The Beautiful Face of Courage: The Adelitas Women of the Mexican Revolution


They looked for water and food for the soldiers, built barricades to protect them in the evening, healed the sick, carried the weapons. They went on foot to the sidewalk, following the battalions where husbands, fathers, brothers, and lovers participated. They are the soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution (1910), better known as “the adelitas”, and participated in all the sides that made up this armed movement: Maderistas, Zapatistas, Villistas, Carrancistas.

 
Many times they had the worst part of the war and some leaders never acknowledged their commitment to the cause. Most of them are anonymous faces and their drama barely appears in the history books. However, some of them were immortalized in the corridos, songs of the time that compiled the experiences of the Revolution.

 
In these corridos their leaders were portrayed, events were narrated and the female presence was reflected in the battalions, always faithful, brave, cheerful, self-sacrificing and even flirtatious, with a personality so typical that it inspired the rest of the group. They even had the courage to dance and find fun in hiding.

 
The photographs of the movement reveal their appearance: dressed almost always in their petticoats or long skirts, wearing scarves and hats. Other times they are practically disguised as men, only their eyes give them away. They rarely appear smiling. Their look had become stern and distrustful, however, they are seen preparing food, guarding their children in their rebozo, sharing the fate of the soldiers.

 

 The “adelitas” or “soldaderas” also occupied more strategic roles as spies, distributing propaganda or clandestine mail agents. Despite this, there were privileges to those who could not access, for example, horseback riding. Even when pregnant, they had to follow the troops walking. If their partner died, they could take their place in the battalion and this was how they could get to occupy military ranks. The greatest rank for a woman was that of a colonel, although almost all the troops had a woman who distinguished herself by her leadership and was the one who coordinated the rest of the women.

 
About how many women participated in the Revolution, there are no precise figures. You have to immerse yourself in the archives to know the names of these brave women and the tragedies they suffered: Petra Guerrera, Hermila Galindo, Juana Belén Gutiérrez, Coronela Caritina …

 
One of the saddest events occurred in 1916, at the Santa Rosalía station in Camargo, Chihuahua, when Villa snatched the train station from the Carrancistas. Ninety women Carrancistas were arrested and one of them shot Villa. Enraged, the “Centaur of the North” demanded to know who had fired at him. As none responded, they were all shot.

 
The “adelitas” or soldaderas were also part of the coveted booty in the clashes between the various revolutionary groups. They were wanted to rape them and thus disgrace the enemy. Thus, these brave and loyal women do not differ much from what other women have been in the wars of the world: consolation and relief, soldiers of a lesser category, cannon fodder. But they have also known to be the most beautiful face of courage.

 


 

Tequila The Landscape, History & Taste of Mexico

Spanish

The Essence of Tequila

Tequila is the national drink of Mexico and is certainly one of the most popular spirit beverages in the world. Tequila is made from blue agave.

Agave is a plant species that instantly brings to mind images of Mexico and represents the essence of being Mexican.  From the north, in Jalisco, to the south, in the Yucatan, various species of agave have marked the
and defined the landscape of our country, giving it a taste unmistakably linked to our identity. 

Its leaves are thick, fleshy, sharp, and– like cactus–store water in their interior in order to survive. There are over 200 species of agave of which almost all grow in Mexico.  They vary in shape, size and color.  The agave is such a rich plant that man has extracted from them fiber, paper, candy, vinegar, honey, sugar, and of course, three alcoholic beverages which are the pride of Mexico: tequila, mezcal and pulque.

In pre-Columbian times the Aztecs revered a species of agave known as “maguey” (Agave Americana), which they considered to be representative of “Mayahuel”, the goddess of alcohol who fed her 400 children with pulque that emanated from her numerous breasts. Mayahuel was also associated with the moon, femininity, vegetation and its life cycles.

A sacred beverage was obtained from the agave which could only be enjoyed on special occasions by the tlatoanis or rulers, priests or the elders. This beverage is pulque, which still remains popular in certain Mexican regions, mainly in the state of Hidalgo.

From another species known as henequen, from the Yucatan peninsula, the Mayans extracted a fiber to manufacture rope and rugs. Henequen was the engine for a huge industry in that zone at the end of the 19th century.

Mezcal is produced from the combination of various species of agave, a typical spirit from the Oaxaca region, whose handmade manufacture is a source of wonder and enchantment for visitors to this region of Mexico. It’s called mezcal because that’s the name of the heart of the agave, from which a delicious honey is extracted. In the Nahuatl dialect, mezcal means, “The house of the moon” and conceptually refers to the core, the essence; the center of something.

Finally, tequila is produced from blue agave or ‘Agave Tequiliana Weber’, the most famous drink in our country; an intensely flavored spirit associated with the lively and courageous character of the Mexican. It’s also an allegory of our history because it fuses the benefits of a native Mexican plant with the European techniques that Spain introduced during the colonial period.

