Veracruz, Occupation of

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Veracruz, Occupation of

Occupation of Veracruz, the April 1914 seizure of Veracruz, Mexico, by U.S. troops to prevent delivery of a shipment of arms to the regime of General Victoriano Huerta, whose government President Woodrow Wilson had declined to recognize. Although the landing on 21 April was justified as a response to the Tampico incident a week earlier, when Mexican soldiers arrested a group of U.S. sailors, the selection of Veracruz rather than Tampico as the site of the landing was due to the arms shipment.

U.S. Marines and Navy personnel sought to seize only the customs house and dock area, but resistance by Mexican troops and the local populace, which shocked public opinion and policy makers in the United States, resulted in the occupation of the entire city. The military operation was undertaken on short notice, with little planning and a small force. Had Mexican federal troops offered more organized resistance, the landing would have proven very costly. The Revolutionaries condemned the occupation but refused Huerta's request to join forces against the U.S. invaders. While many expected U.S. troops to launch a full-scale military intervention, they occupied only Veracruz.

Veracruz remained occupied for seven months, a factor that contributed to the fall of the Huerta regime but did not fully deny him access to arms shipments from abroad. Efforts to mediate through the Niagara Falls Conference proved unsuccessful. The episode produced considerable strain between the Wilson administration and the Revolutionaries because of Venustiano Carranza's refusal to negotiate with the United States or to offer any guarantees for the citizens of Veracruz. His stance delayed the evacuation of the port by several months.

U.S. troops withdrew in November 1914, in effect turning the port and vast quantities of war material over to Carranza in time to support his efforts in a new conflict with General Francisco ("Pancho") Villa.

See alsoHuerta, Victoriano; Villa, Francisco "Pancho".


Robert E. Quirk, An Affair of Honor: Woodrow Wilson and the Occupation of Veracruz (1962).

Kenneth J. Grieb, The United States and Huerta (1969).

John M. Hart, Revolutionary Mexico (1987).

Additional Bibliography

Eisenhower, John S. D. Intervention! The United States and the Mexican Revolution, 1913–1917. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993.

Koth, Karl B. Waking the Dictator: Veracruz, the Struggle for Federalism and the Mexican Revolution, 1870–1927. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2002.

Palomares, Justino N. La invasión yanqui en 1914. Mexico City: n.p., 1940.

                                       Kenneth J. Grieb