbon monarchy in 1767); the crowning of the Virgin of Guadalupe as "Queen of Mexico"; and the support of Mexican bishops for Díaz's work as peacemaker.[43] Not surprisingly, when the Mexican Revolution broke out in 1910, the Catholic Church was a staunch supporter of the Díaz regime.[44]

Collapse of the regime

Díaz – Creelman interview, Pearson's Magazine, 1908.

On 17 February 1908, in an interview with the U.S. journalist James Creelman of Pearson's Magazine, Díaz stated that Mexico was ready for democracy and elections and that he would retire and allow other candidates to compete for the presidency.[8] Without hesitation, several opposition and pro-government groups united to find suitable candidates who would represent them in the upcoming presidential elections. Many liberals formed clubs supporting the governor of Nuevo León, Bernardo Reyes, as a candidate for the presidency. Despite the fact that Reyes never formally announced his candidacy, Díaz continued to perceive him as a threat and sent him on a mission to Europe, so that he was not in the country for the elections.

In 1909, Díaz and William Taft, the then president of the United States, planned a summit in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, a historic first meeting between a U.S. president and a Mexican president and also the first time an American president would cross the border into Mexico.[45] Díaz requested the meeting to show U.S. support for his planned seventh run as president, and Taft agreed in order to protect the several billion dollars of American capital then invested in Mexico.[46] After nearly 30 years with Díaz in power, U.S. businesses controlled "nearly 90 percent of Mexico's mineral resources, its national railroad, its oil industry and, increasingly, its land."[47] Both sides agreed that the disputed Chamizal strip connecting El Paso to Ciudad Juárez would be considered neutral territory with no flags present during the summit, but the meeting focused attention on this territory and resulted in assassination threats and other serious security concerns.[48] The Texas Rangers, 4,000 U.S. and Mexican troops, U.S. Secret Service agents, FBI agents and U.S. marshals were all called in to provide security.[49] An additional 250 private security detail led by Frederick Russell Burnham, the celebrated scout, were hired by John Hays Hammond, a close friend of Taft from Yale and a former candidate for U.S. Vice-President in 1908 who, along with his business partner Burnham, held considerable mining interests in Mexico.[50][51][52] On October 16, the day of the summit, Burnham and Private C.R. Moore, a Texas Ranger, discovered a man holding a concealed palm pistol standing at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce building along the procession route.[53] Burnham and Moore captured and disarmed the assassin within only a few feet of Díaz and Taft.[54]

As groups began to settle on their presidential candidate, Díaz decided that he was not going to retire but rather allow Francisco I. Madero, an aristocratic but democratically leaning reformer, to run against him. Although Madero, a landowner, was very similar to Díaz in his ideology, he hoped for other elites in Mexico to rule alongside the president. Ultimately, however, Díaz did not approve of Madero and had him jailed during the 1910 election.

The election went ahead. Madero had gathered much popular support, but when the government announced the official results, Díaz was proclaimed to have been re-elected almost unanimously, with Madero said to have attained a minuscule number of votes. This case of massive electoral fraud aroused widespread anger throughout the Mexican citizenry.[8] Madero called for revolt against Díaz in the Plan of San Luis Potosí, and violence to oust is now seen as the first phase of the Mexican Revolution. Díaz was forced to resign in office on May 25, 1911 and left the country for Spain six days later on May 31, 1911.[55]

Personal life

Porforio Diaz
Porfirio Díaz and his second wife Carmen Romero Rubio with other members of the Porfirian ruling faction

Díaz came from a devoutly Catholic family; his uncle, José Agustín, was bishop of Oaxaca. Díaz had trained for the priesthood, and it seemed likely that was his career path. Oaxaca was a center of liberalism, and the founding of the Institute of Arts and Sciences, a secular institution, helped foster professional training for Oaxacan liberals, including Benito Juárez and Porfirio Díaz. When Díaz abandoned his ecclesiastical career for one in the military, his powerful uncle disowned him.[56]

In Díaz's personal life, it is clear that religion still mattered and that fierce anti-clericalism could have a high price. In 1870, his brother Félix, a fellow liberal, who was then governor of Oaxaca, had rigorously applied the anti-clerical laws of the Reform. In the rebellious and supposedly idolatrous town of Juchitán in Tehuantepec, Félix Díaz had "roped the image of the patron saint of Juchitán … to his horse and dragged it away, returning the saint days later with its feet cut off".[57] When Félix had to flee Oaxaca City in 1871 following Porfirio's failed coup against Juárez, Félix ended up in Juchitán, where the villagers killed him, doing to his body even worse than he did to their saint.[57] Having lost a brother to the fury of religious peasants, Díaz had a cautionary tale about the dangers of enforcing anti-clericalism. Even so, it is clear that Díaz wanted to remain in good standing with the Church.

