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The División del Norte was an armed faction formed by Francisco I. Madero and initially led by General José González Salas following Madero's call to arms at the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. González Salas served in Francisco I. Madero's cabinet as Minister of War, but at the outbreak of the 1912 rebellion by Pascual Orozco, González Salas organized 6,000 troops of the Federal Army at Torreón.Orozquista forces surprised González Salas at the First Battle of Rellano. They sent an explosives packed train hurtling toward the Federales, killing at least 60 and injuring González Salas. Mutinous troops killed one of his commanders and after seeing the officer's body, González Salas committed suicide.
Francisco Ignacio Madero González was a Mexican revolutionary, writer and statesman who served as the 33rd president of Mexico from 1911 until shortly before his assassination in 1913. He was an advocate for social justice and democracy. Madero was notable for challenging Mexican President Porfirio Díaz for the presidency in 1910 and being instrumental in sparking the Mexican Revolution.
The Mexican Revolution, also known as the Mexican Civil War, was a major armed struggle, lasting roughly from 1910 to 1920, that radically transformed Mexican culture and government. Although recent research has focused on local and regional aspects of the Revolution, it was a genuinely national revolution. Its outbreak in 1910 resulted from the failure of the 35-year-long regime of Porfirio Díaz to find a managed solution to the presidential succession. This meant there was a political crisis among competing elites and the opportunity for agrarian insurrection. Wealthy landowner Francisco I. Madero challenged Díaz in the 1910 presidential election, and following the rigged results, revolted under the Plan of San Luis Potosí. Armed conflict ousted Díaz from power; a new election was held in 1911, bringing Madero to the presidency.
Pascual Orozco Vázquez was a Mexican revolutionary leader who rose up with Francisco I. Madero late 1910 to depose Porfirio Díaz. Sixteen months later he revolted against the Madero government and ultimately sided with the coup d'état that deposed Madero.
The leadership of the division was then assigned to General Victoriano Huerta, who reorganized González Salas's remaining forces that had been defeated by Oroquistas.
José Victoriano Huerta Márquez was a Mexican military officer and 35th President of Mexico.
After Madero's overthrow in the counter-revolutionary coup that culminated the la Decena trágica , Pancho Villa assumed the leadership of the revolutionary northern division. As a result, the Division became closely associated with his name. Villa himself often led his División del Norte into battle.
The Ten Tragic Days was a series of events that took place in Mexico City between February 9 and February 19, 1913, during the Mexican Revolution. This led up to a coup d'état and the assassination of President Francisco I. Madero, and his Vice President, José María Pino Suárez. Much of what happened these days followed from the crumbling of the Porfiriato system of repressive order giving way to chaos, and as such, these days' events have been among the most influential of the Revolution's history. Madero's martyrdom shocked a critical portion of the population, and the unwelcome foreign intervention prepared the way for the growing nationalism and anti-imperialism of the Revolution. In many ways, then, it set the tone for the Revolution's most violent period, but it also prepared the way for an agenda of profound political and social change.
Francisco "Pancho" Villa was a Mexican revolutionary general and one of the most prominent figures of the Mexican Revolution.
The División del Norte was in effect a total army rather than a regular division. Villa's troops were assigned military ranks, outfitted with hospital trains and horse ambulances (called Servicio sanitario and said to be the first employed in Mexico), used the railroads built during the Díaz administration to move quickly from one engagement to the other, and unlike some other revolutionary groups, were well equipped with machine guns and even an artillery unit (captured from the Mexican Federal Army and Rurales).
An ambulance is a vehicle which can transport medical patients to treatment, and in some instances will also provide out-of-hospital medical care to the patient.
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican general and politician who served seven terms as President of Mexico, a total of 31 years, from February 17, 1877 to December 1, 1880 and from December 1, 1884 to May 25, 1911. A veteran of the War of the Reform (1858–60) and the French intervention in Mexico (1862–67), Díaz rose to the rank of General, leading republican troops against the French-imposed rule of Emperor Maximilian. Seizing power in a coup in 1876, Díaz and his allies, a group of technocrats known as "Científicos", ruled Mexico for the next thirty-five years, a period known as the Porfiriato.
Rurales is a Mexican term used to describe two different government forces. The best known is the Guardia Rural, founded by President Benito Juárez in 1861 as a rural police force controlled by the president and expanded by President Porfirio Díaz, a former army general, and used as an effective force of repression. It was a counterweight to the Mexican Army, whose nineteenth-century generals often overthrew the president. The rurales were dissolved during the Mexican Revolution.
