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Porfirio Diaz

Who was Don Porfirio?

José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori (1830 – 1915) ruled Mexico from 1876 to 1911, one of the longest periods of dictatorship in the history of all of Latin America. His period of rule, known as the “El Porfiriato,” was marked by great progress but also great corruption and inequality.

The Rise to Power

Porfirio Diaz first came to national attention in 1862, when Mexican forces under Ignacio Zaragoza defeated a much stronger and better-equipped fence force at the Battle of Puebla (this was the battle that made “Cinco de Mayo” famous). Brash young general Porfirio Diaz played a key role and was famous thereafter as a war hero.When France tried to put unlucky Maximilian of Austria in charge of Mexico, Diaz fought alongside Benito Juarez to restore Mexican rule.

El Porfiriato

Diaz came to power in 1876, providing a firm hand to govern the chaos that had ruled the nation since the death of Juarez in 1872. During his 35-year rule, Mexico would modernize, adding railways, transportation, industries and mines. Times were good – if you were a friend of Don Porfirio. His cronies amassed incredible wealth and lands while poor Mexicans suffered more than ever.

In 1910, Don Porfirio decided to allow elections, believing he would win easily. When it looked as if his opponent, Francisco Madero, would prevail, he trumped up charges and jailed his rival. Madero, incensed, fled to safety in the United States where he called for revolution, His call was answered by Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata among others, and the pent-up rage of the poorest Mexicans boiled over into the maelstrom of the Mexican Revolution (1910 – 1920). By May of 1911, Diaz could see that his time was up and he fled the nation, and died in Paris in 1915.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Mexico: The Mexican Revolution, The Ciudad Juarez Murders, Juan Rulfo, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, History and Politics of Mexico, Site History, Emiliano Zapata, Oaxaca History, The Aztec Sun Stone and Tequila tour.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
30 Jan 2009

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