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Porfirio Diaz, president of Mexico
(update: June 20th 2010)

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Porfirio Diaz, president of Mexico

Porfirio Diaz was the president of Mexico the time the stock certificates listed below were issued. He was president for thirty years and was more of a dictator than a president but he brought many modernizations to Mexico.
There were two main "revolutions" in Mexico. The first was the revolution for independence against Spain in 1810 and the second was the political revolution of 1910, one hundred years later. Both were very lengthy and bloody affairs.
Porfirio Diaz started out as a military hero. He helped General Zaragosa defeat the French troops during the French invasion at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. This date is still celebrated by
Mexicans under the name "Cinco de Mayo" (5th of May) and many towns have a street by this name.
Porfirio Diaz became president during a very turbulent time and under his leadership the country made great progress. Unfortunately he was fairly brutal with the common people and made many alliances with foreign businessmen who took the opportunity to make a lot of money on the backs of the poor Mexicans. For this reason he is regarded by many as a tyrant and not a benefactor, but others think he should be acknowledged as a great man in spite of his perceived faults.
He became ill with a terrible toothache at age 80 while still president during a period when his presidency was being challenged by a man named Francisco I. Madero who ended up being a martyr for the cause of the people and this among other events began the revolution. In the end Porfirio Diaz was forced by circumstances to flee the country and he died in Europe in exile at age 83. Unfortunately, by not providing a reliable means for his own succession, he left a big mess which the Mexicans are more or less still trying to clean up.

Source:  Bob Mrotek, Mexico (personal communication, 2004)

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copyright, 2004: Bob Mrotek & Dr. Hugo H. van der Molen;
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