Pancho Villa
Name: Pancho Villa
Occupation: War Hero
Gender: Male
Birth Day: June 5, 1878
Death Date: Jul 20, 1923 (age 45)
Age: Aged 45
Country: Mexico
Zodiac Sign: Gemini

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Pancho Villa

Pancho Villa was born on June 5, 1878 in Mexico (45 years old). Pancho Villa is a War Hero, zodiac sign: Gemini. Nationality: Mexico. Approx. Net Worth: Undisclosed.


He raided American trains and troops, and the U.S. organized a punitive armed expedition into Mexico to root him out.

Net Worth 2020

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Does Pancho Villa Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Pancho Villa died on Jul 20, 1923 (age 45).


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Before Fame

He supported the overthrow of the Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz and was almost killed by Diaz's loyalists.


Biography Timeline


Villa told a number of conflicting stories about his early life, and his "early life remains shrouded in mystery." According to most sources, he was born on 5 June 1878, and named José Doroteo Arango Arámbula at birth. His father was a sharecropper named Agustín Arango, and his mother was Micaela Arámbula. He grew up at the Rancho de la Coyotada, one of the largest haciendas in the state of Durango. The family's residence now houses the Casa de Pancho Villa historic museum in San Juan del Rio. Doroteo later claimed to be the son of the bandit Agustín Villa, but according to at least one scholar, "the identity of his real father is still unknown." He was the oldest of five children. As a child, he received some education from a local church-run school, but was not proficient in more than basic literacy. He quit school to help his mother after his father died. He became a bandit at some point early, and worked as a sharecropper, muleskinner (arriero), butcher, bricklayer, and foreman for a U.S. railway company. According to his dictated remembrances, published as Memorias de Pancho Villa, at the age of 16 he moved to Chihuahua, but soon returned to Durango to track down and kill a hacienda owner named Agustín López Negrete who had raped his sister, afterward stealing a horse and fleeing to the Sierra Madre Occidental region of Durango, where he roamed the hills as a thief. Eventually, he became a member of a bandit band headed by Ignacio Parra, one of the most famous bandits in Durango at the time. As a bandit, he went by the name "Arango".


In 1902, the rurales, the crack rural police force of President Porfirio Díaz, arrested Pancho for stealing mules and for assault. Because of his connections with the powerful Pablo Valenzuela, who allegedly had been a recipient of goods stolen by Villa/Arango, he was spared the death sentence sometimes imposed on captured bandits. Pancho Villa forcibly was inducted into the Federal Army, a practice often adopted under the Diaz regime to deal with troublemakers. Several months later, he deserted and fled to the neighboring state of Chihuahua. In 1903, after killing an army officer and stealing his horse, he no longer was known as Arango but Francisco "Pancho" Villa after his paternal grandfather, Jesús Villa. However, others claim he appropriated the name from a bandit from Coahuila. He was known to his friends as La Cucaracha or ("the cockroach").


Until 1910, Villa is said to have alternated episodes of thievery with more legitimate pursuits. Villa's outlook on banditry changed after he met Abraham González, the local representative for presidential candidate Francisco Madero, a rich hacendado turned politician from the northern state of Coahuila, who opposed the continued rule of Díaz and convinced Villa that through his banditry he could fight for the people and hurt the hacienda owners.

At the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, Villa was 32 years old.

The Mexican Revolution began when Francisco Madero challenged incumbent President Porfirio Díaz in the 1910 elections. Díaz arrested Madero and staged fraudulent elections, but Madero had united a broad base of pro-democracy, anti-reelectionists who sought an end to the Díaz regime. In his Plan de San Luis Potosí, Madero called for revolutionary action against the Díaz regime on 20 November 1910, and declared himself provisional president of Mexico. In Chihuahua, the leader of the anti-re-electionists, Abraham González, reached out to Villa to join the movement. Villa captured a large hacienda, then a train of Federal Army soldiers, and the town of San Andrés. He went on to beat the Federal Army in Naica, Camargo, and Pilar de Conchos, but lost at Tecolote. Villa met in person with Madero in March 1911, as the struggle to oust Díaz was ongoing.

