Emiliano Zapata
Overview
 
Emiliano Zapata Salazar (August 8, 1879 – April 10, 1919) was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South
Liberation Army of the South
The Liberation Army of the South was an armed group formed and led by Emiliano Zapata that took part in the Mexican Revolution. The force was commonly known as the Zapatistas....

, during the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

. Followers of Zapata were known as Zapatistas.
Emiliano Zapata was born to Gabriel Zapata and Cleofas Salazar of Zacatepillo. Zapata's family were Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s, being of mixed Nahua and Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 ancestry; Emiliano was the ninth of ten children.
Quotations

I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.

As quoted in Heroes of Mexico (1969) by Morris Rosenblum, p. 112

Encyclopedia
Emiliano Zapata Salazar (August 8, 1879 – April 10, 1919) was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South
Liberation Army of the South
The Liberation Army of the South was an armed group formed and led by Emiliano Zapata that took part in the Mexican Revolution. The force was commonly known as the Zapatistas....

, during the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

. Followers of Zapata were known as Zapatistas.

Biography

Emiliano Zapata was born to Gabriel Zapata and Cleofas Salazar of Zacatepillo. Zapata's family were Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s, being of mixed Nahua and Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 ancestry; Emiliano was the ninth of ten children. A peasant since childhood, he gained insight into the severe difficulties of the countryside. He received a limited education from his teacher, Emilio Vara. He had to care for his family because his father died when Zapata was 17. Around the turn of the 20th century Anenecuilco was an indigenous Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 speaking community; there exist eyewitness accounts stating that Emiliano Zapata spoke Nahuatl fluently.
When Porfirio Díaz
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

 rose to power in 1876, the Mexican social and economic system was essentially a proto-capitalist
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

feudal system, with large estates (hacienda
Hacienda
Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even business factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities...

s) controlling much of the land and squeezing out the independent communities of the people who were subsequently forced into debt slavery (peon
Peon
The words peon and peonage are derived from the Spanish peón . It has a range of meanings but its primary usage is to describe laborers with little control over their employment conditions.-English usage:...

aje) on the haciendas. Díaz ran local elections to pacify the people, and a government that could be argued was self-imposed. Under Díaz, close confidants and associates were given offices in districts throughout Mexico. These officials became enforcers of "land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

s" that drove the haciendas into the hands of progressively fewer and wealthier landowners.

Zapata came from a middle class http://books.google.com/books?id=hfCegmr-0c4C&pg=PA252&lpg=PA252&dq=emiliano+zapata+middle+class&source=bl&ots=BBLzqcjrE5&sig=DqEsEwXgaN1vPEYhwmTokuXTkao&hl=en&ei=gwvESfOxKYnOtQPijejbBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result family who were able to avoid peonage and to maintain their own land (rancho). In fact, the family had been porfiristas: supporters of Porfirio Díaz. In 1906, he attended a meeting in Cuautla
Cuautla, Morelos
Cuautla , officially La heroica e histórica Cuautla de Morelos, or H. H. Cuautla de Morelos, is a city and municipality in the Mexican state of Morelos. In the 2005 census the city population was 145,482 and the municipality population was 160,285. The municipality covers 153.651 km²...

 to discuss a way to defend the land of the people, on which he had worked as a farmhand. In 1908, due to his first acts of rebellion, he was drafted into the Ninth Regiment and sent to Cuernavaca. However, because of his skill with horses, he remained a soldier for only six months. At the request of Ignacio de la Torre, who employed him as a groom, he left for Mexico City. Though his gaudy attire might have suggested an affiliation with the rich hacendados who controlled the lands, he retained the admiration of the people of his village, Anenecuilco.

