For information about the boxer, see Pancho Villa (boxer).
Jos� Doroteo Arango Ar�mbula (June 5, 1878 – July 20, 1923) — better known by his nom de guerre Francisco Villa or, in its diminutive form, Pancho Villa — was one of the foremost generals of the Mexican Revolution.
He was born in [[R�o Grande]], Durango, Mexico. Until recently, the tale of his obscure family origins and early life had long been confused by the existence of many divergent and poorly documented accounts as well as popular oral tradition. However, painstaking genealogical research has recently (2000) established the conclusion that he was the illegitimate son of Luis F�rman Gurrola, a wealthy hacendado whose own father was an immigrant of Austrian-Jewish origin, and Micaela Ar�mbula de Arango, a maid.
After working for a time as a peon on his father's hacienda, he left and quickly took up the life of a bandit and outlaw in Durango and later in the state of Chihuahua, whence he immigrated. He was caught several times for crimes ranging from banditry to horse thievery and cattle rustling but, through influential connections, was always able to secure his release.
Villa underwent a transformation after meeting [[Abraham Gonz�lez]], the political representative of Francisco I. Madero in Chihuahua. Gonz�lez gave Villa a basic education which opened his eyes to the political world and changed the way in which he thought about his own life and his relation to those in power (in the state of Chihuahua, the powerful Creel/Terrazas family). From this point until near the end of his life, Villa considered himself a revolutionary fighting for the people.
In 1911, with U.S. support, Villa helped defeat the federal army of [[Porfirio D�az]] in favour of Francisco I. Madero. Following Madero's power, General Huerta sentenced Villa to death for insubordination. Villa escaped to the U.S. border until it was safe. After that, Villa again rebelled against former allies, first against Victoriano Huerta, later against Venustiano Carranza.
On March 9, 1916, Villa led 1,500 Mexican raiders in a cross-border attack against Columbus, New Mexico, in response to the U.S. government's official recognition of the Carranza regime. They attacked a US Cavalry detachment, seized 100 horses and mules, burned the town, and killed 17 of its residents.
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson responded by sending 12,000 troops, under Gen. John J. Pershing, into Mexico on March 15 to pursue Villa. In the U.S., this was known as the Pancho Villa Expedition. During the search, the United States launched its first air combat mission when eight aeroplanes lifted off on March 19. The expedition to capture Villa was called off as a failure on January 28, 1917.
In 1920, Villa ended his revolutionary actions. He was assassinated three years later in Parral, Chihuahua. As a perceived rebel against injustice and abuse, and despite the violent excesses he undeniably committed (he was particularly noted for his dislike of people of Chinese extraction and would reputedly massacre any whom he encountered during his raids), Villa is still remembered in Mexico as a folk hero.
Modern historians debate whether Villa was involved with the Germans and how much aid and information passed through them. Some contend that the Germans encouraged Villa's actions against US interests and incursions into Texas and New Mexico in order to create instability on the southern border of a power they definitely did not want interfering in World War I. Other actions by the Germans such as the Zimmermann Telegram correspond with Germany's wish to destabilize the USA. The extent of Villa's role as an abettor of German interests and receiver of German aid is still very much in question, but the idea would not seem to be in contradiction with his opportunistic tendencies.
- Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something. (Last words.)
- Katz, Friedrich (1998). The Life and Times of Pancho Villa. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
- Osorio, Rub�n (�2000). La Familia Secreta de Pancho Villa: Una Historia Oral. Translated by John Klingemann as The Secret Family of Pancho Villa: An Oral History. Alpine, TX: Sul Ross University / Center for Big Bend Studies.
Pancho Villa in films
Villa has been represented in films by himself in 1912, 1913, and 1914. Many other actors have represented him, such as:
- Raoul Walsh (1912, 1914)
- George Humbert (1918)
- Phillip Cooper (1934)
- Wallace Beery (1934)
- Juan F. Triana (1935)
- Domingo Soler (1936), [[�V�monos con Pancho Villa!]]
- Maurice Black (1937)
- Leo Carrillo (1949)
- [[Pedro Armend�riz]] (1950, 1957, 1960 twice)
- Alan Reed (1952)
- Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr. (1958)
- [[Jos� El�as Moreno]] (1967)
- Ricardo Palacios (1967)
- Yul Brynner (1968)
- Telly Savalas (1971)
- Hector Elizondo (1976)
- Freddy Fender (1977)
- Gaithor Brownne (1985)
- [[Pedro Armend�riz, Jr.]] (1989)
- Antonio Aguilar (1993)
- [[Jes�s Ochoa]] (1995)
- Carlos Roberto Majul (1999)
- Mike Moroff (1999)
- Peter Butler (2000)
- Antonio Banderas (2003)