Villa attempted to supply a horse to each infantryman, rather than only his cavalry detachments (Los dorados) in order to increase the speed of movement of his army, thus creating an early version of mobile infantry, or a late version of dragoons. Numerous foreign mercenaries served in the Falange extranjero (foreign legion) of the División, including such notables as Ivor Thord-Gray and the son of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
Mounted infantry were infantry who rode horses instead of marching. The original dragoons were essentially mounted infantry. According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, "Mounted rifles are half cavalry, mounted infantry merely specially mobile infantry." Today, with motor vehicles having replaced horses for military transport, the motorized infantry are in some respects successors to mounted infantry.
A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is an individual who takes part in military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military. Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political interests. In the last century, mercenaries have increasingly come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. Indeed, the Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured soldiers of a regular army. In practice, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and political interests may overlap, as was often the case among Italian condottieri.
Ivor Thord-Gray was a Swedish-born adventurer, sailor, prison guard, soldier, government official, police officer, rubber plantation owner, ethnologist, linguist, investor, and author. He participated in thirteen wars spanning the continents of Africa, Asia, North America, and Europe.
Villa excluded women soldaderas from the División del Norte. U.S. American journalist John Reed spent time with Villa and the División del Norte, writing in his book about the Mexican Revolution Insurgent Mexico that "Up to [Villa's] day, Mexican armies had always carried with them hundreds of the women and children of soldiers; Villa was the first man to think of swift forced marches of bodies of cavalry, leaving their women behind."
Soldaderas, often called Adelitas, were women in the military who participated in the conflict of the Mexican Revolution, ranging from commanding officers to combatants to camp followers. "In many respects, the Mexican revolution was not only a men's but a women's revolution." Although some revolutionary women achieved officer status, coronelas, "there are no reports of a woman achieving the rank of general." Since revolutionary armies did not have formal ranks, some women officers were called generala or coronela, even though they commanded relatively few men. A number of women took male identities, dressing as men, and being called by the male version of their given name, among them Ángel Jiménez and Amelio Robles.
John Silas "Jack" Reed was an American journalist, poet, and socialist activist, best remembered for Ten Days That Shook the World, his first-hand account of the Bolshevik Revolution. He married the writer and feminist Louise Bryant in 1916. Reed died of typhus in Russia in 1920. He is one of three Americans honored by being buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.
The División del Norte at its height numbered some 50,000 men. This was the largest revolutionary force ever amassed in the Americas. Pancho Villa's notoriety no doubt played an important part to recruiting such large numbers of men. Despite having such numerical advantage, the División del Norte was defeated at the Battle of Celaya on April 1915 by forces of Álvaro Obregón. The outcome of the battle came to the favor of Obregón who used defensive tactics from current European battle reports of World War I. The División del Norte with its cavalry charges was no match for well placed barbed wire, trenches, artillery and machine gun nests.
In 1980, the Mexico City metro opened the Metro División del Norte station on Line 3. There is a nearby Avenida División del Norte. The logo for the metro station is a stylized version of Villa, but not his name.
Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, the main leader of the peasant revolution in the state of Morelos, and the inspiration of the agrarian movement called Zapatismo.
Venustiano Carranza Garza was one of the main leaders of the Mexican Revolution, whose victorious northern revolutionary Constitutionalist Army defeated the counter-revolutionary regime of Victoriano Huerta and then defeated fellow revolutionaries after Huerta's ouster. He secured power in Mexico, serving as head of state from 1915–1917. With the promulgation of a new revolutionary Mexican Constitution of 1917, he was elected president, serving from 1917 to 1920.
Álvaro Obregón Salido was a general in the Mexican Revolution, who became President of Mexico from 1920 to 1924. He supported Sonora's decision to follow Governor of Coahuila Venustiano Carranza as leader of a revolution against the Huerta regime. Carranza appointed Obregón commander of the revolutionary forces in northwestern Mexico and in 1915 appointed him as his minister of war. In 1920, Obregón launched a revolt against Carranza, in which Carranza was assassinated; he won the subsequent election with overwhelming support.