Díaz married Delfina Ortega Díaz (1845–1880), the daughter of his sister, Manuela Josefa Díaz Mori (1824–1856). Díaz and his niece would have seven children, with Delfina dying due to complications of her seventh delivery. Following her death, he wrote a private letter to Church officials renouncing the Laws of the Reform, which allowed his wife to be buried with Catholic rites on sacred ground.[58] When Díaz remarried in 1881, to Carmen Romero Rubio, the pious 17-year-old daughter of one of his advisors, Oaxaca cleric Father Eulogio Gillow y Zavala gave his blessing. Gillow was later appointed archbishop of Oaxaca. Doña Carmen is credited with bringing Díaz into closer reconciliation with the Church, but Díaz was already inclined in that direction.[43]

On 2 July 1915, Díaz died in exile in Paris, France. He is buried there in the Cimetière du Montparnasse. He was survived by his second wife (María del Carmen Romero-Rubio Castelló, 1864–1944) and two of his children (Deodato Lucas Porfirio Díaz Ortega, 1873–1946, and Luz Aurora Victoria Díaz Ortega, 1875–1965). His other five children died as infants. His widow was allowed to return to Mexico in the 1940s under the presidency of Manuel Ávila Camacho.[59]

In 1938, the 430-piece collection of arms of the late General Porfirio Díaz was donated to the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.[60]


Celebration of Mexico's first one hundred years of Independence in 1910, Porfirio Díaz (left) and Enrique Creel (center)

The legacy of Díaz has undergone revision since the 1990s. In Díaz's lifetime before his ouster, there was an adulatory literature, which has been named "Porfirismo". The vast literature that characterizes him as a ruthless tyrant and dictator has its origins in the late period of Díaz's rule and has continued to shape Díaz's historical image. In recent years, however, Díaz's legacy has been re-evaluated by Mexican historians, most prominently by Enrique Krauze, in what has been termed "Neo-Porfirismo".[61][62][63] As Mexico pursued a neoliberal path under President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the modernizing policies of Díaz that opened Mexico up to foreign investment fit with the new pragmatism of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Díaz was characterized as a far more benign figure for these revisionists.

With the wave of anti-Americanism in 2003, the following words of Díaz were recalled: "Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States."[64]

Partly due to Díaz's lengthy tenure, the current Mexican constitution limits a president to a single six-year term with no possibility of re-election, even if it is nonconsecutive. Additionally, no one who holds the post, even on a caretaker basis, is allowed to run or serve again. This provision is so entrenched that it remained in place even after legislators were allowed to run for a second consecutive term.

There have been several attempts to return Díaz's remains to Mexico since the 1920s. The most recent movement started in 2014 in Oaxaca by the Comisión Especial de los Festejos del Centenario Luctuoso de Porfirio Díaz Mori, which is headed by Francisco Jiménez. According to some, the fact that Díaz's remains have not been returned to Mexico "symbolises the failure of the post-Revolutionary state to come to terms with the legacy of the Díaz regime."[59][65]


List of notable foreign awards awarded to President Díaz:[66]

Country Awards
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary Grand Cross of the Royal Hungarian Order of St. Stephen
Belgium Belgium Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
Qing dynasty Qing Dynasty (China) First Class Condecoration of the Imperial Order of the Double Dragon
France France Napoleon's Austerlitz sword
Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour
Kingdom of Italy Kingdom of Italy Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
Empire of Japan Empire of Japan Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum
Netherlands Netherlands Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
Qajar Dynasty (Persia) First Class Condecoration with Grand Cordon of the Order of the Lion and the Sun
Kingdom of Prussia Kingdom of Prussia Grand Cross of the Order of the Red Eagle
Portugal Kingdom of Portugal Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword
Russian Empire Russian Empire Star of the Imperial Order of St. Alexander Nevsky
Spain Spain Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic
Grand Cross of the Order of Military Merit
Sweden Knight of the Order of the Sword
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
Venezuela Venezuela First Class of the Order of the Liberator
Hawaii Kingdom of Hawaii Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Kalākaua I

In popular culture

The main Mexican holiday is the Day of Independence, celebrated on September 16. Americans are more familiar with the Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the date of the Battle of Puebla, in which Díaz participated, when a major victory was won against the French. Under the Porfiriato, the Mexican Consuls in the United States gave Cinco de Mayo more importance than the Day of Independence due to the President's personal involvement in the events. It is still widely celebrated in the United States, although largely due to cultural permeation.