John Reed, who graduated from Harvard in 1910 and became a leftist journalist, wrote magazine articles that were highly important in shaping Villa's epic image for Americans. Reed spent four months embedded with Villa's army and published vivid word portraits of Villa, his fighting men, and the women soldaderas, who were a vital part of the fighting force. Reed's articles were collected as Insurgent Mexico and published in 1914 for an American readership. Reed includes stories of Villa confiscating cattle, corn, and bullion and redistributing them to the poor. President Woodrow Wilson knew some version of Villa's reputation, saying he was "a sort of Robin Hood [who] had spent an eventful life robbing the rich in order to give to the poor. He had even at some point kept a butcher's shop for the purpose of distributing to the poor the proceeds of his innumerable cattle raids."


Much of the fighting was in the north of Mexico, near the border with the United States. Fearful of U.S. intervention, Madero ordered his officers to call off the siege of the strategic border city of Ciudad Juárez. Villa and Pascual Orozco attacked instead, capturing the city after two days of fighting, thus winning the first Battle of Ciudad Juárez in 1911.

Facing a series of defeats in many places, Díaz resigned on 25 May 1911, afterward going into exile. However, Madero signed the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez with the Díaz regime, under which the same power structure, including the recently defeated Federal Army, was retained.

The rebel forces, including Villa, were demobilized, and Madero called on the men of action to return to civilian life. Orozco and Villa demanded that hacienda land seized during the violence bringing Madero to power be distributed to revolutionary soldiers. Madero refused, saying that the government would buy the properties from their owners and then distribute them to the revolutionaries at some future date. According to a story recounted by Villa, he told Madero at a banquet in Ciudad Juárez after the victory in 1911, "You, sir [Madero], have destroyed the revolution... It's simple: this bunch of dandies have made a fool of you, and this will eventually cost us our necks, yours included." This proved to be the case for Madero, who was murdered during a military coup in February 1913 in a period known as the Ten Tragic Days (Decena Trágica).

Once elected President in November 1911, Madero proved a disastrous politician, dismissing his revolutionary supporters and relying on the existing power structure. Villa strongly disapproved of Madero's decision to name Venustiano Carranza (who previously had been a staunch supporter of Diaz until Diaz refused to appoint him as Governor of Coahuila in 1909) as his Minister of War. Madero's "refusal personally to accommodate Orozco was a major political blunder." Orozco rebelled in March 1912, both for Madero's continuing failure to enact land reform and because he felt insufficiently rewarded for his role in bringing the new president to power. At the request of Madero's chief political ally in the state, Chihuahua Governor Abraham González, Villa returned to military service under Madero to fight the rebellion led by his former comrade Orozco. Although Orozco appealed with him to join his rebellion, Villa again gave Madero key military victories. With 400 cavalrymen, he captured Parral from the Orozquistas and then joined forces in the strategic city of Torreón with the Federal Army under the command of General Victoriano Huerta.

As Villa's biographer Friedrich Katz has noted, "During his lifetime, Villa had never bothered with conventional arrangements in his family life," and he contracted several marriages without seeking annulment or divorce. On 29 May 1911, Villa married María Luz Corral, who has been described as "the most articulate of his many wives." Villa met her when she was living with her widowed mother in San Andrés, where Villa for a time had his headquarters. Anti-reelectionists threatened the locals for monetary contributions to their cause, which the two women could not afford. The widow Corral did not want to seem a counter-revolutionary and went to Villa, who allowed her to make a token contribution to the cause. Villa sought Luz Corral as his wife, but her mother was opposed; however, the two were married by a priest "in a great ceremony, attended by his military chiefs and a representative of the governor." A photo of Corral with Villa, dated 1914, has been published in a collection of photos from the Revolution. It shows a sturdy woman with her hair in a bun, wearing a floor-length embellished skirt and a white blouse, with a reboso beside a smiling Villa. After Villa's death, Luz Corral's marriage to Villa was challenged in court twice, and both times it was upheld as valid. Together, Villa and Luz Corral had one child, a daughter, who died within a few years after birth.


