Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Mexican Revolution: A Short History, 1910-1920

One hundred years ago, Mexico was engulfed in war and revolution -- La Revolución mexicana. Rattled U.S. policymakers were making ham-fisted attempts at controlling events; they ultimately made a truce with the results once the dust settled, but only then. Between 1910 and 1920, roughly one and a half million people died as a result of the fighting and its disruptions (possibly more). 

Why should people in or from Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos or the United States of America care about what was and is going on in the other country? The reasons are many, not least of which is trade. As of around 2014, 71% of Mexico's exports  go to the USA (Canada and China are next down the line). Conversely, 51% of Mexico's imports come from the USA (China and Japan follow). From the perspective of the USA, Mexico is number 2 in percentage of exports (sandwiched between Canada and China) and number 3 in percentage of imports (after China and Canada). With trade goes a history, and with history goes demographic shifts. So it's like, doh, man: ¡Ou!  
A concise yet insightful place to look for clues of the interconnections between Mexico and the U.S. is Stuart Easterling's The Mexican Revolution: A Short History, 1910-1920 (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2012). Of the several books I've delved into concerning Mexico and the Mexican Revolution, and even on generally considering Mexico-US relations for the past 150 years, Easterling's has been the most helpful. 
Easterling begins his study by noting that the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 is "still the most significant event in the nation's modern history" (page 1). He then notes the celebratory remembrance of the Revolution inside Mexico -- after all, we are in the midst of its centennial, as well as the bicentennial of Mexico's War of Independence / La Guerra de Independencia de México (1810-1821). "Yet often overlooked in the celebrations of the great leaders of the past -- Madero, Zapata, Villa, Carranza, Obregón -- is the fact that all of them bitterly contested one another on the battlefield, and all of them died by the gun rather than in their beds" (page 2).

As for the rest of the story . . . that's what full-length books are for. Take a peek at The Mexican Revolution: A Short History, 1910-1920 if you dare!

Today's Rune: Signals. Maps: Rαge, Revolución constitucionalista 1913-1914 and Ejércitos rebeldes 1916-1920Wiki Commons.  

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