|Birth Day:||September 15, 1830|
|Death Date:||Jul 2, 1915 (age 84)|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Porfirio Diaz died on Jul 2, 1915 (age 84).
He initially trained as a priest; however, following his involvement as a volunteer in the Mexican American War, he decided to pursue a military career instead. He later studied law at the Instituto de Ciencias.
Porfirio Díaz was the sixth of seven children, baptized on 15 September 1830, in Oaxaca, Mexico, but his actual date of birth is unknown. 15 September is an important date in Mexican history, the eve of the day when hero of independence Miguel Hidalgo issued his call for independence in 1810; when Díaz became president, the independence anniversary was commemorated on 15 September rather than on the 16th, a practice that continues to the present era. Díaz was a castizo. Díaz's father, José Díaz, was a Criollo (a Mexican of predominantly Spanish ancestry). His mother, Petrona Mori (or Mory), was a Mestizo woman, daughter of a man of Spanish background and an indigenous woman named Tecla Cortés; There is confusion about Jose Diaz's full name, which is listed on the baptismal certificate as José de la Cruz Díaz; he was also known as José Faustino Díaz, and was a modest innkeeper who died of cholera when his son was three.
Despite the family's difficult economic circumstances following Díaz's father's death in 1833, Díaz was sent to school at the age of 6. In the early independence period, the choice of professions was narrow: lawyer, priest, physician, military. The Díaz family was devoutly religious, and Díaz began training for the priesthood at the age of fifteen when his mother, María Petrona Mori Cortés, sent him to the Colegio Seminario Conciliar de Oaxaca. He was offered a post as a priest in 1846, but national events intervened. Díaz joined with seminary students who volunteered as soldiers to repel the U.S. invasion during the Mexican–American War, and, despite not seeing action, decided his future was in the military, not the priesthood. Also in 1846, Díaz came into contact with a leading Oaxaca liberal, Marcos Pérez, who taught at the secular Institute of Arts and Sciences in Oaxaca. That same year, Díaz met Benito Juárez, who became governor of Oaxaca in 1847, a former student there. In 1849, over the objections of his family, Díaz abandoned his ecclesiastical career and entered the Instituto de Ciencias and studied law. When Antonio López de Santa Anna was returned to power by a coup d'état in 1853, he suspended the 1824 constitution and began persecuting liberals. At this point, Díaz had already aligned himself with radical liberals (rojos), such as Benito Juárez. Juárez was forced into exile in New Orleans; Díaz supported the liberal Plan de Ayutla that called for the ouster of Santa Anna. Díaz evaded an arrest warrant and fled to the mountains of northern Oaxaca, where he joined the rebellion of Juan Álvarez. In 1855, Díaz joined a band of liberal guerrillas who were fighting Santa Anna's government. After the ousting and exile of Santa Anna, Díaz was rewarded with a post in Ixtlán, Oaxaca, that gave him valuable practical experience as an administrator.
However, powerful liberals implemented legal measures to curtail the power of the Church. The Juárez Law abolished special privileges (fueros) of ecclesiastics and the military, and the Lerdo law mandated disentailment of the property of corporations, specifically the Church and indigenous communities. The liberal constitution of 1857 removed the privileged position of the Catholic Church and opened the way to religious toleration, considering religious expression as freedom of speech. However, Catholic priests were ineligible for elective office, but could vote. Conservatives fought back in the War of the Reform, under the banner of religión y fueros (that is, Catholicism and special privileges of corporate groups), but they were defeated in 1861.
In 1863, Díaz was captured by the French Army. He escaped and President Benito Juárez offered him the positions of secretary of defense or army commander in chief. He declined both, but took an appointment as commander of the Central Army. That same year, he was promoted to the position of Division General.
In 1864, the conservatives supporting Emperor Maximilian asked him to join the Imperial cause. Díaz declined the offer. In 1865, he was captured by the Imperial forces in Oaxaca. He escaped and fought the battles of Tehuitzingo, Piaxtla, Tulcingo and Comitlipa.
