Villa meets Zapata


The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) began with a contested election in 1910 and ended a decade later with hundreds of thousands dead, the country in tatters and the economy in ruins. The outside world would regard it as a comic nuisance, but locally has become the stuff of legend, with larger than life characters such as Francisco ‘Pancho’ Villa, Emiliano Zapata and Álvaro Obregón battling one another for ownership of the rich nation of Mexico. At their meeting in Mexico’s presidential palace on Dec. 7th 1914, Villa and Zapata were the two most powerful men in Mexico.

Two revolutionaries met for the first time three days before at the municipal school of Xochimilco, 12 miles south of the capital. There Zapata with his family and Villa with his elite troops, the Dorados (the Golden Ones, so called because of the gold insignia they wore on their khaki uniforms and Stetsons) decided to jointly occupy Mexico City on December 6th. After Villa and Zapata occupied the city, the interim President Eulalio Gutierrez threw a banquet at the National Palace, where the above photo was taken.

Rodolfo Fierro is on far right, with Otilio Montaño (with his head bandaged) is seated near him.Tómas Urbina is seated at far left. Villa is on the presidential chair, and joked with Zapata insisting they take turns sitting in the presidential chair for a photograph. “I didn’t fight for that,” said Zapata. “We should burn that chair to end all ambitions.” On December 9th, Zapata left Mexico City to start his campaign–he would not see Villa again. Zapata would be assassinated in 1919, and Villa would follow the same route years later.

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