In 1909 an important meeting was called by the elders of Anenecuilco, whose chief elder was José Merino in which he announced his intention to resign from his position due to his old age and limited abilities to continue the fight for the land rights of the village. The meeting was used as a time for discussion and nomination of individuals as a replacement for Merino as the president of the village council. The elders on the council were so well respected by the village men that no one would dare to override their nominations or overtake the vote for an individual against the advice of the current council at that time. The nominations made were: Modesto Gonzales, Bartolo Parral, and Emiliano Zapata. After the completion of nominations, a vote was taken and Zapata became the new council president without contest.

Although Zapata had turned 30 only a month before, the voters knew that it was necessary to elect an individual who would be responsible for the village and who was well respected by the village people. Even though he was young, the village was ready to hand over the controlling force to him without any worry of failure. Before he was elected he had shown the village his nature by helping to head up a campaign in opposition to a candidate for governor. Even though his efforts and his cause failed greatly, he was able to create and cultivate relationships with political authority figures that would prove useful for him.

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
Morelos
Morelos officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Morelos is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 33 municipalities and its capital city is Cuernavaca....

. 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 hacendados, or landowners, over the constant theft of village land, and in one instance, saw the hacendados torch an entire village.

For many years, he campaigned steadfastly for the rights of the villagers, first establishing via ancient title deeds
Title (property)
Title is a legal term for a bundle of rights in a piece of property in which a party may own either a legal interest or an equitable interest. The rights in the bundle may be separated and held by different parties. It may also refer to a formal document that serves as evidence of ownership...

 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.

The 1910 Revolution

At this time, Porfirio Díaz
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

 was being threatened by the candidacy of Francisco I. Madero
Francisco I. Madero
Francisco Ignacio Madero González was a politician, writer and revolutionary who served as President of Mexico from 1911 to 1913. As a respectable upper-class politician, he supplied a center around which opposition to the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz could coalesce...

. Zapata, seeing an opportunity to promote land reform in Mexico, made quiet 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. Land reform would be the only issue which Zapata cared about.

In 1910, Zapata quickly took an important role, becoming the general of an army that formed in Morelos
Morelos
Morelos officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Morelos is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 33 municipalities and its capital city is Cuernavaca....

 – the Ejército Libertador del Sur (Liberation Army of the South
Liberation Army of the South
The Liberation Army of the South was an armed group formed and led by Emiliano Zapata that took part in the Mexican Revolution. The force was commonly known as the Zapatistas....

). Zapata joined Madero’s campaign against President Diaz
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

 When Zapata's army captured Cuautla after a six-day battle
Battle of Cuautla (1911)
The Battle of Cuautla was a battle between the forces of Emiliano Zapata and the federal army of the Mexican government that took place in the state of Morelos from May 11–19, 1911, during the Mexican Revolution. It has been described as the "six of the most terrible days of battle in the whole...

 on May 19, 1911, it became clear the Diaz would not hold on to power for long. With the support of Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa
José Doroteo Arango Arámbula – better known by his pseudonym Francisco Villa or its hypocorism Pancho Villa – was one of the most prominent Mexican Revolutionary generals....

, Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco Vazquez was a Mexican revolutionary leader who, after the triumph of the Mexican Revolution, rose up against Francisco I...

, Emiliano Zapata, and rebellious peasants, Madero overthrew Díaz in May 1911 at the Battle of Ciudad Juárez. A provisional government was formed under Francisco León de la Barra
Francisco León de la Barra
Francisco León de la Barra y Quijano was a Mexican political figure and diplomat, who served as interim president of Mexico from May 25 to November 6, 1911....

. Under Madero, some new land reforms were carried out and elections were to be ensured. However, Zapata was dissatisfied with Madero's stance on land reform, which Madero did not really believe in, and was unable, despite repeated efforts, to make him understand the importance of the issue or to get him to act on it.