During 1883–1894, laws were passed to give fewer and fewer people large amounts of land, which was taken away from people by bribing local judges to declare it vacant or unoccupied (terrenos baldíos). A friend of Díaz obtained 12 million acres of land in Baja California by bribing local judges. Those who opposed were killed or captured and sold as slaves to plantations. The manufacture of cheap alcohol increased prompting the number of bars in Mexico City to rise from 51 in 1864 to 1,400 in 1900. This caused the rate of death from alcoholism and alcohol related accidents to rise to levels higher than anywhere else in the world.
In 1866, Díaz formally declared loyalty. That same year, he earned victories in Nochixtlán, Miahuatlán, and La Carbonera, and once again captured Oaxaca destroying most French gains in the south of the country. He was then promoted to general. Also in 1866, Marshal Bazaine, commander of the Imperial forces, offered to surrender Mexico City to Díaz if he withdrew support of Juárez. Díaz declined the offer. In 1867, Emperor Maximilian offered Díaz the command of the army and the imperial rendition to the liberal cause. Díaz refused both. Finally, on 2 April 1867, he went on to win the final battle for Puebla. By the end of the war, he was hailed as a national hero.
Following the fall of the Second Empire in 1867, liberal presidents Benito Juárez and his successor Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada began implementing the anti-clerical measures of the constitution. Lerdo went further, extending the laws of the Reform to formalize: separation of Church and State; civil marriage as the only valid manner for State recognition; prohibitions of religious corporations to acquire real estate; elimination from legal oaths any religious element, but only a declaration to tell the truth; and the elimination of monastic vows as legally binding. Further prohibitions on the Church in 1874 included: the exclusion of religion in public institutions; restriction of religious acts to church precincts; banning of religious garb in public except within churches; and prohibition of the ringing of church bells except to summon parishioners.
When Juárez became the president of Mexico in 1868 and began to restore peace, Díaz resigned his military command and went home to Oaxaca. However, it was not long before Díaz was openly opposed to the Juárez administration, since Juárez held onto the presidency. As a Liberal military hero, Díaz had ambitions for national political power. He challenged the civilian Juárez, who was running for what Díaz considered an illegal subsequent term as president. In 1870, Díaz ran against President Juárez and Vice President Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada. The following year, Díaz made claims of fraud in the July elections won by Juárez, who was confirmed as president by the Congress in October. In response, Díaz launched the Plan de la Noria on 8 November 1871, supported by a number of rebellions across the nation, including one by General Manuel González of Tamaulipas, but this rebellion failed. In March 1872, Díaz's forces were defeated in the battle of La Bufa in Zacatecas.
Although the new election gave some air of legitimacy to Diaz's government, the United States did not recognize the regime. It was not clear that Díaz would continue to prevail against supporters of ousted President Lerdo, who continued to challenge Díaz's regime by insurrections, which ultimately failed. In addition, cross-border Apache attacks with raids on one side and sanctuary on the other was a sticking point. Mexico needed to meet several conditions before the U.S. would consider recognizing Díaz's government, including payment of a debt to the U.S. and restraining the cross-border Apache raids. The U.S. emissary to Mexico, John W. Foster, had the duty to protect the interests of the U.S. first and foremost. Lerdo's government had entered into negotiations with the U.S. over claims that each had against the other in previous conflicts. A joint U.S.-Mexico Claims Commission was established in 1868, in the wake of the fall of the French Empire. When Díaz seized power from Lerdo's government, he inherited Lerdo's negotiated settlement with the U.S. As Mexican historian Daniel Cosío Villegas put it, "He Who Wins Pays." Díaz secured recognition by paying $300,000 to settle claims by the U.S. In 1878, the U.S. government recognized the Díaz regime and former U.S. president and Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant visited Mexico.
In Díaz's personal life, it is clear that religion still mattered and that fierce anti-clericalism could have a high price. In 1870, his brother Félix, a fellow liberal, who was then governor of Oaxaca, had rigorously applied the anti-clerical laws of the Reform. In the rebellious and supposedly idolatrous town of Juchitán in Tehuantepec, Félix Díaz had "roped the image of the patron saint of Juchitán … to his horse and dragged it away, returning the saint days later with its feet cut off". When Félix had to flee Oaxaca City in 1871 following Porfirio's failed coup against Juárez, Félix ended up in Juchitán, where the villagers killed him, doing to his body even worse than he did to their saint. Having lost a brother to the fury of religious peasants, Díaz had a cautionary tale about the dangers of enforcing anti-clericalism. Even so, it is clear that Díaz wanted to remain in good standing with the Church.
