Venustiano Carranza

"The law is obeyed, but it is not enforced."

—Venustiano Carranza

Stepping back into the turbulent tides of the early 20th century, we spotlight the life and legacy of a pivotal figure in Mexican history: Venustiano Carranza.

Born into the relative tranquility of Cuatro Ciénegas in 1859, he ascended the political ranks to catalyze significant constitutional changes amidst the Mexican Revolution, only to meet a tragic end.

This timeline unravels the trajectory of Venustiano Carranza's life, interweaving his personal evolution with the socio-political tumult of his era.


Venustiano Carranza as a baby
© History Oasis

In a sleepy corner of the state of Coahuila, Mexico, in the small town of Cuatro Ciénegas, a child named Venustiano Carranza Garza is born.

His parents, Jesús Carranza and María de Jesús Garza, are well-off ranchers and businessmen.

They have no idea their son will one day be pivotal in the tides of Mexican history.


Venustiano Carranza as a teen
© History Oasis

At the age of fifteen, Carranza, showing early signs of leadership and ambition, steps into the political landscape by becoming the municipal president of Cuatro Ciénegas.

This local experience serves as a primer for his future political career.


Venustiano Carranza as a senator
© History Oasis

Under the austere desert sun of Coahuila, 1893 sees the beginning of an ascension.

Venustiano Carranza, with his countenance hardened by ambition, now embodies prominence in the provincial political arena. He has taken the reins of power, serving not just the humble township of Cuatro Ciénegas, but the whole region.

June 6, 1893 — The Mantle of Senatorship

Carranza's growing reputation as a stern and pragmatic leader became his gateway to the Coahuilan senate.

His uncompromising stance, combined with his charismatic personality, proves to be a potent formula for leadership.

He assumes his senatorial duties, marking a significant milestone in his journey from local leader to national figure.

1893-1908 — An Era of Learning

This period of Carranza's life is marked by a steep learning curve.

His senatorial tenure under the iron fist rule of Porfirio Díaz gives him a first-hand look at the political machinery of Mexico.

He rubs shoulders with influential figures like Bernardo Reyes and Ramón Corral, both of whom would be key figures in the forthcoming political tides.

1909 — The Winds of Change

Carranza's disillusionment with the Díaz regime gradually takes root.

Observing the increasing political unrest and discontent among the populace, he begins to contemplate the need for change.

The stage is set for the tumultuous era that is soon to engulf Mexico and thrust Carranza into the heart of the national consciousness.


Mexican Revolution
© History Oasis

In the year 1910, a thunderous voice arises from the discontent of the Mexican people.

Francisco I. Madero, a man driven by the pursuit of social justice and democracy, stands tall against the oppressive reign of dictator Porfirio Díaz.

His cry for revolution resonates across the country, reaching the ears and stirring the heart of Venustiano Carranza.

November 20, 1910 — The Revolution Commences

Under Madero's impassioned leadership, the Mexican Revolution erupts, searing the landscape of the nation.

Carranza, no longer the quiet observer, aligns himself with Madero's cause.

This alliance cements his commitment to the revolutionary struggle, and marks a pivotal shift in his political trajectory.

1911 — A Union of Revolutionaries

Carranza's alignment with Madero brings him into association with other key revolutionaries.

Notable figures such as Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, and Pascual Orozco join forces in this collective struggle against Diaz's regime.

Their united front serves to amplify the call for change and marks the beginning of a new era of political upheaval in Mexico.

May 21, 1911 — The Fall of a Dictator

The pressure of the revolution forces Porfirio Díaz to resign, signaling a victory for Madero and his allies.

Carranza, having chosen the side of the revolution, is part of this triumph.

However, the victory is fleeting, and the political landscape of Mexico remains as volatile as ever.

This period of upheaval sets the stage for the challenging trials and tribulations Carranza is yet to face.


Ten Tragic Days
© History Oasis

In the ten chilling days of February, Mexico City descends into chaos.

An uprising, fueled by the ambitions of General Victoriano Huerta, engulfs the city. It culminates in a brutal coup, which brings an abrupt end to Francisco Madero's presidency and life.

The tragedy of these ten days plunges Mexico into a profound crisis, leaving the survivors and spectators aghast.

February 19, 1913 — A Leader is Lost

Madero's fall is a shock that resonates across the nation.

His vision of a democratic Mexico is abruptly extinguished, leaving the revolutionaries bereft of their leader.

Carranza, a comrade-in-arms and ally, is left to contend with the betrayal and the brutal usurpation of power by General Huerta.

March 26, 1913 — The Birth of the Constitutional Army

In the wake of Madero's assassination, Carranza steps into the void left by the fallen leader.

Disgusted by Huerta's betrayal and driven by his steadfast belief in constitutional governance, he establishes the Constitutional Army.

This army, composed of disparate revolutionary forces united under the banner of constitutionality, serves as a beacon of resistance against Huerta's illegitimate rule.

