Pancho Villa

Pancho Villa

Reading Comprehension for June 5

Was he a revolutionary hero or a criminal? Pancho Villa, born Doroteo Arango, has been described in both ways. His life story is fraught with myths and legends; even his date of birth is in question. We do know that he stole cattle and committed murder. Even with these crimes on his record, he became a beloved hero to many during the Mexican Revolution.

Doroteo Arango began his career as a bandit. He was accused of many crimes and joined a band of outlaws to try to avoid being arrested. The men spent their time robbing the hacendados - wealthy landowners in Mexico. Much of what they stole, they gave to the poor. He began using the name Pancho Villa. Some say that he took the name of his grandfather, Jesus Villa. Others say he took the name of a bandit leader who had been killed. No matter where the name came from, Doroteo Arango would be remembered in history as Pancho Villa.

In 1910, Mexico was a dictatorship led by Porfirio Diaz. In that year, Pancho Villa met Abraham Gonzalez, who opened his eyes to the political world. Gonzalez was an associate of Francisco Madero, a political opponent of Diaz. Madero wanted to bring democracy to Mexico. Pancho was convinced that Madero could do this, and he persuaded his band of men to join Madero to overthrow Diaz. On November 20, 1910, the Mexican Revolution began with Madero in the lead. After the Battle of Juarez in 1911, Diaz fled, and Madero became president of Mexico.

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