Tomochic Rebellion

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Tomochic Rebellion

Tomochic Rebellion, an uprising in Mexico's northwestern state of Chihuahua in 1891. Villagers of the mountain pueblo of Tomochic denied allegiance to the government and vowed to obey no one but a teenage folk saint, Teresa Urrea, known as la Santa de Cabora, who, for more than a year, had been preaching social reform in the neighboring state of Sonora. Perhaps half of the 300 villagers did not concur with this millenarian vision and left town, but those who remained began to develop their utopian dream. In September 1892, after failed efforts to negotiate the faithful out of their intransigence, government troops sought to stamp out the movement but were routed by the out-manned, religiously inspired Tomochitecos.

The next month formidable army units from two states besieged the village. For a week the heroic defense held, but with the outcome inevitable, the Tomochitecos released their women and children to federal custody, then fought to the last man. Word of these events spread rapidly throughout the republic; Tomochic became a symbol of steadfast struggle by ordinary Mexicans against the oppressive dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. Today that resistance is enshrined in literature and corridos (ballads) as well as school textbooks.

See alsoChihuahua; Mexico: 1810–1910.


Heriberto Frías, Tomochic (1989).

Paul J. Vanderwood, "None but the Justice of God," in Patterns of Contention in Mexican History, by Jaime E. Rodriguez O. (1992), pp. 227-241.

Additional Bibliography

Frías, Heriberto; Barbara Jamison; and Antonio Saborit. The Battle of Tomochic: Memoirs of a Second Lieutenant. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Frías, Heriberto. Tomochic. Mexico City: Editorial Planeta DeAgostini; Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 2004.

Vanderwood, Paul J. The Power of God against the Guns of the Government: Religious Upheaval in Mexico at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998.

                                      Paul J. Vanderwood