|Doroteo Arango Arámbula|
|Lived:||June 5 1878 - July 20, 1923|
|Placeofbirth:||San Juan del Río, Durango, Mexico Hidalgo|
|Placeofdeath:||Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico|
El Centauro del Norte sold(The Centaur of the North)
|Allegiance:||Mexico (antireeleccionista revolutionary forces)|
|Commands:||División del Norte|
This article is about the Mexican revolutionary general. For the boxer, see Francisco Guilledo.
Doroteo Arango Arámbula (June 5 1878 - July 20 1923), better known as Francisco or "Pancho" Villa, was the first Mexican Revolutionary general. According to one version of his life story, at the age of 16 he shot an older man, the son of a big landowner, who had tried to rape Pancho's younger sister. After this, being pursued for murder, he escaped. During the following years, he first lived as an outlaw, then worked his way up to a position as commander of a division. Not many details are known about these years.
As commander of the División del Norte (Division of the North), he was the veritable caudillo of the Northern Mexican state of Chihuahua; which, given its size, mineral wealth, and proximity to the United States of America, gave him great popularity. Villa was also provisional Governor of Chihuahua in 1913 and 1914. While he was prevented from being accepted into the "panteòn" of national heroes until some twenty years after his death, today his memory is honored by Mexicans and many Mexican-Americans. In addition, numerous streets and neighborhoods in Mexico are named in his honor.
General John J. Pershing tried to capture Villa after a year in pursuit. Villa and his supporters, known as Villistas, employed tactics such as propaganda and firing squads against his enemies, and seized hacienda land for distribution to peasants and soldiers. He robbed and commandeered trains, and, like the other Revolutionary generals, printed fiat money to pay for his cause.
Despite extensive research by Mexican and foreign scholars, many of the details of Villa's life are in dispute.
When one of Madero's military commanders, Pascual Orozco, started a counterrebellion against Madero, Villa gathered his mounted cavalry troops and fought alongside General Victoriano Huerta to support Madero. However, Huerta viewed Villa as an ambitious competitor, and later accused Villa of stealing a horse and insubordination; he then had Villa sentenced to execution in an attempt to dispose of him. Reportedly, Villa was standing in front of a firing squad waiting to be shot when a telegram from President Madero was received commuting his sentence to imprisonment, from which Villa later escaped. During Villa's imprisonment, Gildardo Magaña Cerda, a Zapatista who was in prison at the time, provided the chance meeting which would help to improve his poor reading and writing skills, which would serve him well in the future during his service as provisional governor of the state of Chihuahua.
In the second part of the Mexican Revolution, president Francisco I. Madero was betrayed and assassinated . After crushing the Orozco rebellion, Victoriano Huerta, with the federal army he commanded, held the majority of military power in Mexico. Huerta saw an opportunity to make himself dictator and began to conspire with people such as Bernardo Reyes