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By Christopher Minster

Francisco Villa

Pancho Villa was probably the best-known of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. Still, most people don't know some of the more interesting parts of his history. Here are some fun facts about Pancho Villa.

Pancho Villa wasn't his real name.

His real name was Doroteo Arango. According to legend, he changed his name after murdering a bandit who was raping his sister. He joined a gang of highwaymen after the incident and adopted the name Pancho Villa after his grandfather.

Pancho Villa was a very skilled horseman.

His real name was Doroteo Arango. According to legend, he changed his name after murdering a bandit who was raping his sister. He joined a gang of highwaymen after the incident and adopted the name Pancho Villa after his grandfather.

Pancho Villa did not drink alcohol.

It’s at odds with his macho-man image, but Pancho Villa never drank. During the revolution, he allowed his men to drink, but he himself never did until late in his life after his 1920 peace with Alvaro Obregon.

Pancho Villa never wanted to be president of Mexico.

In spite of a famous photo of him taken in the presidential chair, Villa had no ambitions to be President of Mexico. He wanted the revolution to triumph in order to unseat Dictator Porfirio Diaz and he was a big supporter of Francisco Madero. After Madero's death, Villa never wholeheartedly supported any other presidential candidates. He hoped someone acceptable would come along so that he, Villa, could serve as a high-ranking military officer.

Pancho Villa was a good politician.

In spite of the fact that he had no high ambitions, Villa proved while Governor of Chihuahua in 1913-1914 that he had a knack for public administration. He sent his men to help harvest crops, ordered the repair of railways and telegraph lines and imposed a ruthless code of law and order which even applied to his own troops.

Pancho Villa never wanted to be president of Mexico.

Kahlo and Rivera’s time in New York City in 1933 was surrounded by controversy. Commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller, Rivera created a mural entitled Man at the Crossroads in the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller halted the work on the project after Rivera included a portrait of communist leader Vladimir Lenin in the mural, which was later painted over. Months after this incident, the couple returned to Mexico and went to live in San Angel, Mexico.

Pancho Villa's right-hand man was a psychotic killer.

Villa wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and personally killed many men on the battlefield and off of it. There were some jobs, however, that even he found too repulsive to do. Fortunately he had Rodolfo Fierro, a sociopathic hit man who was fanatically loyal and absolutely fearless. According to legend, Fierro once shot a man dead just to see if he would fall forward or backward. The loss of Fierro on campaign in 1915 was a huge blow to Villa.

The Revolution made Pancho Villa a very wealthy man.

Picking up a rifle and joining a revolution isn’t what most people consider a wise career move, but the fact remains that the revolution made Villa rich. A penniless bandit in 1910, when he “retired” from the constant warfare of the revolution in 1920 he had a large ranch with livestock, a pension and even land and money for his men.

Pancho Villa’s death remains a bit of a mystery.

In 1923, Villa was coldly gunned down as he drove through the town of Parral. Although most historians blame Alvaro Obregon for the act, there is still a bit of mystery surrounding his murder.

Taken from the article Ten Facts About Pancho Villa written by Christopher Minster appeared on the Web site www.thoughtco.com

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