Following the death of Juárez of natural causes on 9 July 1872, Lerdo became president. With Juárez's death, Díaz's principle of no re-election could not be used to oppose Lerdo, a civilian like Juárez. Lerdo offered amnesty to the rebels, which Díaz accepted and "retired" to the Hacienda de la Candelaria in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, rather than his home state of Oaxaca. In 1874, Díaz was elected to Congress from Veracruz. Opposition to Lerdo grew, particularly as his militant anti-clericalism increased, labor unrest grew, and a major rebellion of the Yaqui in northwest Mexico under the leadership of Cajemé challenged central government rule there. Díaz saw an opportunity to plot a more successful rebellion, leaving Mexico in 1875 for New Orleans and Brownsville, Texas, with his political ally, fellow general Manuel González. Although Lerdo offered Díaz an ambassadorship in Europe, a way to remove him from the Mexican political scene, Díaz refused. With Lerdo running for a term of his own, Díaz could again invoke the principle of no re-election as a reason to revolt.
Diaz launched his rebellion in Ojitlan, Oaxaca, on 10 January 1876 under the Plan of Tuxtepec, which initially failed. Díaz fled to the United States. Lerdo was re-elected in July 1876 and his constitutional government was recognized by the United States. Díaz returned to Mexico and fought the Battle of Tecoac, where he defeated Lerdo's forces in what turned out to be the last battle (on 16 November). In November 1876, Díaz occupied Mexico City, and Lerdo left Mexico for exile in New York. Díaz did not take formal control of the presidency until the beginning of 1877, putting in General Juan N. Méndez as provisional president, followed by new presidential elections in 1877 that gave Díaz the presidency. Ironically, one of his government's first amendments to the liberal 1857 constitution was to prevent re-election.
To secure his power, Díaz engaged in various forms of co-optation and coercion. He constantly balanced between the private desires of different interest groups and playing off one interest against another. Following the González presidency, Díaz abandoned favoring his own political group (camarilla) that brought him to power in 1876 in the Plan of Tuxtepec and selected ministers and other high officials from other factions. Those included those loyal to Juárez (Matías Romero) and Lerdo (Manuel Romero Rubio). (Manuel Dublán) was one of the few loyalists from the Plan of Tuxtepec that Diaz retained as a cabinet minister. As money flowed to the Mexican treasury from foreign investments, Díaz could buy off his loyalists from Tuxtepec. An important group supporting the regime were foreign investors, especially from the U.S. and Great Britain, as well as Germany and France. Díaz himself met with investors, binding him with this group in a personal rather than institutional fashion. The close cooperation between these foreign elements and the Díaz regime was a key nationalist issue in the Mexican Revolution.
Díaz was a political pragmatist and not an ideologue, likely seeing that the religious question re-opened political discord in Mexico. When he rebelled against Lerdo, Díaz had at least the tacit and perhaps even the explicit support of the Church. When he came to power in 1877, Díaz left the anti-clerical laws in place, but no longer enforced them as state policy, leaving that to individual Mexican states. This led to the re-emergence of the Church in many areas, but in others a less full role. The Church flouted the Reform prohibitions against wearing clerical garb, there were open-air processions and Masses, and religious orders existed. The Church also recovered its property, sometimes through intermediaries, and tithes were again collected. The Church regained its role in education, with the complicity of the Díaz regime which did not put money into public education. The Church also regained its role in running charitable institutions. Despite the increasingly visible role of the Catholic Church during the Porfiriato, the Vatican was unsuccessful in getting the reinstatement of a formal relationship between the papacy and Mexico, and the constitutional limitations of the Church as an institution remained the law of the land.
Díaz remarried in 1881, to Carmen Romero Rubio, the pious 17-year-old daughter of his most important advisor, Manuel Romero Rubio. Oaxaca cleric Father Eulogio Gillow y Zavala gave his blessing. Gillow was later appointed archbishop of Oaxaca. Doña Carmen is credited with bringing Díaz into closer reconciliation with the Church, but Díaz was already inclined in that direction. The marriage produced no children, but Díaz's surviving children lived with the couple until adulthood.