Villa first was imprisoned in Belem Prison, in Mexico City. While in prison he was tutored in reading and writing by Gildardo Magaña, a follower of Emiliano Zapata, revolutionary leader in Morelos. Magaña also informed him of Zapata's Plan de Ayala, which repudiated Madero and called for land reform in Mexico. Villa was transferred to the Santiago Tlatelolco Prison on 7 June 1912. There he received further tutelage in civics and history from imprisoned Federal Army general Bernardo Reyes. Villa escaped on Christmas Day 1912, crossing into the United States near Nogales, Arizona on 2 January 1913. Arriving in El Paso, Texas, he attempted to convey a message to Madero via Abraham González about the upcoming coup d'état, to no avail; Madero was murdered in February 1913, and Huerta became president. Villa was in the U.S. when the coup occurred. With just seven men, some mules, and scant supplies, he returned into Mexico in April 1913 to fight Madero's usurper and his own would-be executioner, President Victoriano Huerta.


Huerta immediately moved to consolidate power. He had Abraham González, governor of Chihuahua, Madero's ally and Villa's mentor, murdered in March 1913. (Villa later recovered González's remains and gave his friend and mentor a proper funeral in Chihuahua.)

Villa was a brilliant tactician on the battlefield, which translated to political support. In 1913, local military commanders elected him provisional governor of the state of Chihuahua against the wishes of First Chief Carranza, who wished to name Manuel Chao instead. As Governor of Chihuahua, Villa recruited more experienced generals, including Toribio Ortega, Porfirio Talamantes, and Calixto Contreras, to his military staff and achieved more success than ever. Villa's secretary, Pérez Rul, divided his army into two groups, one led by Ortega, Contreras, and Orestes Pereira and the other led by Talamantes and Contreras' former deputy, Severianco Ceniceros.

Villa had long-term relationships with several women. Austreberta Rentería was Villa's "official wife" at his hacienda of Canutillo, and Villa had two sons with her, Francisco and Hipólito. Others were Soledad Seañez, Manuela Casas (with whom Villa had a son), and Juana Torres, whom he wed in 1913 and with whom he had a daughter.


Villa's victory at Zacatecas in June 1914 broke the back of the Huerta regime. Huerta left the country on 14 July 1914. The Federal Army collapsed, ceasing to exist as an institution. In August 1914, Carranza and his revolutionary army entered Mexico City ahead of Villa. Civil war between the winners was the next stage of the Revolution.

Carranza and Alvaro Obregón retreated to Veracruz, leaving Villa and Zapata to occupy Mexico City. Although Villa had a more formidable army and had demonstrated his brilliance in battle against the now-defunct Federal Army, Carranza's general Obregón was a better tactician. With Obregón's help, Carranza was able to use the Mexican press to portray Villa as a sociopathic bandit and undermine his standing with the U.S. In late 1914, Villa was dealt an additional blow with the death from typhus of Toribio Ortega, one of his top generals.

After losing the Battle of Agua Prieta in Sonora, an overwhelming number of Villa's men in the Division del Norte were killed and 1,500 of the army's surviving members soon turned on him, accepting an amnesty offer from Carranza. "Villa's army [was] reduced to the condition to which it had reduced Huerta's in 1914. The celebrated Division of the North thus was eliminated as a capital military force."


While Convention forces occupied Mexico City, Carranza maintained control over two key Mexican states, Veracruz and Tamaulipas, where Mexico's two largest ports were located. Carranza was able to collect more revenue than Villa. In 1915, Villa was forced to abandon the capital after a number of incidents involving his troops. This helped pave the way for the return of Carranza and his followers.

To combat Villa, Carranza sent his ablest general Obregón north, who defeated Villa in a series of battles. Meeting at the Battle of Celaya in the Bajío, Villa and Obregón first fought from 6 to 15 April 1915, and Villa's army was defeated badly, suffering 4,000 killed and 6,000 captured. Obregón engaged Villa again at the Battle of Trinidad, which was fought between 29 April and 5 June 1915, where Villa suffered another huge loss. In October 1915, Villa crossed into Sonora, the main stronghold of Obregón and Carranza's armies, where he hoped to crush Carranza's regime. However, Carranza had reinforced Sonora, and Villa again was defeated badly. Rodolfo Fierro, a loyal officer and cruel hatchet man, was killed while Villa's army was crossing into Sonora.