In Mexico tequila is synonymous with celebration, pride and complicity between friends. The best of times are enjoyed with a few shots of tequila; with tequila you toast for success and its also with tequila that you drown the pain of disillusionment.  With a shot of tequila, unforgettable life stories are begun and with another we remember them! 

November 20 the Mexican Revolution

On November 20, 2011 Mexico celebrated the Centennial Anniversary of its Revolution. On this date, in the year 1910 the revolutionary war to overthrow the dictator Porfirio Díaz, began.

General Porfirio Díaz had been an important military figure during the wars against the foreign invaders, and had tried to overthrow President Benito Juarez in 1872. Then again, he rebelled against President Lerdo de Tejada in 1876 and won.

Don Porfirio, as he was called, had been in power for more than 30 years (1876-1911).  Under his rule, Mexico had political stability and grew in many areas, creating new industries, railroads, kilometers of railroad tracks as well as the increase of foreign capital. Non-the less, this progress was not translated into the peoples’ well being. 

Soon there was political unrest.  The unhappiest sectors of the Mexican society were the peasants and labor workers. To defend these two popular sectors, Ricardo Flores Magón founded the Mexican Liberal Party.   Flores Magón was obviously persecuted by the Porfirist regime, and died in an American prison.    In 1906 the army brutally repressed a strike of miners in the Cananea mine in Sonora.  As you can see,  Díaz did every thing in his power to crush any uprisings.  The Cananea massacre is historically considered the spark that finally ignited Mexico’s Revolution.

Porfirio Díaz wasn’t oblivious to all this pressure, so in 1908 in an interview given to an American journalist, James Creelman, he stated:

“I have waited patiently for the day to come when the citizens of the Mexican Republic will be prepared to elect  and decide their Government at every election without the danger of armed revolutions and without injury to the national credit or interference with national progress.

I believe that day has come. …    

“I welcome an opposition party in the Mexican Republic,” he said. “If it becomes a reality, I will regard it as a blessing, not as an evil.”

In early 1909 Francisco I. Madero founded the Anti Reelectionist Party.

Madero came from a wealthy family from Coahuila. He had studied business in France as well as in the U.S.  He vigorously fought against reelection and for democracy and liberty in Mexico through his political newspaper articles.

The Anti Reelectionist party designated him to run for President in the elections of 1910.

Díaz was now under constant pressure, and on June 6th he ordered the imprisonment of Madero, augmenting that he was “inciting rebellion and offending the authorities”.

Francisco I. Madero was taken to a prison in San Luis Potosí, where he awaited the results of the elections.  There he learned that through an electoral fraud Díaz declared himself President of Mexico one more time!

Then and there Madero, who had always been a pacifist, decided to flee from prison and call for a National Insurrection on November 20 1910.  He declared the electoral process invalid and appointed provisional Governors.  Immediately, uprising broke out in several Mexican states. The first were Puebla, Coahuila, Chihuahua and Sonora.

Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, was taken by the insurrectors: Pascual Orozco and Francisco “Pancho” Villa. When the city surrendered Madero set up his provisional government there.  Díaz was then forced to resign and had to abandon the country.

Some of the most important Revolutionaries were Pascual OrozcoFrancisco Villa in the northern states, and Emiliano Zapata in the south.

New elections took place in 1911, and Madero was elected President of Mexico.  Unfortunately, peace was not to come to this country for a while. Several Revolutionary leaders couldn’t settle their differences. Madero wanted to work steadily and patiently towards bettering the economic and social situation. But many revolutionary commanders wanted immediate change, which was impossible to accomplish.   Pascual Orozco,for example, led and lost a revolt against Madero.

Three Porfirist generals also attacked President Madero, who in turn, appointed Victoriano Huerta to repress the offensive.  A fatal decision…. In time history would prove that Victoriano Huerta was the utmost traitor of the Revolution.Francisco I. Madero was captured and assassinated by Huerta’s accomplices.  The vice-president and a brother of Madero were also killed.

Huerta’s victory would be short-lived. A new Revolutionary movement emerged with unprecedented force; it was called the Constitutionalist Movement.   Huerta had to flee the country in 1914.  In 1917 the Constitution was reformed.  Fighting among revolutionary groups did not end until 1920.

The Revolution had at last triumphed!

La Adelita Mexican Revolution Song

La Adelita is one of the most famous and representative ballads of the Mexican Revolution. It was composed in honor of all the women who participated in the revolutionary war.  Since then an Adelita has come to signify a woman soldier, or soldadera, as well as a brave woman.