In 1898, the Díaz regime faced a number of important issues, with the death of Matías Romero, Díaz's long-time political adviser who had made great efforts to strengthen Mexico's ties with the U.S. since the Juárez regime, and a major shift in U.S. foreign policy toward imperialism with its success in the Spanish–American War. Romero's death created new dynamics amongst the three political groups that Díaz both relied upon and manipulated. Romero's faction had strongly supported U.S. investment in Mexico, and was largely pro-American, but with Romero's death his faction declined in power. The other two factions were José Yves Limantour's Científicos and Bernardo Reyes's followers, the Reyistas. Limantour pursued a policy of offsetting U.S. influence by favoring European investment, especially British banking houses and entrepreneurs, such as Weetman Pearson. U.S. investment in Mexico remained robust, even grew, but the economic climate was more hostile to their interests and their support for the regime declined.
On 17 February 1908, in an interview with the U.S. journalist James Creelman of Pearson's Magazine, Díaz stated that Mexico was ready for democracy and elections and that he would retire and allow other candidates to compete for the presidency. Without hesitation, several opposition and pro-government groups united to find suitable candidates who would represent them in the upcoming presidential elections. Many liberals formed clubs supporting Bernardo Reyes, then the governor of Nuevo León, as a candidate. Despite the fact that Reyes never formally announced his candidacy, Díaz continued to perceive him as a threat and sent him on a mission to Europe, so that he was not in the country for the elections.
In 1909, Díaz and William Howard Taft, the then president of the United States, planned a summit in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, a historic first meeting between a U.S. president and a Mexican president and also the first time an American president would cross the border into Mexico. Díaz requested the meeting to show U.S. support for his planned seventh run as president, and Taft agreed to protect the several billion dollars of American capital then invested in Mexico. After nearly 30 years with Díaz in power, U.S. businesses controlled "nearly 90 percent of Mexico's mineral resources, its national railroad, its oil industry and, increasingly, its land." Both sides agreed that the disputed Chamizal strip connecting El Paso to Ciudad Juárez would be considered neutral territory with no flags present during the summit, but the meeting focused attention on this territory and resulted in assassination threats and other serious security concerns. The Texas Rangers, 4,000 U.S. and Mexican troops, U.S. Secret Service agents, FBI agents and U.S. marshals were all called in to provide security. An additional 250-man private security detail led by Frederick Russell Burnham, the celebrated scout, were hired by John Hays Hammond, a close friend of Taft from Yale and a former candidate for U.S. vice president in 1908 who, along with his business partner Burnham, held considerable mining interests in Mexico. On 16 October, the day of the summit, Burnham and Private C.R. Moore, a Texas Ranger, discovered a man holding a concealed palm pistol standing at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce building along the procession route. Burnham and Moore captured and disarmed the assassin within only a few feet of Díaz and Taft.
President González was making room in his government for political networks not originally part of Díaz's coalition, some of whom had been loyalists to Lerdo, including Evaristo Madero, whose grandson Francisco would challenge Díaz for the presidency in 1910. Important legislation changing rights to land and subsoil rights, and to encourage immigration and colonization by U.S. nations was passed during the González presidency. The administration also extended lucrative railway concessions to U.S. investors. Despite those developments, the González administration met financial and political difficulties, with the later period bringing the government to bankruptcy and popular opposition. Díaz's father-in-law Manuel Romero Rubio linked these issues to personal corruption by González. Despite Díaz's previous protestations of "no re-election", he ran for a second term in the 1884 elections.
Although there was factionalism in the ruling group and in some regions, Díaz suppressed the formation of opposition parties. Díaz dissolved all local authorities and all aspects of federalism that once existed. Not long after he became president, the governors of all federal states in Mexico answered directly to him. Those who held high positions of power, such as members of the legislature, were almost entirely his closest and most loyal friends. Congress was a rubber stamp for his policy plans and they were compliant in amending the 1857 constitution to allow his re-election and extension of the presidential term. In his quest for even more political control, Díaz suppressed the press and controlled the court system.Díaz could intervene in political matters that threatened political stability, such as in the conflict in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, placing José María Garza Galan in the governorship, undercutting wealthy estate owner Evaristo Madero, grandfather of Francisco I. Madero, who would challenge Díaz in the 1910 election. In another case, Díaz placed General Bernardo Reyes in the governorship of the state of Nuevo León, displacing existing political elites, but they made do, becoming wealthy during the Porfiriato.