  • The film The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin (1918) has Díaz played by Pedro Sose
  • The film The Mad Empress (1939) has Díaz played by Earl Gunn
  • The film Juarez (1939) has Díaz played by John Garfield
  • The film Porfirio Díaz (1944) is a biopic of his life
  • The film My Memories of Mexico (1944) has Díaz played by Antonio R. Frausto
  • The film Sobre las olas (1950) has Díaz by Antonio R. Frausto
  • The film Viva Zapata! (1952) has Díaz by Fay Roope
  • The film Terra em Transe (1967) uses the character metaphorically. It is interpreted by the Brazilian actor Paulo Autran and the character is portrayed as a conservative president supported by revolutionary forces.
  • The Mexican soap opera La Constitución (1970) has Díaz played by Miguel Manzano
  • The Mexican soap opera El Carruaje (1972) has Díaz played by Salvador Sánchez
  • Porfirio Díaz is one of the main characters of the Mexican soap opera El Vuelo del Águila (1994) with Humberto Zurita as the young Díaz and Manuel Ojeda playing Díaz as President and Fabián Robles as a child
  • The film Zapata - El sueño del héroe (2004) has Díaz played by Justo Martínez
  • The card-game "Pax Porfiriana" (2012) has, as its theme, the competing hacendados jockeying to win out in the regime and topple Díaz.
  • Post-hardcore punk band At the Drive-In has a track titled "Porfirio Díaz" on their 1996 debut album Acrobatic Tenement
  • The novel All the Pretty Horses (1992) by Cormac McCarthy. Alejandra's aunt is a childhood friend of Francisco Madero. The revolution is mentioned in a monologue.
  • The James Carlos Blake novels The Friends of Pancho Villa (1996), in which Díaz is a major character, and Country of the Bad Wolfes (2012), in which Díaz is a central character.
  • Porfirio Díaz is referenced in chapter two of D.H. Lawrence's seminal Studies in Classical American Literature (1923), with respect to the "perfectibility of man."
  • Michael Nava's novel, The City of Palaces" is set against the backdrop of Porfirio's presidency and the Mexican revolution.



