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Alvaro Obregon
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World Leader
    (February 19, 1880-July 17, 1928)
    Born in Siquisiva, Sonora, Mexico
    Led forces from the state of Sonora in the Mexican Revolution (1912-15)
    Defeated forces of Pancho Villa in the Battle of Celaya (April 6-June 5, 1915)
    Minister of War (1915-16)
    President of Mexico (1920-24)
    After capturing Mexico City (August 18, 1914), he punished supporters of the regime of Victoriano Huerta, including forcing foreign businessmen to sweep the streets, fining the Catholic Church 500,000 pesos, and forcing the rich to pay new taxes on real estate, mortgages, automobiles, the water and sewer system, and whatever else he could think of.
    After his arm was blown off in battle, he attempted to finish himself off, but discovered that the aide de camp who had cleaned his gun had forgotten to load it with bullets.
    He was appointed Minister of War by President Venustiano Carranza, but later led a revolt against him.
    He was accused of selling out Mexico to the United States after he agreed to not expropriate the property of foreign oil companies in return for American diplomatic recognition of his government (1923).
    When he was unable to run for a second term, he hand-picked a successor who served as his puppet.
    His family had been wealthy landowners, but his father's business partner had supported Emperor Maximilian, resulting in their estate being seized by the government of Benito Juarez.
    As a farmer, he invented a chickpea harvester, then founded a company to manufacture them.
    His wife and two of his children died in a single year (1907).
    He was nearly killed and lost his right arm in the Battle of Celaya.
    He provided Mexico with its first stable government in a decade.
    He oversaw massive educational reforms, including the building of over 1,000 rural schools and 2,000 public libraries.
    After the Constitution was amended to allow him to run for another term, he won reelection (July 1, 1928), but was assassinated before taking office.

Credit: C. Fishel


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