Revolutionary General

Madero was not ready to create a radical change in the manner that agrarian relations operated during this time. Some other individuals , called "anarcho-syndicalist agitators", had made promises to take things back to the way that they had been done previously. The major method of agrarian relations had been that of communal lands, called "ejidos". Although some believed that this could be the best course of action, Madero simply demanded that "Public servants act 'morally' in enforcing the law...". Upon seeing the response by villagers, Madero offered formal justice in courts to individuals who had been wronged by others with regard to agrarian politics. Zapata decided that on the surface it seemed as though Madero was doing good things for the people of Mexico, but Zapata did not know the level of sincerity in Madero's actions and thus did not know if he should support him completely.

Madero and Zapata's relations worsened during the summer of 1911 as Madero appointed a governor who supported plantation owners and refused to meet Zapata’s agrarian goals. Compromises between the two failed in November 1911, days after Madero appointed himself President, and Zapata and Montano fled to the mountains of southwest Puebla
Puebla
Puebla officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Puebla is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 217 municipalities and its capital city is Puebla....

. There they formed the most radical reform plan in Mexico; the Plan de Ayala (Plan of Ayala). The plan declared Madero a traitor, named Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco Vazquez was a Mexican revolutionary leader who, after the triumph of the Mexican Revolution, rose up against Francisco I...

 head of the Revolution, and outlined a plan for true land reform.

The Plan of Ayala called for all lands stolen under Díaz to be immediately returned: there was considerable land fraud under the old dictator, so a great deal of territory was involved. It also stated that large plantations owned by a single person or family should have one-third of their land nationalized and would then be required to give it to poor farmers. It also argued that if any large plantation owner resisted this action, they should have the other two-thirds confiscated as well. The Plan of Ayala also invoked the name of Benito Juárez, one of Mexico's great leaders, and compared the taking of land from the wealthy to Juarez's actions when he took land from the church in the 1860's. While the of Plan of Atiya also denounced the historical role of church hierarchy, it did denounce the church itself.

Zapata was partly influenced by an anarchist
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 from Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca , , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 are governed by the system of customs and traditions...

 named Ricardo Flores Magón
Ricardo Flores Magón
Cipriano Ricardo Flores Magón was a noted Mexican anarchist and social reform activist. His brothers Enrique and Jesús were also active in politics. Followers of the Magón brothers were known as Magonistas....

. The influence of Flores Magón on Zapata can be seen in the Zapatistas' Plan de Ayala, but even more noticeably in their slogan (this slogan was never used by Zapata) "Tierra y libertad" or "land and liberty", the title and maxim of Flores Magón's most famous work. Zapata's introduction to anarchism came via a local schoolteacher, Otilio Montaño Sánchez – later a general in Zapata's army, executed on 17 May 1917 – who exposed Zapata to the works of Peter Kropotkin
Peter Kropotkin
Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, economist, geographer, author and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between...

 and Flores Magón at the same time as Zapata was observing and beginning to participate in the struggles of the peasants for the land.

The plan proclaimed the Zapatista demands for "Reforma, Libertad Ley y Justicia" (Reform, Freedom, Law and Justice). Zapata also declared the Maderistas as a counter-revolution and denounced Madero. Zapata mobilized his Liberation Army
Liberation Army of the South
The Liberation Army of the South was an armed group formed and led by Emiliano Zapata that took part in the Mexican Revolution. The force was commonly known as the Zapatistas....

 and allied with former Maderistas Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco Vazquez was a Mexican revolutionary leader who, after the triumph of the Mexican Revolution, rose up against Francisco I...

 and Emiliano Vázquez Gómez. Orozco was from Chihuahua
Chihuahua, Chihuahua
The city of Chihuahua is the state capital of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It has a population of about 825,327. The predominant activity is industry, including domestic heavy, light industries, consumer goods production, and to a smaller extent maquiladoras.-History:It has been said that the...

, near the U.S. border, and thus was able to aid the Zapatistas with a supply of arms.

