About Santa Fe » General » History » Pancho Villa

On March 9, 1916 Pancho Villa (1878-1923) made his famous border raid on the town of Columbus, New Mexico. It was an event that would later almost lead the United States and Mexico to war with each other. It was an event that took the people of both Columbus and the rest of the country by suprise. However, there is evidence to suggest that the government of the United States, that which was being led by President Woodrow Wilson, both knew of Francisco Villa’s intentions and welcomed it. This will illustrate the reasons why the government of that era allowed such an event to occur.

The events that unfolded on March 9, 1916 had their reasons for doing so. Francisco “Pancho” Villa was man who was acting out of revenge. This feeling that seemed like a knife twisting in his gut got its start back in the early parts of the Mexican-Revolution. It was a time when Villa was something of a friend to the Americans. It was a friendship, however, that was not viewed by all sides. Just as friends often split on bad terms, Villa was going to make sure he was leaving this relationship with the last words and the upper hand.

To a certain degree, Francisco Villa and the United States seemed to get along well from the start. Villa would often make visits along border towns after having completed some of his campaigns. Here, he would was received often as a celebrity. Americans would flock to see the famous Mexican fighter who was championing freedom for his people. Villa favored eating in ice cream shops. Fransico Villa and Pascual Orozco were onced pictured in a local shop that once existed in the border town of El Paso. Ironically, Villa was also pictured standing next to his friend John Pershing. It would be Pershing who would one day be chasing after Villa.