Porfirio Díaz before 1910


Resignation letter of 1911

Ext tomb PD

Porfirio Díaz, mausoleum, Montparnasse cemetery, Paris

Int tomb PD

Porfirio Díaz, tomb interior

Familia Díaz

Díaz family on vacation in Egypt

See also


  1. ^ "Díaz". Dictionary.com.
  2. ^ Schell,William Jr. "Politics and Government: 1876-1910" in Encyclopedia of Mexico. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, pp. 1111-1117.
  3. ^ Vaughan, Mary Kay, "Científicos" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, vol. 2, p. 155. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
  4. ^ Vaughan, "Cientificos", p. 155.
  5. ^ Garner (2001), pp. 25, 44, n.4
  6. ^ Garner (2001), p. 21
  7. ^ a b c Garner (2001), p. 25
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Britannica (1993), p. 70
  9. ^ a b Garner (2001), p. 26
  10. ^ a b Garner (2001), p. 27
  11. ^ Garner (2001), pp. 35, 241
  12. ^ Garza, James A., "Porfirio Díaz" in Encyclopedia of Mexico, Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, p. 406.
  13. ^ a b Garner (2001), p. 245
  14. ^ Garner (2001), p. 246
  15. ^ Garner (2001), p. 247
  16. ^ Schell, "Politics and Government: 1976-1910," p. 1112
  17. ^ Feller, A.H. The Mexican Claims Commissions, 1823-1934: A Study in the Law and Procedure of International Tribunals. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1935, p. 6
  18. ^ Cosio Villegas, Daniel. The United States Versus Porfirio Diaz, translated by Nettie Lee Benson. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1963, p. 13.
  19. ^ Garner (2001), pp. 247–248
  20. ^ Garner (2001), p. 70
  21. ^ Schell, "Politics and Government: 1876-1910," p. 1112.
  22. ^ Krauze (1997), p. 212
  23. ^ Garner (2001), p. 69
  24. ^ quoted in Schell, "Politics and Government: 1876-1910", p. 1112
  25. ^ *Coerver, Don M. The Porfirian Interregnum: The Presidency of Manuel González of Mexico, 1880-1884. 1979.
  26. ^ Schell, "Politics and Government: 1876-1910", pp. 1112-13.
  27. ^ Schell, "Politics and Government: 1876-1910, 1113
  28. ^ a b Buckman, Robert T. (2007). The World Today Series: Latin America 2007. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia: Stryker-Post Publications. ISBN 978-1-887985-84-0.
  29. ^ a b c Crow (1992)
  30. ^ Zayas Enríquez, Rafael (1908). Porfirio Díaz. p. 31.
  31. ^ a b c d Skidmore & Smith (1989)
  32. ^ Vanderwood (1970)
  33. ^ Colín, Ricardo Pacheco. "Zúñiga y Miranda, "Presidente legítimo"" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  34. ^ Eakin (2007), p. 26
  35. ^ 1948-, Meade, Teresa A.,. A history of modern Latin America : 1800 to the present (Second ed.). Chichester, West Sussex. ISBN 9781118772485. OCLC 915135785.
  36. ^ Mecham (1934), p. 437
  37. ^ Mecham (1934), p. 454
  38. ^ Mecham (1934), pp. 454–455
  39. ^ Mecham (1934), p. 456
  40. ^ a b Mecham (1934), p. 457
  41. ^ Mecham (1934), pp. 457–459
  42. ^ Mecham (1934), p. 459
  43. ^ a b Krauze (1997), pp. 227–228
  44. ^ Mecham (1934), p. 460
  45. ^ Harris & Sadler (2009), p. 1
  46. ^ Harris & Sadler (2009), p. 2
  47. ^ Zeit, Joshua (February 4, 2017). "The Last Time the U.S. Invaded Mexico". Politico Magazine. Washington, D.C.: Politico. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  48. ^ Harris & Sadler (2009), p. 14
  49. ^ Harris & Sadler (2009), p. 15
  50. ^ Hampton (1910)
  51. ^ van Wyk (2003), pp. 440–446
  52. ^ "Mr. Taft's Peril; Reported Plot to Kill Two Presidents". Daily Mail. London. October 16, 1909. ISSN 0307-7578.
  53. ^ Hammond (1935), pp. 565–566
  54. ^ Harris & Sadler (2009), p. 213
  55. ^ "Gen. Diaz Departs and Warns Mexico". New York Times. May 31, 1911. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  56. ^ Krauze (1997), p. 213
  57. ^ a b Krauze (1997), p. 226
  58. ^ Cited in Krauze (1997), p. 227
  59. ^ a b Garner (2001), p. 12
  60. ^ webmaster.rmc (23 March 2015). "Collections & History Gallery".
  61. ^ Garner (2001), pp. 1–17
  62. ^ Krauze (1987)
  63. ^ Krauze (1997), Chapter 9, "The Triumph of the Mestizo", pp. 205–244
  64. ^ Peter H. Merkl, The Distracted Eagle: The Rift between America and Old Europe, (Routeledge, London & New York, 2005), p 31.
  65. ^ Krauze (1987), p. 150
  66. ^ "Organización Editorial Mexicana".

