Revolution Day is one of the most celebrated of all Mexico’s patriotic holidays. It was traditionally observed every 20 November to commemorate the uprising against the Porfirio Diaz dictatorship that began that day in 1910. However it is now held on the third Monday in November to provide workers a long weekend.
|2019||18 Nov||Mon||Revolution Day|
|2020||16 Nov||Mon||Revolution Day|
On 20 November 1910, Francisco Madero publicly condemned the Diaz dictatorship and declared that he was now the new president of Mexico. This began a ten-year struggle that eventually brought peace, order, and a new constitution to the nation. Diaz had held power, off and on, since 1871 and ruled a total of 35 years. Mexico’s economy saw good growth during the Diaz years, but discontent was rife because wealth was highly concentrated in the upper classes, while the lower classes were trapped in dire poverty.
Diaz originally came to power claiming to be the hero of the lower classes, and Madero, who helped lead the movement to overthrow him, was actually from the upper class. Yet, Madero led labour strikes and gathered popular support around him. In 1910, the pressure on Diaz forced him to allow an election, which he lost to Madero. Instead of stepping down, however, he imprisoned his victorious opponent.
By May of 1911, Madero was released, Diaz was deposed and fled to France. Others revolted against Madero’s rule, however, and chaos continued. These were the days of the famed Pancho Villa, a kind of “Mexican Robin Hood” who robbed the rich to give to the poor. Pancho Villa also fought battles against the Mexican government and raided U.S. border towns. Emiliano Zapata took control in southern Mexico, a kind of “peasant king” who warded off government forces for years on end.
For a decade after the revolt against Porfirio Diaz began, guerrilla warfare prevailed and land was violently ripped away from estate owners who were driven from their homes. When the dust all settled, in 1920, a general named Alvaro Obregon became president, the Constitution of 1917 had already been passed and enacted for three years, and a degree of land redistribution had been instituted.