Key Figure In Mexico History

By: Valerie Veliz

Emiliano Zapata

He was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Diaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the , during the Mexican Revolution. He was the leading figure during the Mexican Revolution. He was born August 8 1879 and died April 10 1919. The revolution lasted from 1910 to 1917 in Anenecuilco and Morelos, Mexico. Zapata became a leading figure in the village of Anenecuilco, where his family had lived for many generations, and he became involved in struggles for the rights of the campesinos of Morelos. He was able to oversee the redistribution of the land from some haciendas peacefully, but had problems with others. He observed numerous conflicts between villagers and landowners, over the constant theft of village land, and in one instance, saw the landowners torch an entire village. For many years, he campaigned steadfastly for the rights of the villagers, first establishing via ancient title deeds their claims to disputed land, and then pressing the recalcitrant governor of Morelos into action. Finally, disgusted with the slow response from the government and the overt bias towards the wealthy plantation owners, Zapata began making use of armed force, simply taking over the land in dispute. Also, Zapata, seeing an opportunity to promote land reform in Mexico, made quite alliances with Madero, whom he perceived to be the best chance for genuine change in the country. Although he was wary about Madero, Zapata cooperated with him when Madero made vague promises about land reform. He helped the people because he cared about them and the land reform would be the only issue which Zapata cared about. Zapata's Plan of Ayala also influenced Article 27 of the progressive 1917 Mexican Constitution that codified an agrarian reform program While the Mexican Revolution did restore some land that had been stolen under Diaz,the land reform on the scale imagined by Zapata would never be enacted. However, a great deal of the significant land distribution which Zapata sought would later be enacted after Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas took office in the 1930s. Cardenas would fulfill not only the land distribution policies written in Article 27, but also the other reforms written in the Mexican Constitution as well. to many Mexicans, specifically the peasant and indigenous citizens, Zapata was a practical revolutionary who sought the implementation of liberties and agrarian rights outlined in the Plan of Ayala. He was a realist with the goal of achieving political and economic emancipation of the peasants in southern Mexico, and leading them out of severe poverty.