Further reading

  • Alec-Tweedie, Ethel. The Maker of Modern Mexico: Porfirio Diaz, John Lane Co., 1906.
  • Bancroft, Hubert Howe. Life of Porfirio Díaz, The History Company Publisher, San Francisco, 1887.
  • Beals, Carleton. Porfirio Díaz, Dictator of Mexico, J.B. Lippincott & Company, Philadelphia, 1932.
  • Creelman, James. Diaz: Master of Mexico (New York 1911) full text online
  • Garner, Paul (2001). Porfirio Díaz. Pearson.
  • Godoy, José Francisco. Porfirio Díaz, President of Mexico, the Master Builder of a Great Commonwealth, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1910.
  • Krauze, Enrique (1987). Porfirio Díaz: Místico de la Autoridad. Mexico.
  • Krauze, Enrique, Mexico: Biography of Power. New York: HarperCollins 1997. ISBN 0-06-016325-9
  • Knight, Alan. The Mexican Revolution, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986. vol. 1
  • López Obrador, Andrés Manuel (2014). Neoporfirismo: Hoy como ayer. Grijalbo. ISBN 9786073123266.
  • Perry, Laurens Ballard. Juárez and Díaz: Machine Politics in Mexico, Northern Illinois University Press, DeKalb, IL, 1978.
  • Roeder, Ralph. Hacia El México Moderno: Porfirio Díaz. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1973.
  • Vanderwood, Paul (1970). "Genesis of the Rurales: Mexico's Early Struggle for Public Security". Hispanic American Historical Review. 50 (2): 323–344. JSTOR 2513029.
  • Villegas, Daniel Cosío. The United States Versus Porfirio Díaz, trans. by Nettie Lee Benson, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1963.


  • Cumberland, Charles C. Mexican Revolution: Genesis Under Madero, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1952.
  • De María y Campos, Alfonso. "Porfirianos prominentes: origenes y años de juventud de ocho integrantes del group de los Científicos 1846–1876", Historia Mexicana 30 (1985), pp. 610–81.
  • González Navarro, Moisés. "Las ideas raciales de los Científicos'. Historia Meixana 37 (1988) pp. 575–83.
  • Hale, Charles A. Justo Sierra. Un liberal del Porfiriato. Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica 1997.
  • Hale, Charles A. The Transformation of Liberalism in Late Nineteenth-Century Mexico. Princeton: Princeton University Press 1989.
  • Harris, Charles H. III; Sadler, Louis R. (2009). The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906–1920. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-4652-0.
  • Hart, John Mason. Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1989.
  • Priego, Natalia. Positivism, Science, and 'The Scientists' in Porfirian Mexico. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press 2016.
  • Raat, William. "The Antiposivitist Movement in Pre-Revolutionary Mexico, 1892–1911", Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs, 19 (1977) pp. 83–98.
  • Raat, William. "Los intelectuales, el Positivismo y la cuestión indígena". Historia Mexicana 20 (1971), pp. 412–27.
  • Villegas, Abelardo. Positivismo y Porfirismo. Mexico: Secreatria de Educación Pública, Col Sepsetentas 1972.
  • Zea, Leopoldo, El Positivismo en México. Nacimiento apogeo y decadenica. Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica 1968.


  • Benjamin, Thomas; Ocasio-Meléndez, Marcial (1984). "Organizing the Memory of Modern Mexico: Porfirian Historiography in Perspective, 1880s–1980s". Hispanic American Historical Review. 64 (2): 323–364. JSTOR 2514524.
  • Gil, Carlos, ed. (1977). The Age of Porfirio Díaz: Selected Readings. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 0-8263-0443-5.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
José María Iglesias
President of Mexico
28 November – 6 December 1876
Succeeded by
Juan N. Méndez
Preceded by
Juan N. Méndez
President of Mexico
17 February 1877 – 1 December 1880
Succeeded by
Manuel González Flores
Preceded by
Manuel González Flores
President of Mexico
1 December 1884 – 25 May 1911
Succeeded by
Francisco León de la Barra
Battle of Miahuatlán

The Battle of Miahuatlán took place on 3 October 1866 in the vicinity of the current municipality of Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. It was fought between elements of the Mexican republican army under General Porfirio Díaz and troops of the Second Mexican Empire during the Second French intervention in Mexico.

The Imperial troops were defeated, opening the way for Díaz to advance on the city of Oaxaca.


The Científicos (Spanish: "scientists" or "those scientifically oriented") were a circle of technocratic advisors to President of Mexico Porfirio Díaz.

Steeped in the positivist "scientific politics", they functioned as part of his program of modernization at the start of the 20th century.

Leading Científicos included:

Gabino Barreda (1820–1881), a precursor of the group. A physician and professor of medicine, Barreda studied in Paris under Auguste Comte between 1847 and 1851 and is widely credited with introducing positivism in Mexico. Put in charge of fulfilling the 1857 Constitution's promise of secular public education by the early Juárez government, Barreda organized the National Preparatory School, the first secular school of higher learning in Mexico, which opened in 1868 and became the training ground for many of the younger Científicos.

