Zapata, Emiliano, 1879-1919

Alternative names
Birth 1879-08-08
Death 1919-04-10
Spanish; Castilian

Biographical notes:

Emiliano Zapata (b. 8 August 1879, Morelos, Mexico–d. 10 April 1919, Morelos, Mexico) 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. He was born in the rural village of Anenecuilco (Morelos State), where peasant communities were under increasing pressure from the small landowning class who monopolized land and water resources for sugar cane production with the support of dictator Porfirio Díaz. He participated in political movements against Diaz and the landowning hacendados, when the Revolution broke out in 1910 he was positioned as a central leader of the peasant revolt in Morelos. He then formed and led the Liberation Army of the South; Zapata's forces contributed to the fall of Díaz, defeating the Federal Army in the Battle of Cuautla, but when the revolutionary leader Francisco I.

When Madero became president, he disavowed the role of the Zapatistas, denouncing them as simple bandits. In November 1911, Zapata promulgated the Plan de Ayala which called for substantial land reforms and Madero sent the Federal Army to root out the Zapatistas in Morelos but this only strenghthed the Zapata's role.

During the Mexican Revoltion, Venustiano Carranza, Álvaro Obregón, and Pancho Villa ousted Victoriano Huerta who took power of Mexico. Afterwards, Zapata and Pancho Villa broke with Carranza, promting civil war; Zapata then focused his energies on rebuilding society in Morelos which he now controlled. In 1915, Zapata initiated guerrilla warfare against the Carrancistas, who in turn invaded Morelos, Zapata retook Morelos in 1917 and held most of the state against Carranza's troops until he was killed in an ambush in April 1919; remains an iconic figure in Mexico, used both as a nationalist symbol as well as a symbol of the neo-Zapatista movement.


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  • Land reform
  • Land tenure


  • Revolutionaries


  • Chinameca, 17, MX
  • Anenecuilco, 17, MX
  • Mexico, 00, MX