In the following weeks, the development of military operations "betray(ed) good evidence of clear and intelligent planning." During Orozco's rebellion, Zapata fought Mexican troops in south and near Mexico City. In the original design of the armed force, Zapata was a mere colonel among several others. However, the true plan that came about though this organization lent itself to Zapata. Zapata believed that the best route of attack would be to center the fighting and action in Cuautla. If this political location could be overthrown, the army would have enough power to "veto anyone else's control of the state, negotiate for Cuernavaca or attack it directly, and maintain independent access to Mexico City as well as escape routes to the southern hills." However, in order to gain this great success, Zapata realized that his men needed to be better armed and trained.
The first line of action demanded that Zapata and his men "control the area behind and below a line from Jojutla to Yecapixtla." When this was accomplished it gave the army the ability to complete raids as well as wait. As the opposition of the federal army and police detachments slowly dissipated, the army would be able to eventually gain powerful control over key locations in the Interoceanic Railway from Puebla City to Cuautla. If these feats could be completed, it would gain access to Cuautla directly and the city would fall.

The plan of action was carried out and saw amazing success in Jojutla. However, Torres Burgos, the commander of the operation, did not understand how the army could have disobeyed his orders against looting and ransacking. The army took complete control of the area and it seemed as though Torres Burgos lost any type of control that he believed he had over his forces prior to this event. Shortly after, Burgos called a meeting and resigned from his position. Upon leaving Jojutla with his two sons, Burgos was surprised by a federal police patrol who subsequently shot all three of the men on the spot. This seemed to some to be an ending blow to the movement because Burgos had not selected a successor for his position; however, Zapata was ready to take up where Burgos had left off.

Shortly after Burgos' death a party of rebels elected Zapata as "Supreme Chief of the Revolutionary Movement of the South" (Womack, p. 78). This seemed to be the fix to all of the problems that had just arisen, but other individuals wanted to replace Zapata as well. Due to this new conflict, the individual who would come out on top would have to do so by "convincing his peers he deserved their backing".

Zapata finally did gain the support necessary by his peers and was considered a "singularly qualified candidate". This decision to make Zapata the true leader of the revolution did not occur all at once, nor did it ever reach a true definitive level of recognition. In order to succeed, Zapata needed a strong financial backing for the battles to come. This came in the form of 10,000 pesos delivered by Rodolfo from the Tacubayans. Due to this amazing sum of money Zapata's group of rebels became one of the strongest in the state financially.

Zapata's trademark saying was, "It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."
After some time Zapata became the leader of his "strategic zone." This gave him tremendous power and control over the actions of many more individual rebel groups and thus increased his margin of success greatly. "Among revolutionaries in other districts of the state, however, Zapata's authority was more tenuous." After a meeting with Zapata and Ambrosio Figueroa in Jolalpan, it was decided that Zapata would have joint power with Figueroa with regard to operations in Morelos. This was a turning point in the level of authority and influence that Zapata had gained and proved useful in the direct overthrow of Morelos.

Zapata immediately began to use his newly-found power and began to overthrow city after city with gaining momentum. Madero, alarmed, asked Zapata to disarm and demobilize. Zapata responded that, if the people could not win their rights now, when they were armed, they would have no chance once they were unarmed and helpless. Madero sent several generals in an attempt to deal with Zapata, but these efforts had little success. It seemed as though Zapata would shortly be able to overthrow Morelos. Before he could overthrow Madero, General Victoriano Huerta
Victoriano Huerta
José Victoriano Huerta Márquez was a Mexican military officer and president of Mexico. Huerta's supporters were known as Huertistas during the Mexican Revolution...

 beat him to it in February of 1913, ordering Madero arrested and executed. This officially and formally ended the civil war.

Although this may have caused individuals to believe that the revolution was over, it was not. The battle continued for years to come over the fact that Mexican individuals did not have agrarian rights that were fair, nor did they have the protection necessary to fight against those who pushed such exploitation upon them.

