Orozco, Pascual Jr. (1882–1915)
Orozco, Pascual Jr. (1882–1915)
Pascual Orozco, Jr. (b. 28 January 1882; d. 30 August 1915), guerrilla army leader in the state of Chihuahua during the early years of the Mexican Revolution. Born near San Isidro, Chihuahua, Orozco learned to read and write at a local public school. Working as a muleteer for various mining companies, he gained a reputation as a good worker and honest man.
His popularity as a leader in his home state, his ability to recruit and secure the allegiance of his followers, his knowledge of the local terrain, and his tactical ability in guerrilla combat made Orozco a key figure in the Revolution. He was one of the early leaders of the anti-reelectionist movement against General Porfirio Díaz and part of the initial group that rallied around Revolutionary leader Francisco I. Madero. When Madero launched his rebellion after escaping from prison following the fraudulent elections of 1910, Orozco immediately rose to support Madero's Plan of San Luis Potosí (5 October 1910).
Orozco was responsible for some of the initial successes of the movement, including the first Revolutionary victory over federal troops at Pedernales (27 November). He later led the attack against Ciudad Juárez, which resulted on 10 May 1911 in the capture of that city, the key victory of the uprising. As a result, Orozco enjoyed prominence as a hero of the Revolution. He was also responsible for putting down several revolts against the Madero regime.
Impatient with Madero, Orozco disavowed the administration and launched his own rebellion on 3 March 1912. Gaining control of much of the north, his movement constituted the strongest threat to the Madero administration, and his troops repelled an attack by a federal army led by the minister of war, General José González Salas. A few months later, however, Orozco was defeated by a federal army commanded by General Victoriano Huerta in a series of battles at Rellano (23 May) and Bachimba (3 July).
When Huerta deposed Madero (February 1913), Orozco supported the Huerta regime and commanded troops opposing Madero's successors. His controversial campaigns on behalf of the Huerta regime gained him several promotions, carrying him ultimately to the highest rank in the Mexican Army, general of division, and also earning him the enmity of his former Revolutionary colleagues, who felt he had betrayed their movement.
After the fall of Huerta (15 July 1914), Orozco opposed both the interim regime and the Revolutionary government of General Venustiano Carranza. Forced to flee to the United States, Orozco joined with Huerta and other exiles in seeking to launch a new rebellion. The rebellion was forestalled when Orozco and Huerta were arrested by U.S. marshals on 27 June 1915. Escaping from custody, Orozco was shot by a U.S. posse in Culberson County, Texas.
Michael C. Meyer, Mexican Rebel: Pascual Orozco and the Mexican Revolution, 1910–1915 (1967), provides the most detailed study. See also Charles C. Cumberland, Mexican Revolution: Genesis Under Madero (1952); and Kenneth J. Grieb, The United States and Huerta (1969).
Katz, Friedrich. The Life and Times of Pancho Villa. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998.
Knight, Alan. The Mexican Revolution, 2 volumes. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.
Kenneth J. Grieb
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