In November 1915, Carranza's forces captured and executed Contreras, Pereyra, and son. Severianco Ceniceros also accepted amnesty from Carranza and turned on Villa as well. Although Villa's secretary Perez Rul also broke with Villa, he refused to become a supporter of Carranza.

After years of public and documented support for Villa's fight, the United States refused to allow more arms to be supplied to his army, and allowed Carranza's troops to be relocated over U.S. railroads. Woodrow Wilson believed that supporting Carranza was the best way to expedite establishment of a stable Mexican government. Villa felt betrayed by the Americans. He further was enraged by Obregón's use of searchlights, powered by American electricity, to help repel a Villista night attack on the border town of Agua Prieta, Sonora on 1 November 1915. In January 1916, a group of Villistas attacked a train on the Mexico North Western Railway, near Santa Isabel, Chihuahua, and killed a number of American employees of the American Smelting and Refining Company. The passengers included eighteen Americans, 15 of whom worked for American Smelting. There was only one survivor, who gave the details to the press. Villa admitted to ordering the attack, but denied that he had authorized the shedding of American blood.

Before the Villa-Carranza irregular forces had left to the mountains in 1915, there is no credible evidence that Villa cooperated with or accepted any help from the German government or agents. Villa was supplied arms from the U.S., employed international mercenaries and doctors including Americans, was portrayed as a hero in the U.S. media, made business arrangements with Hollywood, and did not object to the 1914 U.S. naval occupation of Veracruz. Villa's observation was that the occupation merely hurt Huerta. Villa opposed the armed participation of the United States in Mexico, but he did not act against the Veracruz occupation in order to maintain the connections in the U.S. that were necessary to buy American cartridges and other supplies. The German consul in Torreón made entreaties to Villa, offering him arms and money to occupy the port and oil fields of Tampico to enable German ships to dock there, but Villa rejected the offer.

There were documented contacts between Villa and the Germans after Villa's split with the Constitutionalists. This was principally in the person of Felix A. Sommerfeld (noted in Katz's book), who allegedly funneled $340,000 of German money to the Western Cartridge Company in 1915, to purchase ammunition. Sommerfeld had been Villa's representative in the United States since 1914 and had close contact with the German naval attaché in Washington Karl Boy-Ed, as well as other German agents in the United States including Franz von Rintelen and Horst von der Goltz. In May 1914, Sommerfeld formally entered the employ of Boy-Ed and the German secret service in the United States. However, Villa's actions were hardly that of a German catspaw; rather, it appeared that Villa resorted to German assistance only after other sources of money and arms were cut off.


On 9 March 1916, General Villa ordered nearly 100 Mexican members of his revolutionary group to make a cross-border attack against Columbus, New Mexico. While some believed the raid was conducted because of the U.S. government's official recognition of the Carranza regime and for the loss of lives in battle due to defective cartridges purchased from the U.S., it was accepted from a military standpoint that Villa carried out the raid because he needed more military equipment and supplies in order to continue his fight against Carranza. They attacked a detachment of the 13th Cavalry Regiment (United States), burned the town, and seized 100 horses and mules and other military supplies. Eighteen Americans and about 80 Villistas were killed.

The Mexican population was against American troops in Mexican territories. There were several demonstrations of opposition to the Punitive Expedition and that counted towards the failure of that expedition. During the expedition, Carranza's forces captured one of Villa's top generals, Pablo López, and executed him on 5 June 1916.

At the time of Villa's attack on Columbus, New Mexico in 1916, Villa's military power had been marginalized (he was repulsed at Columbus by a small cavalry detachment, albeit after doing a lot of damage), his theater of operations mainly was limited to western Chihuahua, he was persona non grata with Mexico's ruling Carranza constitutionalists, and the subject of an embargo by the U.S., so communication or further shipments of arms between the Germans and Villa would have been difficult.


