Mexico's Top Ten Most Loved and Hated Historical Figures
Top Ten Heros
1. Cuauhtemo- (?1502–1525) One of the Aztec emperors (1520-21), who became emperor at 18, when the Aztec capital, was being besieged by the Spanish and devastated by an epidemic of smallpox. He captured while crossing Lake Texcoco in disguise. The Spaniards had him tortured to reveal where Aztec treasure was hidden. However, according to Cuauhtemo, there was no treasure left .In 1525, Cortés took Cuauhtémoc and several other indigenous nobles on his expedition to Honduras. Cortés had Cuauhtémoc executed for allegedly conspiring to kill him and the other Spaniards
3. Miguel Hidalgo, full name Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla Gallaga Mondarte Villaseñor (May 8, 1753 – July 30, 1811) The priest who launched the war for independence and was executed .
4. Emiliano Zapata Salazar (August 8, 1879–April 10, 1919) A mestizo (mixed European and Indian ancestry ) who Fought for land and liberty , "Tierra y libertad", during the Mexican Revolution .Was a small landholder and horse trainer who battled in court against Diaz's land reforms in the small central Mexican state of Morelos .He became a general of the army that formed in that state, the Ejército Libertador del Sur (Liberation Army of the South), commonly known as Zapatistas. The Zapatistas were mainly poor peasants who wished to spend much of their time working their land to produce an income. As a result, Zapatista soldiers tended to serve for several months at a time, and then return home to spend most of the year farming. He fought the Constitutionalist Carranza after Huerta was defeated. Carranza put a bounty on Zapata's head, and a federalist offiicer pretended to defect to Zapata's side and killed him in an ambush .
5. Sor Juana de la Cruz female poet and writer of the colonial period .
6. Pancho Villa (June 5, 1878 – July 20, 1923) A bandito who became the commander of the División del Norte (Army of the North )Villa tried to give each soldier a horse to make his army more mobile .Legendary as a cavalry commander and nicknamed El Centauro del Norte (The Centaur of the North) he was defeated by Obregon who used WWI tactics in the decisive Battle of Celaya in 1915. He fought the Revolution for Land reform and equal education. He caused Americans under Pershing to invade Mexico after killing Americans and raids into America, but was never caught.He was assassinated in 1923 after retiring .
7. Ninos Heros de Chapultepec Six teenage cadets who died fighting rather than retreat during the Mexican American War (1846-7) at in Mexico City .The last survivor ( Juan Escutia ) leapt from Chapultepec Castle wrapped in the Mexican flag to prevent it from being taken by the enemy.
8. Lazaro Cardenas President of Mexico, 1934-40. Hard working, honest, president who nationlized foreign oil holdings and redistributed land
10. Jose Marcia Morelos y Pavon (1765-1815) Priest who continued the fight for independence after Hildago was executed .
Top Ten Villians
1. Hernan Cortes (1485-1547) So hated that, after the independence from Spain, one of the first offical acts was to call for the destruction of his bones. His remains were hidden. In 1981 the statue and the body were in danger of destruction by a nationalistic group. However, he was the founder of the Spanish culture in Mexico and was a capable leader who preferred diplomacy to force
2. Santa Anna (1794-1876) President of Mexico multiple times . Reviled for losing much of modern day southwest America during the Texas Rebellion, the Mexican American War and the Gadsden Purchase and overturning the early republic.
3. Pofirio Diaz (1830-1915 ) A young general who became a hero during the French Intervention .Despite his own rebellions against previous leaders who ran for more than one term ( the Constitution at the time only allowed one term, to prevent dictators ), stayed in office for multiple terms. Oversaw modernization of Mexico, but is reviled for associated with social and political abuses and the following bloody Mexican Revolution .
4. Carlos Salinas de Gortari, President 1988 - 1994, vilified for the economic crisis Mexico plunged into after he left office , possible corruption and links to assassination .
5. Marina or La Malinche Indian woman who helped Cortes .Reviled by many people as a traitor. The word malinchismo is used by modern-day Mexicans to identify countrymen who betray their race and country.
6. Victoriano Huerta (1850-1916) General who led a coup against Modero and assumed power. Driven into exile .
7. Henry Lane Wilson US ambassador involved in the plot to overthrow Modero in the Mexican Revolution.
9. Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, President 1964 - 70, President during the time of the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre .
10.Nuno de Guzman (1490-1544) In 1529 Nuno de Guzman became became one of three judges in Mexico City which led to one of the lowest points of Spanish administration in Mexico .This period between the rule of Cortes and the viceroys was a time of corruption, graft and injustice as Guzman and the other oidores sought to enrich themselves and gain power .