Emiliano Zapata was a major figure in the Mexican Revolution and a leader of the peasants in their struggle against dictator Porfirio Diaz. He fought for the rights of land poor peasants who were being forced off their land by wealthy landowners.
Zapata was born in Anenecuilco, Morelos, Mexico on August 8, 1879. Both of Zapata’s parents died and he became an orphan. He went to become a farmer to support his siblings after their parent’s death. He eventually became a notable and highly regarded horse trainer due to the teachings of his father who also specialized in horse training. At a young age he experiences his first injustice as his land was appropriated by much richer and well-off nobleman.
Involvement In Mexican Revolution
During the first decade of the 20th century, Emiliano began to participate in local politics. He opposed Porfirio Diaz’s dictatorship. In 1910 Francisco Madero challenged the dictator Porfirio Diaz and ran against him during elections. Emiliano and his force later decided to support Madero and eventually Zapata’s army caused Diaz to flee the country. Madero returned and met with Zapata who kept pushing for land reforms. However his words fell on deaf ears. Zapata realizes that Madero is going to betray him. Madero ordered him to disassemble his army but, Zapata fled to regroup.
Zapata drafted the Plan of Ayala which included the return and distribution of land in addition to many other agricultural reforms. Madero was eventually removed from power by Victoriano Huerta in 1913. Eventually Zapata formed an alliance with Pancho Villa against President Victoriano Huerta’s government until Huerta eventually fled in 1914. Villa and Zapata then believed that they would be the next ones to take power. On April 10, 1919 Zapata was tricked into meeting with a supposed defector from the Mexican army but, it was all a set up to eliminate him and legitimize Carranza’s power. After his death they took a picture of his corpse to prove he was dead.
Banknotes & Coins Ft. Zapata
He remains an iconic figure among Mexicans today because of his dedication to land reform and social justice for peasants; many streets, schools and towns across Mexico carry his name today. In addition, you can find him on various banknotes and coins. The green and red 10 Pesos Banknote from 1994 features a portrait of him on the right side. In the center are hands of a farmer holding maize. The reverse features Zapata talking to a farmer. The Mexican 20 Peso Coin, 2021 commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the death of Emiliano Zapata. On one side is the coat of arms of Mexico depicting a golden eagle on a cactus, devouring a snake. The other side of the coin features the profile of Emiliano wearing a hat, a farmer in the field with a cow.