1913-1914 — The Battle against Usurpation

Carranza's Constitutional Army wages war against Huerta, with key figures like Álvaro Obregón, Pancho Villa, and Emiliano Zapata bolstering its ranks.

This period, fraught with battles and struggles, tests Carranza's leadership and resolve.

Amidst the turmoil, he stays committed to his cause: restoring constitutional order to a nation thrown into chaos by the ambitions of a usurper.


Mexican Constitutional convention
© History Oasis

At Carranza's behest, a convention is called to draft a new constitution.

The delegates assembled represent a variety of political and social ideologies, reflecting the broad scope of the Mexican Revolution.

In the chilly winter of Querétaro, they set about drafting a document that encapsulates the spirit of their tumultuous era.

February 5, 1917 — The Crafting of a Nation's Blueprint

For over a month, the constitutional convention grapples with issues pivotal to the Mexican society.

Land reform, education, and labor rights take center stage, echoing the revolutionary cries for justice and equality that have rung out across the country.

The constitution, through its crafting, becomes the crucible in which the revolutionary spirit is distilled into the foundation of law.

March 11, 1917 — The Dawn of a New Era

Under the watchful eye of Carranza, the newly minted constitution is ratified and adopted.

It is more than a mere legal document—it is a testament to the revolutionary spirit, an expression of the Mexican people's aspirations for a fair and equitable society.

The day marks a momentous victory for the people of Mexico, bringing a sense of direction to the stormy seas of revolution.

March 11, 1917 onwards — The Test of Time

The implementation of the new constitution proves to be a significant challenge.

While it enshrines revolutionary ideals, the actual enforcement is fraught with complexities. Carranza, the architect of this new legal framework, must now grapple with these challenges, balancing his own political ambitions with the responsibilities his position demands.


Venustiano Carranza as president of Mexico
© History Oasis

Following his triumph over Huerta and the ratification of the new constitution, Carranza ascends to the pinnacle of power.

In the heart of the Presidential Palace, he takes the oath of office, thus officially assuming the mantle of the President of Mexico.

His journey from a local leader to the head of the nation has been marked by strife and struggle, but it is this very journey that has steeled him for the challenges to come.

1917-1919 — A Season of Strife

Carranza's presidency, rather than being a time of triumphant peace, is fraught with conflicts and opposition.

His aggressive approach to enforcing the new constitution, coupled with his perceived favoritism towards the middle and upper classes, sparks resentment among the populace.

Key revolutionaries such as Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, once allies, emerge as prominent opposition figures. The simmering tension is a constant reminder of the revolutionary fervor that still engulfs the nation.

1919 — A Leadership Under Fire

Zapata's assassination in April 1919, allegedly under Carranza's orders, sends shockwaves through Mexico.

The event deepens the chasm between Carranza and the revolutionary factions, with his leadership increasingly being called into question.

As 1919 gives way to 1920, the tenuous hold Carranza has on his presidency is continually threatened, and the drumbeats of rebellion grow ever louder.

December 1, 1919 — Two Years in Power

As Carranza marks his second year in power, the atmosphere is thick with dissatisfaction and dissent.

The promise of the revolution seems distant, and the leader once seen as a symbol of change now appears to many as another autocrat. The stage is set for a further escalation of conflicts and opposition against Carranza's presidency.


grave of Venustiano Carranza
© History Oasis

The year 1920 dawns heavy with uncertainty for Carranza.

His presidency is marked by controversial decisions and an autocratic approach, leading to escalating opposition.

His former allies, men who once stood shoulder-to-shoulder with him in the fight against Huerta, begin to distance themselves.

The fractures within his support base grow deeper and more perilous.

April 23, 1920 — The Rebellion of Agua Prieta

The simmering tensions finally boil over in the form of the Plan of Agua Prieta, a declaration against Carranza's rule.

Led by Álvaro Obregón and Plutarco Elías Calles, the rebellion gains rapid support.

Carranza, once a symbol of revolution, now finds himself on the wrong side of a new uprising.

May 7, 1920 — The Fall of a President

As the rebellion gains momentum, Carranza is forced to flee Mexico City.

His rule crumbles in the face of the determined opposition, and his former allies watch as his presidency unravels.

The man who once led the charge against a dictator is now himself ousted from power.

May 21, 1920 — The Final Betrayal

final moments of Venustiano Carranza
© History Oasis

In the early morning hours in Tlaxcalantongo, Puebla, a tragic end befalls Carranza.

The former president, having been betrayed and ousted by his former comrades, is assassinated.

His death marks the end of a tumultuous journey from a local leader to the President of Mexico, forever etching his name into the annals of the nation's history.

Venustiano Carranza, a child from a humble town, an ambitious political leader, a pivotal figure of the Mexican Revolution, and a controversial President, leaves behind a legacy as complex and tumultuous as the era in which he lived.

His life serves as a stark reminder of the challenges and costs of revolution.