If there was anyone that Zapata hated more than Díaz and Madero, it was Victoriano Huerta, the bitter, violent alcoholic who had been responsible for many atrocities in southern Mexico while trying to end the rebellion. Zapata was not alone: in the north, Pancho Villa, who had supported Madero, immediately took to the field against Huerta. Zapata revised the Plan of Ayala and named himself the leader of his revolution. He was joined by two newcomers to the Revolution, Venustiano Carranza and Alvaro Obregón, who raised large armies in Coahuila and Sonora respectively. Together they made short work of Huerta, who resigned and fled in June of 1914 after repeated military losses to the “Big Four."

With Huerta gone, the Big Four almost immediately began fighting among themselves. Villa and Carranza, who despised one another, almost began shooting before Huerta was even removed. Obregón, who considered Villa a loose cannon, reluctantly backed Carranza, who named himself provisional president of Mexico. Zapata didn’t like Carranza, so he sided with Villa (to an extent). He mainly stayed on the sidelines of the Villa/Carranza conflict, attacking anyone who came onto his turf in the south but rarely sallying forth. Obregón defeated Villa over the course of 1915, allowing Carranza to turn his attention to Zapata.

Zapata’s army was unique in that he allowed women to join the ranks and serve as combatants. Although other revolutionary armies had many women followers, in general they did not fight (although there were exceptions). Only in Zapata’s army were there large numbers of women combatants: some were even officers. Some modern Mexican feminists point to the historical importance of these “soldaderas” as a milestone in women’s rights.

Last years and death

In early 1916, Carranza sent Pablo González, his most ruthless general, to track down and stamp out Zapata once and for all. González employed a no-tolerance, scorched earth policy: he destroyed villages, executing all those he suspected of supporting Zapata. Although Zapata was able to drive the federales out for a while in 1917-8, they returned to continue the fight. After gaining success against Zapata, Carranza then told Gonzalez to finish Zapata by any means necessary.

In 1919, Zapata fell victim to a carefully staged ambush by Gen. Pablo González
Pablo González Garza
Pablo González Garza was a Mexican General during the Mexican Revolution. He is considered to be the main organizer of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata....

 and his lieutenant, Col. Jesús Guajardo. Guajardo proposed González feign a defection to Zapata's forces. González agreed, and to make the defection appear sincere, he arranged for Guajardo to attack a Federal column, killing 57 soldiers. Zapata subsequently agreed to receive a messenger from Guajardo, to arrange a meeting to speak about Guajardo's defection.

On April 10, 1919, Guajardo invited Zapata to a meeting, intimating that he intended to defect to the revolutionaries. However, when Zapata arrived at the Hacienda de San Juan, in Chinameca, Ayala municipality
Ciudad Ayala
Ciudad Ayala is a city in the east-central part of the Mexican state of Morelos. It stands at , at a mean height of 1220 metres above sea level....

, Guajardo's men riddled him with bullets. They then took his body to Cuautla
Cuautla, Morelos
Cuautla , officially La heroica e histórica Cuautla de Morelos, or H. H. Cuautla de Morelos, is a city and municipality in the Mexican state of Morelos. In the 2005 census the city population was 145,482 and the municipality population was 160,285. The municipality covers 153.651 km²...

 to claim the bounty, where they are reputed to have been given only half of what was promised.

Following Zapata's death, the Liberation Army of the South slowly fell apart, his rebellion in the south soon fizzled and, in the short run, his ideals of land reform and fair treatment for Mexico's poor farmers were put to an end. However, Zapata's heir apparent
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

 Gildardo Magaña
Gildardo Magaña
Gildardo Magaña Cerda was a Mexican general, politician and revolutionary.Born on March 7, 1891 in Zamora, Michoacán, to a Liberal trading family and was sent to study economy in the U.S. Back in Mexico he was involved in the anti-reelectionist movement and had to flee to the insurrectionist...

 and many other Zapata adherents went on to political careers as representatives of Zapatista causes and positions in the Mexican army and government. Some of his former generals like Genovevo de la O
Genovevo de la O
Genovevo de la O was an important figure in the Mexican Revolution.He was born in Santa María Ahuacatitlán, Morelos, to sharecropper parents. He was dedicated to the plight of Mexico's peasants and came to be an outstanding Liberation Army of the South guerrilla general...

 allied with Obregón while others eventually disappeared after Carranza was deposed.