This modus vivendi between Díaz and the Church had pragmatic and positive consequences. Díaz did not publicly renounce liberal anti-clericalism, meaning that the Constitution of 1857 remained in place, but he did not enforce its anti-clerical measures. Conflict could reignite, but it was to the advantage of both Church and the Díaz government for this arrangement to continue. If the Church did counter Díaz, he had the constitutional means to rein in its power. The Church regained considerable economic power, with conservative intermediaries holding lands for it. The Church remained important in education and charitable institutions. Other important symbols of the normalization of religion in late 19th century Mexico included: the return of the Jesuits (expelled by the Bourbon monarchy in 1767); the crowning of the Virgin of Guadalupe as "Queen of Mexico"; and the support of Mexican bishops for Díaz's work as peacemaker. Not surprisingly, when the Mexican Revolution broke out in 1910, the Catholic Church was a staunch supporter of the Díaz regime.
The year 1910 was important in Mexico's history—the centennial of the revolt by Father Miguel Hidalgo that liberals saw as the start of the movement for Mexico's independence. Although Hidalgo was caught and executed in 1811 and it took nearly a decade of fighting to achieve independence, it was former royalist military officer Agustín de Iturbide who made the break with Spain in 1821. On the cover of the official program for the centennial, three figures are shown: Hidalgo, father of independence; Benito Juárez, with the label "Lex" (law); and Porfirio Díaz, with the label "Pax" (peace). Also on the cover are the emblem of Mexico and the cap of liberty. Díaz inaugurated the monument to Independence with its golden angel during the September centennial celebrations. Although Díaz and Juárez had been political rivals after the French Intervention, Díaz had done much to promote the legacy of his dead rival and had a large monument to Juárez built by the Alameda Park, which Díaz inaugurated during the centennial. A work published in 1910 details the day-by-day events of the September festivities.
The election went ahead. Madero had gathered much popular support, but when the government announced the official results, Díaz was proclaimed to have been re-elected almost unanimously, with Madero said to have attained a minuscule number of votes. This case of massive electoral fraud aroused widespread anger throughout the Mexican citizenry. Madero called for revolt against Díaz in the Plan of San Luis Potosí, and the violence to oust Díaz is now seen as the first phase of the Mexican Revolution. Díaz was forced to resign from office on 25 May 1911 and left the country for Spain six days later, on 31 May 1911.
Díaz kept his brother's son Félix Díaz away from political or military power. He did, however, allow his nephew to enrich himself. It was only after Díaz went into exile in 1911 that his nephew became prominent in politics, as the embodiment of the old regime. Even so, Díaz's assessment of his nephew proved astute since Félix never successfully led troops or garnered sustained support, and was forced into exile several times.
On 2 July 1915, Díaz died in exile in Paris, France. He is buried there in the Cimetière du Montparnasse. He was survived by his second wife (María del Carmen Romero-Rubio Castelló, 1864–1944) and two of his children with his first wife, (Deodato Lucas Porfirio Díaz Ortega, 1873–1946, and Luz Aurora Victoria Díaz Ortega, 1875–1965), as well as his natural daughter Amada. His other children died as infants or young children. His widow Carmen and his son were allowed to return to Mexico.
In 1938, the 430-piece collection of arms of the late General Porfirio Díaz was donated to the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.
There have been several attempts to return Díaz's remains to Mexico since the 1920s. The most recent movement started in 2014 in Oaxaca by the Comisión Especial de los Festejos del Centenario Luctuoso de Porfirio Díaz Mori, which is headed by Francisco Jiménez. According to some, the fact that Díaz's remains have not been returned to Mexico "symbolises the failure of the post-Revolutionary state to come to terms with the legacy of the Díaz regime."
Porfirio's first marriage -- to his niece Delfina Ortega Diaz -- lasted from 1867 until 1880. Porfirio later had a more than six-decade marriage to Carmen Romero Rubio.
Currently, Porfirio Diaz is 191 years, 0 months and 5 days old. Porfirio Diaz will celebrate 192nd birthday on a Thursday 15th of September 2022. Below we countdown to Porfirio Diaz upcoming birthday.