Manuel Romero Rubio (1828–1895), Secretary of the Interior from 1884 to 1895 and the father of Porfirio Díaz' second wife Carmen (they were married in 1881); a founding member of the group.

José Yves Limantour (1854–1935), Ministro de Hacienda (Secretary of the Treasury) from 1893 until the fall of the Díaz regime in 1911; considered the political leader of the faction.

Justo Sierra, the leading intellectual and spokesman of the circle.

The writers and journalists Francisco Bulnes (1847–1924) and Emilio Rabasa (1856–1930), co-founders of the newspaper El Universal in 1888), both considered spokesmen for the Científicos.

Enrique Creel (1854–1931), a wealthy businessman and landowner, an influential member of the powerful Creel-Terrazas Family that dominated the northern state of Chihuahua, of which he was governor from 1904 until the fall of the Díaz regime in 1911.

Luis Terrazas (1829–1923), Founder of the Creel-Terrazas Family, father-in-law of Enrique Creel, and one of the richest landowners in the Republic of Mexico; he helped to bankroll the faction.

The lawyers Pablo Macedo and Joaquín Casasús.

Nemesio García Naranjo (1883–1963), who later became Secretary of Education under Victoriano Huerta in 1913.

Emilio Pimentel, lawyer, governor of Oaxaca from 1902 to 1911.

Rosendo Pineda, lawyer, influential backer of Porfirio Díaz in the state of Oaxaca.

Rafael Reyes Spíndola (1860–1922), founder (in 1896) and publisher of the Mexico City newspaper El Imparcial, considered the "semi-official newspaper of the Porfiriato."

There were other factions within the Díaz government that were opposed to the Científicos, most notably that led by former general Bernardo Reyes.

Codex Porfirio Díaz

The Codex Porfirio Díaz or Códice de Tututepetongo is a colonial Mesoamerican pictorial manuscript, consisting of a 10-page vellum screenfold. It is sometimes included in the Borgia Group.

Colonia Doctores

Colonia Doctores is an official neighborhood just southwest of the historic center of Mexico City. It is bordered by Avenida Cuauhtémoc to the west, across from Belen Street to the north, Eje Central to the east and Eje 3 Sur José Peón Contreras to the south.

El vuelo del águila

El vuelo del águila (The eagle flight) is a Mexican telenovela produced by Ernesto Alonso and Carlos Sotomayor for Televisa in 1994-1995. Telenovela based on the Mexican soldier and President of Mexico Porfirio Díaz, from his name had come out the title "Época Porfiriana" or "Porfiriato" during the period of his rule, in the years 1876-1911.

It starred by Manuel Ojeda, Jacqueline Andere, Humberto Zurita, Mariana Levy, Patricia Reyes Spíndola, Ernesto Gómez Cruz and Alma Delfina.

Entranced Earth

Entranced Earth (Portuguese: Terra em Transe [ˈtɛʁɐ ẽj̃ ˈtɾɐ̃.zi], "World in a Trance", also called Land in Anguish or Earth Entranced) is a 1967 Brazilian Cinema Novo drama film directed by Glauber Rocha. It was shot in Parque Lage and at the Municipal Theatre of Rio de Janeiro. The film is an allegory for the history of Brazil in the period 1960–66.

Francisco I. Madero

Francisco Ignacio Madero González (Spanish pronunciation: [fɾanˈsisko igˈnasjo maˈðeɾo ɣonˈsales]; 30 October 1873 – 22 February 1913) was a Mexican revolutionary, writer and statesman who served as the 33rd president of Mexico from 1911 until shortly before his assassination in 1913. He was an advocate for social justice and democracy. Madero was notable for challenging Mexican President Porfirio Díaz for the presidency in 1910 and being instrumental in sparking the Mexican Revolution.

Born into an extremely wealthy landowning family in northern Mexico, Madero was an unusual politician, who until he ran for president in the 1910 elections, had never held office. In his 1908 book entitled The Presidential Succession in 1910, Madero called on voters to prevent the sixth reelection of Porfirio Díaz, which Madero considered anti-democratic. His vision would lay the foundation for a democratic, 20th-century Mexico, but without polarizing the social classes. To that effect, he bankrolled the Anti-Reelectionist Party (later the Progressive Constitutional Party) and urged Mexicans to rise up against Díaz, which ignited the Mexican Revolution in 1910.