Legacy

Zapata's influence continues to this day, particularly in revolutionary tendencies in south Mexico. In the long run, he has done more for his ideals in death than he did in life. Like many charismatic idealists, Zapata became a martyr after his treacherous murder. Even though Mexico still has not implemented the sort of land reform he wanted, he is remembered as a visionary who fought for his countrymen.

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 Lazaro Cardenas
Lázaro Cárdenas
Lázaro Cárdenas del Río was President of Mexico from 1934 to 1940.-Early life:Lázaro Cárdenas was born on May 21, 1895 in a lower-middle class family in the village of Jiquilpan, Michoacán. He supported his family from age 16 after the death of his father...

 took office in the 1930's. Cardenas would serious act to fulfill not only the land distribution policies written in Article 27, but also the other reforms written in the Mexican Constitution as well.

There are controversies about the portrayal of Emiliano Zapata and his followers, over whether they were simply bandits or revolutionaries. But in modern times, Zapata is one of the most revered national heroes of Mexico. 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
Plan of Ayala
The Plan of Ayala was a document drafted by revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata during the Mexican Revolution. In it, Zapata denounced President Francisco I. Madero for his perceived betrayal of the revolutionary ideals, embodied in Madero's Plan de San Luis, and set out his vision of land reform...

. 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.

Many popular organizations take their name from Zapata, most notably the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Zapatista Army of National Liberation
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation is a revolutionary leftist group based in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico....

 (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional or EZLN in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

), the revolutionary movement of indigenous peoples that emerged in the state of Chiapas
Chiapas
Chiapas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas is one of the 31 states that, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 118 municipalities and its capital city is Tuxtla Gutierrez. Other important cites in Chiapas include San Cristóbal de las...

 in 1994 and is colloquially known as "the Zapatistas". Towns, streets, and housing developments called "Emiliano Zapata" are common across the country and he has, at times, been depicted on Mexican banknotes
Mexican peso
The peso is the currency of Mexico. Modern peso and dollar currencies have a common origin in the 15th–19th century Spanish dollar, most continuing to use its sign, "$". The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded in the Americas, and by far the most...

.

Modern activists in Mexico frequently make reference to Zapata in their campaigns, his image is commonly seen on banners and many chants invoke his name: Si Zapata viviera con nosotros anduviera, "If Zapata lived, he would walk with us." Zapata vive, la lucha sigue, "Zapata lives; the struggle continues."
In the folklore of the people of Morelos, there is a widespread belief that Zapata did not die. The corpse purported to be his was that of a friend posing as Zapata, because there was something on Zapata's chest that the dead body didn't have and that Zapata himself fled to some obscure rural locale.

In 1969 students from the Black Student Council and Mexican-American Youth Association of the University of California San Diego proposed the name Lumumba-Zapata College, for what is now known as Thurgood Marshall College
Thurgood Marshall College
Thurgood Marshall College is one of the six undergraduate colleges at the University of California, San Diego. The college, named after Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice and lawyer for the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v...

. Additionally, Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

 in California is home to 'Casa Zapata', a Latin American-themed dorm located in Lucie Stern Hall.

In popular culture

Zapata has been depicted in movies, comics, books, music, and clothing popular with teenagers and young adults. For example, there is a Zapata (1980) stage musical written by Harry Nilsson and Perry Botkin, libretto by Allan Katz, which ran for 16 weeks at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut. A movie called Zapata: El Sueño De Un Heroe
Zapata: El sueño de un héroe
Zapata: El sueño del héroe, also titled simply Zapata, is a Mexican motion picture first released in 2004....

