Pancho Villa biography
Born on June 5, 1878, in San Juan del Rio, Durango, Mexico, Pancho Villa started off as a bandit who was later inspired by reformer Francisco Modero, helping him to win the Mexican Revolution. After a coup by Victoriano Huerta, Villa formed his own army to oppose the dictator, with more battles to follow as Mexican leadership remained in a state of flux. He was assassinated on July 20, 1923, in Parral, Mexico.
Birth of a Bandit
Born Doroteo Arango on June 5, 1878, in San Juan del Rio, Durango, Pancho Villa spent much of his youth helping out on his parents' farm. After his father's death, he became head of the household and shot a man who was harassing one of his sisters. He fled, but was caught and imprisoned. After escaping once again, he became a bandit.
Mexican Revolutionary Leader
While living as a fugitive, Pancho Villa joined Francisco Madero's successful uprising against Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz, and, due to his skills as a fighter and leader, Villa was made a colonel.
When another rebellion removed Madero from power in 1912, Villa was nearly executed for his efforts to defend the former government. He subsequently fled to the United States for a time, later returning to Mexico and forming his own military force, known as Division del Norte (Division of the North). He also joined forces with other revolutionaries, including Venustiano Carranza and Emiliano Zapata, to overthrow Victoriano Huerta. The different forces were not wholly successful at working together, however, and Villa and Carranza became rivals.
Later Life and Assassination
For a number of years, Pancho Villa was involved in a series of clashes with other Mexican military groups, and even fought with U.S. troops from 1916 to 1917.
In 1920, Villa reached an agreement with Mexican leader Adolfo de la Huerta, who pardoned him for his actions in return for Villa's promise to put an end to his independent military activities. Three years later, on July 20, 1923, Pancho Villa was assassinated in Parral, Mexico.