Benito Juarez Day is celebrated as a national holiday in Mexico on every third Monday of March. It is a public holiday that marks the birthday of former 19th century president of Mexico, Benito Juarez.
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Juarez was famous for his resistance against the intervention of the French in Mexico during his time in office. To commemorate his efforts for the Mexican people, he is remembered on or near his birthday every year.
Benito Juarez was born on 21 March 1806. He was a Mexican lawyer and a politician who was from the Zapotec part of Oaxaca. On 15 January 1858 he was elected as president of Mexico where he was most famous for his reforms.
Juarez was dedicated to the establishment of democracy, he worked to reduce the Catholic Church’s influence on politics in Mexico, and also fought hard to campaign on behalf of the rights of indigenous peoples. Additionally, Juarez defended the importance of national sovereignty. He served five terms as Mexico’s 26th president until 18 July 1872, over 14 years in total of serving.
The era in which Juarez lived was perhaps one of the most chaotic eras of Mexican history. With this chaos, however, came great significance. This era resulted in what a multitude of historians would consider the nation’s consolidation as a republic. The role Juarez had in this result was significant, and his rule is referred to the ‘La Reforma” period of Mexican history, or the Reform. Both a political and a social revolution had occurred during this time, resulting in significant reforms that translated into the Mexican constitution.
Juarez, through his resistance of French occupation in Mexico, also managed to overthrow the Second Mexican Empire in order to restore the Mexican Republic. His efforts were incredibly liberal for the time and resulted in a modernisation of the entire country.