Madero's candidacy against Díaz garnered widespread support in Mexico, since he was possessed of independent financial means, ideological determination, and the bravery to oppose Díaz when it was dangerous to do so. Arrested by the dictatorship shortly after being declared presidential candidate by his party, the opposition leader escaped from prison and launched the Plan of San Luis Potosí from the United States, in this manner beginning the Mexican Revolution.

Following the resignation of Díaz from the presidency on 25 May 1911 after the signing of the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez, Madero became the highest political leader of the country. Known as "Maderistas", Madero's followers referred to him as the "caudillo de la Revolución" (leader of the Revolution). He was elected president on 15 October 1911 by almost 90% of the vote. Sworn into office on 6 November 1911, he became one of Mexico's youngest elected presidents, having just turned 38. Despite his considerable popularity amongst the people, Madero's administration soon encountered opposition both from more radical revolutionaries and from remnants of the former regime.

In February 1913, a military coup took place in the Mexican capital led by General Victoriano Huerta, the military commander of the city, and supported by the United States ambassador. Madero was arrested and a short time later assassinated along with his Vice-President, José María Pino Suárez, on 22 February 1913, following the series of events known as the Ten Tragic Days (la Decena Trágica). The death of Madero and Pino Suárez led to a national and international outcry which eventually paved the way for the fall of the Huerta Dictatorship, the triumph of the Mexican Revolution and the establishment of the 1917 Constitution of Mexico under Maderista President Venustiano Carranza.

Juan N. Méndez

Juan Nepomuceno Méndez (2 July 1820 – 29 November 1894) was a Mexican general, a Liberal politician and confidante of Porfirio Díaz, and interim president of the Republic for a few months during the Porfiriato. He served from 6 December 1876 until 17 February 1877.

List of Mexican films of the 1890s

A list of the earliest films produced in the Cinema of Mexico ordered by year of release from 1896 to 1899. For an alphabetical list of articles on Mexican films see Category:Mexican films.

Magdalena Yodocono de Porfirio Díaz

Magdalena Yodocono de Porfirio Díaz is a town and municipality in Oaxaca in south-western Mexico. The municipality covers an area of km².

It is part of the Nochixtlán District in the southeast of the Mixteca Region.

As of 2005, the municipality had a total population of .

Manuel González Flores

Manuel del Refugio González Flores, commonly known as Manuel González, (18 June 1833, Tamaulipas – 8 May 1893) was a Mexican military general and liberal politician who served as the 31st President of Mexico from 1880 to 1884. Before initiating his presidential career, González played important roles in the Mexican–American War as a lieutenant, and later in the Reform War as general on the conservative side. In the French intervention in Mexico, González fought for the Mexican Republic under the command of General Porfirio Díaz. He supported Díaz's attempts to gain the presidency of Mexico, which succeeded in 1876. He served as Mexican Secretary of War in the Díaz administration from 1878 to 1879. Díaz could not be re-elected to the presidency in 1880, since the basis of his coup against Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada was the principle of no-reelection, so Díaz worked for the election of his political client González, who would be weak rival should Díaz run again. His presidency from 1880 to 1884 is marked by a number of major diplomatic and domestic achievements, which historian Friedrich Katz considers to be no less than "the profound transformation" of Mexico. Although the González presidency has been considered corrupt, that assessment is colored by the difficult financial circumstances in 1884 and by Díaz's campaign to discredit his successor, paving the way for his own re-election in 1884.

Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz

Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz is a town and municipality in Oaxaca in south-eastern Mexico. The municipality covers an area of 326.6 km², and is at an average elevation of 1,600 meters.

It is part of the Miahuatlán District in the south of the Sierra Sur Region.

As of 2005, the municipality had 6,708 households with a total population of 32,185, of whom 2,517 spoke an indigenous language.

The name comes from the Nahuatl Miahuatlán: Miahua (ear of corn) and tlan (place or area).

During the Aztec period the town was known as Miahuapan Miahuatlán, "Canal of the Corn Tassel".The city has 16 kindergartens, 12 primary schools, a technical high school and a general secondary school and a regional university, Universidad de la Sierra Sur.