 (Zapata: A Hero's Dream) was produced in 2004, starring Mexican
Mexican people
Mexican people refers to all persons from Mexico, a multiethnic country in North America, and/or who identify with the Mexican cultural and/or national identity....

 actors Alejandro Fernandez, Jaime Camil, and Lucero.

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

 played Emiliano Zapata in the award-winning movie based on his life, Viva Zapata!
Viva Zapata!
Viva Zapata! is a 1952 fictional-biographical film directed by Elia Kazan. The screenplay was written by John Steinbeck, using as a guide Edgcomb Pinchon's book, 'Zapata the Unconquerable', a fact that is not credited in the titles of the film...

 in 1952. The film co-starred Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn
Antonio Rodolfo Quinn-Oaxaca , more commonly known as Anthony Quinn, was a Mexican American actor, as well as a painter and writer...

, who won best supporting actor. The director was Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan was an American director and actor, described by the New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history". Born in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, to Greek parents originally from Kayseri in Anatolia, the family emigrated...

 and the writer was John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men...

.

Zapata has been the subject of extensive street poster art
Street Poster Art
Street poster art is a kind of graffiti, more specifically categorized as "street art". Posters are usually hand-made or printed graphics on thin paper...

 by the anonymous street artist known as "Cutthroat". Cutthroat Art & Emiliano Zapata

Aliases

  • "Calpuleque (náhuatl)"- leader, chief
  • "El Tigre del Sur"- Tiger of the South
  • "El Tigre"- The Tiger
  • "El Tigrillo"- Little Tiger
  • "El Caudillo del Sur"- Caudillo
    Caudillo
    Caudillo is a Spanish word for "leader" and usually describes a political-military leader at the head of an authoritarian power. The term translates into English as leader or chief, or more pejoratively as warlord, dictator or strongman. Caudillo was the term used to refer to the charismatic...

     of the South
  • "El Atila del Sur"- The Attila
    Attila the Hun
    Attila , more frequently referred to as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. He was leader of the Hunnic Empire, which stretched from the Ural River to the Rhine River and from the Danube River to the Baltic Sea. During his reign he was one of the most feared...

     of the South'

See also

  • Mexican Revolution
    Mexican Revolution
    The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

  • Pancho Villa
    Pancho Villa
    José Doroteo Arango Arámbula – better known by his pseudonym Francisco Villa or its hypocorism Pancho Villa – was one of the most prominent Mexican Revolutionary generals....

  • Viva Zapata!
    Viva Zapata!
    Viva Zapata! is a 1952 fictional-biographical film directed by Elia Kazan. The screenplay was written by John Steinbeck, using as a guide Edgcomb Pinchon's book, 'Zapata the Unconquerable', a fact that is not credited in the titles of the film...


Sources

  • "Emiliano Zapata", BBC Mundo.com
  • Villa and Zapata by Frank Mclynn
  • Fernando Horcasitas, De Porfirio Díaz a Zapata, memoria náhuatl de Milpa Alta, UNAM, México DF.,1968 (eye and ear-witness account of Zapata speaking Nahuatl)
  • John Womack
    John Womack
    John Womack Jr. is an historian of Latin America, particularly of Mexico, the Mexican Revolution and Emiliano Zapata. In June 2009 he retired from his post as the Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics at Harvard University.Womack was born in Norman, Oklahoma, in...

    , Zapata and the Mexican Revolution, New York, Vintage (1969) ISBN 0394708539
  • Enrique Krauze, Zapata: El amor a la tierra, in the Biographies of Power series.
  • Samuel Brunk, ¡Emiliano Zapata! Revolution and Betrayal in Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995.
  • Jeffrey Kent Lucas, The Rightward Drift of Mexico's Former Revolutionaries: The Case of Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2010.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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