Following his unsuccessful military campaign at Celaya and the 1916 incursion into New Mexico, prompting the unsuccessful U.S. military intervention in Mexico to capture him, Villa ceased to be a national leader and became a guerrilla leader in Chihuahua. While Villa still remained active, Carranza shifted his focus to dealing with the more dangerous threat posed by Zapata in the south. Villa's last major military action was a raid against Ciudad Juárez in 1919. Following the raid, Villa suffered yet another major blow after Felipe Angeles, who had returned to Mexico in 1918 after living in exile for three years as a dairy farmer in Texas, left Villa and his small remaining militia. Angeles later was captured by Carranza's forces and was executed on 26 November 1919.


On 21 May 1920, a break for Villa came when Carranza, along with his top advisers and supporters, was assassinated by supporters of Álvaro Obregón. With his nemesis dead, Villa was now ready to negotiate a peace settlement and retire. On 22 July 1920, Villa finally was able to send a telegram to Mexican interim President Adolfo de la Huerta, which stated that he recognized Huerta's presidency and requested amnesty. Six days later, de la Huerta met with Villa and negotiated a peace settlement.


At the time of Villa's assassination in 1923, Luz Corral was banished from Canutillo. However, she was recognized by Mexican courts as Villa's legal wife and therefore heir to Villa's estate. President Obregón intervened in the dispute between competing claims to Villa's estate in Luz Corral's favor, perhaps because she had saved his life when Villa threatened to execute him in 1914.


Villa was buried the day after his assassination in the city cemetery of Parral, Chihuahua, rather than in Chihuahua city, where he had built a mausoleum. Villa's skull was stolen from his grave in 1926. According to local folklore, an American treasure hunter, Emil Holmdahl, beheaded him to sell his skull to an eccentric millionaire who collected the heads of historic figures. His remains were reburied in the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City in 1976. The Francisco Villa Museum is a museum dedicated to Villa located at the site of his assassination in Parral.


Despite the fact that he did not want to have a sitting politician arrested, Obregón gave in to the people's demands and had Barraza detained. Initially sentenced to 20 years in prison, Barraza's sentence was commuted to three months by the governor of Chihuahua, and Barraza eventually became a colonel in the Mexican Army. In a letter to the governor of Durango, Jesús Castro, Barraza agreed to be the "fall guy," and the same arrangement is mentioned in letters exchanged between Castro and Amaro. Others involved in the conspiracy were Félix Lara, the commander of federal troops in Parral who was paid 50,000 pesos by Calles to remove his soldiers and policemen from the town on the day of the assassination, and Meliton Lozoya, the former owner of Villa's hacienda from whom Villa was demanding payback funds he had embezzled. It was Lozoya who planned the details of the assassination and found the men who carried it out. It was reported that before Barraza died of a stroke in his Mexico City home in 1951, his last words were "I'm not a murderer. I rid humanity of a monster."


An alleged son of Pancho Villa, the lieutenant colonel Octavio Villa Coss, reportedly was killed by Juan Nepomuceno Guerra, a legendary drug lord from the Gulf Cartel, in 1960.


Rentería and Seañez eventually were granted small government pensions decades after Villa's death. Corral inherited Villa's estate and played a key role in maintaining his public memory. All three women were often present at ceremonies at Villa's grave in Parral. When Villa's remains were transferred in 1976 to the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City, Corral refused to attend the huge ceremony. She died at the age of 89 on 6 July 1981.


Claro Huertado (a bodyguard), Rafael Madreno (Villa's main personal bodyguard), Danie Tamayo (his personal secretary), and Colonel Miguel Trillo (who also served as his chauffeur) were killed. One of Villa's bodyguards, Ramon Contreras, was wounded badly but managed to kill at least one of the assassins before he escaped; Contreras was the only survivor. Villa is reported to have died saying "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something," but there is no contemporary evidence that he survived his shooting even momentarily. Historian and biographer Friedrich Katz wrote in 1998 that Villa died instantly. Time also reported in 1951 that both Villa and his aide (Tamayo) were killed instantly.


Villa's last living son, Ernesto Nava, died in Castro Valley, California, at the age of 94 on 31 December 2009. Nava appeared yearly in festival events in his hometown of Durango, Mexico, enjoying celebrity status until he became too weak to attend.

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Currently, Pancho Villa is 143 years, 11 months and 14 days old. Pancho Villa will celebrate 144th birthday on a Sunday 5th of June 2022.

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