The Battle of Celaya, 6–15 April 1915, was part of a series of military engagements in the Bajío during the Mexican Revolution between the winners, who had allied against the regime of Gen. Victoriano Huerta and then fought each other for control of Mexico. The Constitutionalists under Gen. Venustiano Carranza faced off against the Army of the Convention of Aguascalientes. The Convention allied Francisco "Pancho" Villa and Emiliano Zapata, who in practice remained in his stronghold of Morelos. The first battle of Celaya was fought April 6–7, 1915, near Celaya in present-day Guanajuato, Mexico. The second battle of Celaya was fought April 15–16. These encounters between the Constitutionalist Army led by Gen. Álvaro Obregón, Venustiano Carranza's best general, and the army under the command of Pancho Villa were crucial in determining the outcome of the Mexican Revolution.
Felipe Ángeles Ramírez (1868–1919) was a Mexican military officer, noteworthy for his participation in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 to 1920.
The Constitutional Army was the army that fought against the Federal Army, and later, against the Villistas and Zapatistas during the Mexican Revolution. It was formed in March 1913 by Venustiano Carranza, so-called "First-Chief" of the army, as a response to the murder of President Francisco I. Madero and Vice President José María Pino Suárez by Victoriano Huerta during La Decena Trágica of 1913, and the resulting usurpation of presidential power by Huerta.
The United States involvement in the Mexican Revolution was varied and seemingly contradictory, first supporting and then repudiating Mexican regimes during the period 1910-1920. For both economic and political reasons, the U.S. government generally supported those who occupied the seats of power, whether they held that power legitimately or not. A clear exception was the French Intervention in Mexico, when the U.S. supported the beleaguered liberal government of Benito Juárez at the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865). Prior to Woodrow Wilson's inauguration on March 4, 1913, the U.S. Government focused on just warning the Mexican military that decisive action from the U.S. military would take place if lives and property of U.S. nationals living in the country were endangered. President William Howard Taft sent more troops to the US-Mexico border but did not allow them to intervene in the conflict, a move which Congress opposed. Twice during the Revolution, the U.S. sent troops into Mexico.
The First Battle of Rellano was an engagement on 24 March 1912 during the Mexican Revolution at the Rellano railroad station, in the state of Chihuahua. It was fought between government troops loyal to Francisco I. Madero, led by General José González Salas, and rebel troops under Pascual Orozco. The battle was a victory for Orozco.
The Second Battle of Rellano of 22 May 1912 was an engagement of the Mexican Revolution between rebel forces under Pascual Orozco and government troops under General Victoriano Huerta, at the railroad station of Rellano, Chihuahua. The battle was a setback for Orozco, who had defeated another government army at the First Battle of Rellano in March of the same year.
Lucio Blanco was a Mexican military officer, noteworthy for his participation in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 to 1920.
José Inés Salazar was a leading Orozquista General in the Mexican Revolution who later fought with Pancho Villa. He was a native of Casas Grandes, Chihuahua.
The Battle of Zacatecas, also known as the Toma de Zacatecas, was the bloodiest battle in the campaign to overthrow Mexican President Victoriano Huerta. On June 23, 1914, Pancho Villa's División del Norte decisively defeated the federal troops of General Luis Medina Barrón defending the town of Zacatecas. The great victory demoralized Huerta's supporters, leading to his resignation on July 15.
General Jacinto Blas Treviño González was a Mexican military officer, noteworthy for his participation in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 to 1921.
The Border War, or the Border Campaign, refers to the military engagements which took place in the Mexico–United States border region of North America during the Mexican Revolution. The Bandit War in Texas was part of the Border War. From the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, the United States Army was stationed in force along the border and on several occasions fought with Mexican rebels or federals. The height of the conflict came in 1916 when revolutionary Pancho Villa attacked the American border town of Columbus, New Mexico. In response, the United States Army, under the direction of General John J. Pershing, launched an expedition into northern Mexico, to find and capture Villa. Though the operation was successful in finding and engaging the Villista rebels, and in killing Villa's two top lieutenants, the revolutionary himself escaped and the American army returned to the United States in January 1917. Conflict at the border continued, however, and the United States launched several additional, though smaller operations into Mexican territory until after the American victory in the Battle of Ambos Nogales, leading to the establishment of a permanent border wall. Conflict was not only subject to Villistas and Americans; Maderistas, Carrancistas, Constitutionalistas and Germans also engaged in battle with American forces during this period.
Felix A. Sommerfeld was a German secret service agent in Mexico and the United States between 1908 and 1919. He was chief of the Mexican Secret Service under President Francisco I. Madero, worked as a diplomat and arms buyer for Venustiano Carranza and Francisco "Pancho" Villa, and ran the Mexican portion of Germany's war strategy in North America between 1914 and 1917.