Benito Juarez 1858 - 1872

With half territory lost, the National Treasury looted by a dictator, foreign debt to its limit and the army dismembered, in the middle of the 19th century Mexico was a devastated homeland for its inhabitants and an easy target for international impe

With half territory lost, the National Treasury looted by a dictator, foreign debt to its limit and the army dismembered, in the middle of the 19th century Mexico was a devastated homeland for its inhabitants and an easy target for international imperialist interests. When finally Santa Anna lost the support of his most devoted followers he quit his 11th term as president of Mexico and one man came to put some order in the house.

Benito Juarez Garcia was born of pure Zapotec blood, in the mountains of the State of Oaxaca. His parents died when he was 3 years old so his Grandparents took care of him. He was a shepherd until age 12 when, they say, avoiding his Grandpa's preaching due to a lost sheep, he ran away to Oaxaca city where his sister worked as a maid for the Maza family. Till that point Juarez only spoke Zapotec and he was illiterate.

Impressed by the intelligence of the kid, a Franciscan priest taught him and achieved his registration at the seminar so he could continue to study. Contrary to what was expected, Juarez showed more interest in the human laws rather than that of God and he graduated as lawyer in 1833. He started then a successful public career that took him to hold important positions such as judge and governor of the State of Oaxaca. In 1853 he auto exiled in U.S. in a frank act of rejection to Santa Anna’s dictatorship.

When he returned in 1855, he got organized with the liberals of the country to promulgate the Reform Laws, which restricted the Catholic Church power and the army, expropriating the Real Estate in their realm among other actions. Through these actions, he wanted to create a capitalist state based on a modern and industrious civil society, despite the riots provoked by conservatives. Elected president in 1860, he declared the foreign debt payment cease and the creditors’ answer was immediate.

From a Veracruz port under siege, Juarez skillfully negotiated with Spain and England. However, Napoleon III had a subsequent purpose of stopping U.S. expansion to the south by creating a Mexican Empire, under the rule of an European noble house. Juarez and his army resisted the first strike very well, not the second thou. The French entered Mexico City with victory in 1863, forcing Juarez to take his capital to a small coach from which he governed, and that bravely traveled across the North desert resisting, organizing and promoting the republic against emperor Maximilian I.