It has a radio station, a television station, telephone service, telegraph and a post office.

The Battle of Miahuatlán took place near the town on 3 October 1866, an important military action in which the Mexican republican troops defeated a larger force of troops of the Second Mexican Empire.

The battle is celebrated in an annual holiday on the date it took place.

My Memories of Mexico

My Memories of Mexico (Spanish:México de mis recuerdos) is a 1944 Mexican historical musical film directed by Juan Bustillo Oro and starring Fernando Soler, Sofía Álvarez, Joaquín Pardavé, Dolores Camarillo and Salvador Quiroz. The film nostalgically recreates the years of the Porfirio Díaz dictatorship in Mexico.

The film's sets were designed by the art director Luis Moya.

Piedras Negras, Coahuila

Piedras Negras (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpjeðɾas neɣɾas] (listen)) is a city and seat of the surrounding municipality of the same name in the Mexican state of Coahuila. It stands at the northeastern edge of Coahuila on the U.S.-Mexico border, across the Rio Grande from Eagle Pass in the U.S. state of Texas. In the 2015 census the city had a population of 163,595 inhabitants, while the metropolitan area had a population of 245,155 inhabitants. The Piedras Negras and the Eagle Pass areas are connected by the Eagle Pass-Piedras Negras International Bridge, Camino Real International Bridge, and the Eagle Pass Union Pacific International Railroad Bridge.

In Spanish Piedras Negras translates to "black stones" – a reference to coal deposits in the area. Across the river, coal was formerly mined on the US side at Dolchburg, near Eagle Pass. This mine closed around 1905, after a fire. Mexico currently operates two large coal-fired power plants named "José López Portillo" and "Carbón 2" located 30 miles (48 km) south of Piedras Negras. These two coal-fired power plants are currently operated by MICARE, which engages with the mining and distribution of coal.

Porfirio Díaz (film)

Porfirio Díaz is a 1944 Mexican historical film directed by Rafael M. Saavedra and Raphael J. Sevilla. It portrays the life of the nineteenth century Mexican soldier and President Porfirio Díaz.

Sierra Sur de Oaxaca

Sierra Sur is a region in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. It includes the districts of Putla, Sola de Vega, Miahuatlán and Yautepec. Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz is the largest city.

The region has 70 municipalities, some very poor, such as Zanizá, Amoltepec and Los Loxichas.

The Mad Empress

The Mad Empress is a 1939 American historical drama film depicting the 3-year reign of Maximilian I of Mexico (Nagel) and his struggles against Benito Juarez (Robards). Empress Carlotta (Novora) is the "mad" empress who has a breakdown when she realizes her husband is condemned to death.

Third Battle of Puebla

The Battle of 2 de Abril was fought on April 2, 1867, in and around the city of Puebla, Puebla. It was one of the major military actions in the Franco-Mexican War between elements of the Mexican Army of the Republic commanded by General Porfirio Díaz and troops in the service of the Mexican Empire composed of Mexican imperialist soldiers.

The campaign of Puebla includes the siege of Puebla, the battle of April 2, and the capture of the forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. The battle, also known as the Third Battle of Puebla, was the end of a siege on the city of Puebla which started on March 9 of the same year. Despite its being one of the major campaigns in the war of intervention, the number of casualties was low due to the decision of Porfirio Díaz not to execute all the prisoners but instead release most of them under a signed promise that they would not take up arms again against the republic.The capture of Puebla was a huge defeat for the imperialists and was decisive in the victory of the Republic.

Viva Zapata!

Viva Zapata! is a 1952 biographical film directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando. The screenplay was written by John Steinbeck, using Edgcomb Pinchon's book Zapata the Unconquerable as a guide.

The cast includes Jean Peters and, in an Academy Award-winning performance, Anthony Quinn.

The film is a fictionalized account of the life of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata from his peasant upbringing, through his rise to power in the early 1900s, to his death.

To make the film as authentic as possible, Kazan and producer Darryl F. Zanuck studied the numerous photographs that were taken during the revolutionary years, the period between 1909 and 1919 when Zapata led the fight to restore land taken from common people during the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz.

Kazan was especially impressed with the Agustín Casasola collection of photographs and he attempted to duplicate their visual style in the film. Kazan also acknowledged the influence of Roberto Rossellini's Paisan.

Important people
Political developments

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