En  lo alto de la abrupta serranía
acampado se encontraba un regimiento
y una joven que valiente los seguía
locamente enamorada del sargento.Popular entre la tropa era Adelita
la mujer que el sargento idolatraba
y además de ser valiente era bonita
que hasta el mismo Coronel la respetaba.Y se oía, que decía, aquel que tanto la quería:Y si Adelita se fuera con otro
la seguiría por tierra y por mar
si por mar en un buque de guerra
si por tierra en un tren militar.Y si Adelita quisiera ser mi novia
y si Adelita fuera mi mujer
le compraría un vestido de seda
para llevarla a bailar al cuartel. 
At the top of a steep mountainous range
a regiment was encamped
along with a young woman that bravely followed them
who was madly in love with the sergeant.Popular among the troop was Adelita
the woman that the sergeant idolized
and besides being brave she was pretty
that even the Colonel respected her.And it was heard, that he, who loved her so much, said:And if Adelita left with another man
I’d follow her by land and sea
if by sea in a war ship
if by land in a military train.And if  Adelita would like to be my girlfriend
If Adelita would be my wife
I’d buy her a silk dress
to take her to the barrack’s dance.

  

Mexican Revolution Facts


Beginning date: The Mexican Revolution war began the 20th of November 1910

 

Ending date: There is controversy regarding the end of the Mexican Revolution. Some sources believe it is marked by the Proclamation o the Mexican Constitution in 1917. Other sources state that it was in 1924 when President Plutarco Elias Calles took office.

 

Objectives-Goal: The initial purpose of the revolutionary movement was to overthrow General Porfirio Diaz who had been in power form more than 30 years.

 

Important Dates

September 15-16, 1910: President Porfirio Diaz presides over the Centennial Celebrations of the Mexican I Independence.

October 5, 1910: Francisco Madero, after fleeing to the United States, proclaims the Plan de San Luis in which he asks all Mexicans to rise against the government of Porfirio Diaz.

November 18, 1910: A date is set for Sunday 10  of November 1910.  The Serdan Brothers along with other Madero followers fight the police in the City of Puebla. This marks the beginning of the armed war.

March 11, 1911: Emiliano Zapata and his force took arms in Villa de Ayala Morelos.

May 25, 1911: President Porfirio Diaz resigns after 30 years in power.

November 6, 1911: President Francisco I Madero took office after winning the elections in October 1911.

February 22, 1913: President Madero was assassinated by orders of  Victoriano Huerta.

March 26, 1913: Following The Plan of Guadalupe, a document drafted on March 23, 1913, by Venustiano Carranza that nullified any claim of legitimacy of Huerta’s government, Carranza, and Alvaro Obregon call to arms against Huerta‘s regime.

September 29, 1913: Franciso Pancho Villa and the Northern Division join the Constitutionalist revolution.

April 3, 1914: After taking the city of Torreon in Coahuila Pancho Villa and the Northern Division are on their way of defeating  President Victoriano Huerta‘s forces.

July 15, 1914: President Victoriano Huerta resigns and leaves the country.

December 6, 1914: Zapata and Villa occupy Mexico City and march with a force of 50 thousand men.

February 5, 1917: The Mexican Constitution is promulgated.

May 1, 1917: Venustiano Carranza assumes the Mexican Presidency.

Commemoration of the Mexican Revolution

On November 20, 2011 Mexico celebrated the Centennial Anniversary of its Revolution. On this date, in the year 1910 the revolutionary war to overthrow the dictator Porfirio Díaz, began.

General Porfirio Díaz had been an important military figure during the wars against the foreign invaders, and had tried to overthrow President Benito Juarez in 1872. Then again, he rebelled against President Lerdo de Tejada in 1876 and won.

Don Porfirio, as he was called, had been in power for more than 30 years (1876-1911).  Under his rule, Mexico had political stability and grew in many areas, creating new industries, railroads, kilometers of railroad tracks as well as the increase of foreign capital. Non-the less, this progress was not translated into the peoples’ well being.

Soon there was political unrest.  The unhappiest sectors of the Mexican society were the peasants and labor workers. To defend these two popular sectors, Ricardo Flores Magón founded the Mexican Liberal Party.

Flores Magón was obviously persecuted by the Porfirist regime, and died in an American prison.    In 1906 the army brutally repressed a strike of miners in the Cananea mine in Sonora.  As you can see,  Díaz did every thing in his power to crush any uprisings.  The Cananea massacre is historically considered the spark that finally ignited Mexico’s Revolution.

Porfirio Díaz wasn’t oblivious to all this pressure, so in 1908 in an interview given to an American journalist, James Creelman, he stated:

ozco, Francisco Villa in the northern states, and Emiliano Zapata in the south.

New elections took place in 1911, and Madero was elected President of Mexico.  Unfortunately, peace was not to come to this country for a while.

Several Revolutionary leaders couldn’t settle their differences. Madero wanted to work steadily and patiently towards bettering the economic and social situation.    But many revolutionary commanders wanted immediate change, which was impossible to accomplish.   Pascual Orozco, for example, led and lost a revolt against Madero.

Three Porfirist generals also attacked President Madero, who in turn, appointed Victoriano Huerta to repress the offensive.  A fatal decision…. In time history would prove that Victoriano Huerta was the utmost traitor of the Revolution.  Francisco I. Madero was captured and assassinated by Huerta’s accomplices.  The vice-president and a brother of Madero were also killed.