Benito Juarez was a Mexican lawyer and politician. He served as the 26th president of Mexico from 1858 to 1872, becoming the first president of Mexico who was of indigenous origin. He died of a heart attack in 1872. To date, he is revered as "a preeminent symbol of Mexican nationalism and resistance to foreign intervention."
Stephen Austin, also known as the Father of Texas, was born to a lead-mining businessman in Missouri who later bought a piece of land from the Mexican government. Austin developed the land and mediated between American and Mexican people for control over it, eventually leading to the Texas Revolution.
Lázaro Cárdenas had a difficult childhood and supported his family doing odd jobs after his father’s death. He rose to be the president of Mexico and was known for his efforts to implement the objectives of the Mexican Revolution, such as nationalization of industries and making loans available to farmers.
Apart from being the president of Mexico, Francisco I. Madero was also a social reformist. Born into an affluent landowning family, Madero grew up to challenge the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz and was one of the initiators of the Mexican Revolution. He was assassinated in a right-wing coup.
Venustiano Carranza was one of the most important leaders of the Mexican Revolution, which transformed the Mexican government and culture. A powerful and influential person, Carranza served as the head of state for two years before serving as the 44th president of Mexico from 1916 to 1920.
Initially the CEO of Coca-Cola Mexico, Vicente Fox increased the sales of the soft drink in Mexico by 50%. He later focused on politics, joining the National Action Party and leading the country as its president. He has a rare condition called polydactyly, meaning he has 6 toes in both feet.
Mexican politician Enrique Peña Nieto served as the 64th President of Mexico from 2012 to 2018. He was previously the Governor of the State of Mexico. He joined politics in the mid-1980s as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). He was a controversial president and his tenure saw a rise in drug trade and corruption.
Porfirio Díaz was a Mexican politician and general. He served as president of Mexico for 31 years, which included seven terms between 1876 and 1911. The entire period of his presidency is referred to as the Porfiriato. His life inspired the 1944 Mexican historical film, Porfirio Díaz. Over the years, he has also been depicted in other films like Juarez.
Antonio López de Santa Anna was a Mexican general and politician. His significant contribution in post-independence Mexican politics during the first half of the 19th century has led historians to refer to this period as the Age of Santa Anna. Santa Anna was played by Joaquim de Almeida in a deleted scene in the 1998 film The Mask of Zorro.
Economist Carlos Salinas de Gortari boasts of a PhD from Harvard. The former Mexican president is known for opening up his country to foreign investments. Riddled with controversies and corruption scandals, he stepped down and went into exile later. He is considered one of the most-hated Mexican leaders ever.
The son of politician Luis Calderón Vega, who co-founded the National Action Party, or PAN, Felipe Calderón campaigned for the party even in his early days. He later led Mexico as its president. In 2018, he formed his own party, México Libre, its registration was rejected for lack of transparency regarding its funding.
Remembered for modernizing the revolutionary forces of Mexico, military leader Plutarco Elías Calles later served his country as its president. Initially a schoolteacher, he later joined Madero’s campaign against dictator Porfirio Diaz. He also established the National Revolutionary Party and was a supporter of social justice and labor rights.
One of the most talked-about guerrilla leaders since Che Guevara, Subcomandante Marcos led the Zapatista National Liberation Army. An excellent student in his youth, he briefly taught and later moved to the Chiapas, where he led a rebellion in support of the indigenous people. He is also a talented poet and author.
Mexican politician Luis Donaldo Colosio was contesting as a PRI presidential candidate when he was assassinated during a campaign, leading to a media frenzy. While the supposed shooter was eventually convicted, the fact that the multiple shots fired at him came from different directions gave rise to several conspiracy theories.
Ernesto Zedillo is a Mexican politician and economist who served as the 61st President of Mexico from 1994 to 2000. The 71-year streak of uninterrupted Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) rule was broken by the National Action Party when Zedillo lost his presidency. Ernesto Zedillo is currently serving as the director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.
A prominent figure of the Mexican War of Independence, Vicente Guerrero later also served as the president of Mexico. However, he was overthrown within 8 months of presidency. He was later convicted of treason and executed by a firing squad. He remains popular as Mexico’s "greatest man of color."
Born to indigenous parents, in a poverty-stricken family, Victoriano Huerta became one of the few literate people in his community. He later rose through the ranks of the Mexican army, launched a coup against President Francisco Madero, got him executed, and then took over as the new president.
John Sutter, also known as Don Juan Sutter, was a German-born Swiss colonizer who established Sutter's Fort, or modern-day Sacramento, the capital of California. After one of his employees, a carpenter named James W. Marshall, found gold in his area in 1848, the California Gold Rush began.
Mexican author Laura Esquivel soared to fame with her bestselling debut novel, Like Water for Chocolate, which was later made into a critically acclaimed film. She often includes magic realism and science fiction in her works. She has also been part of Mexican politics and represents the Morena Party in the Mexican Congress.
Carlos Hank González was a Mexican politician and businessman who established a business empire of transportation and banking interests. While growing his business, Carlos Hank was able to build political contacts which helped him pursue a career in politics. From 1969 to 1975, Carlos Hank González held the governor's office in the State of Mexico.
Miguel Alemán Valdés was a Mexican politician best remembered for being the first civilian president of the country after a series of revolutionary generals. He served as the 53rd President of Mexico from 1946 to 1952. Miguel Alemán's administration marked the beginning of a period called Mexican Miracle, during which the country witnessed rapid industrialization.
Initially a lawyer, José Vasconcelos later led the National University of Mexico as its rector and also served as the Mexican minister of public education. Known for his belief in aesthetic monism, he soared to fame with his 5-part memoir, Ulises Criollo, which offered a mirror of the 20th-century Mexican society.
Adolfo de la Huerta was a Mexican politician who served as the 45th President of Mexico from June to November 1920. He also played an important role during the Mexican Revolution and is regarded as a prominent figure among Constitutionalists during the armed regional conflicts in Mexico. He also served as the third Governor of Sonora from 1919 to 1923.
A qualified lawyer, Emilio Portes Gil had not just been the Attorney General of Mexico but had also served as the provisional president of Mexico, in place of the assassinated president-elect Álvaro Obregón. He had also been the president of Mexico’s National Revolutionary Party and Mexico’s first League of Nations representative.
One of the most well-known Mexican anarchists, Ricardo Flores Magón initially studied law but soon got involved in student politics and was imprisoned multiple times. He also edited the anarchist newspaper Regeneración. One of the initiators of the Mexican Revolution, he later fled to the US, where he formed the Mexican Liberal Party.
Manuel González Flores was a Mexican military general turned politician who served as the 35th President of Mexico from 1880 to 1884. Prior to joining politics, he played significant roles in the Mexican–American War and the Reform War, as an army man. His tenure as the president saw major diplomatic and domestic achievements.
In spite of growing up as a poor orphan, who aspired to be a priest, Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada ended up completing a law degree and became a professor. He later stepped into politics and, as a Liberal leader, led Mexico as its 31st president.