CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
Revolutionary winds shook Mexico. Dictator Porfirio Díaz disavowed the electoral victory of challenger Francisco Madero, who called Mexicans to stand up against 33 years of oppression. England lost a king, Edward VII, but won another, George V. Japan annexed its Korean protectorate. Four British colonies formed the Union of South Africa. In Venezuela, Juan Vicente Gómez was elected constitutional president through 1914 and appointed general-in-chief of the army
Emiliano Zapata was one of the major leaders of the Mexican Revolution (Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation)
Dictator Porfirio Díaz tightened his grip on power.
He governed Mexico with an iron fist for 33 years; imposed
his will and retained his closest aides in key positions of
his administration. His promises of economic progress, modernity
and civilization were eclipsed by reality -a tiny elite of
large landowners keeps million farmers as servants, whose
income was barely enough to eat.
Díaz destroyed the opposition and violently finished, through prison or execution, any internal dissent.
He kept Mexico harshly controlled until a reformist aristocrat called Francisco Madero challenged him in the electoral campaign ahead of the presidential vote of June 10th. The dictator rigged the result which favored Madero and managed to be proclaimed as the winner on August 21st.
Díaz ordered to imprison his challenger, but Madero was released on probation and fled to Texas, United States. There, he made an appeal to rise up in arms, which was listened by, among others, Emiliano Zapata and Francisco "Pancho" Villa. The clamor started the Mexican revolution.
Rebels set fire to plantations; blew railroads and mines up; and plunged Mexico into chaos. While Díaz promised reforms, the crisis forced him to step down on May 1911. Madero's inauguration succeeded in pacifying Mexico for two years. The president's killing in 1913 plunged the country again into a maelstrom of violence which ended as late as in 1920, when Álvaro Obregón took office.
Other significant news in the year included the election of Juan Vicente Gómez as constitutional president of Venezuela on April 27th until 1914. Two days earlier, he was appointed general-in-chief of the Venezuelan army.
The building of an electric tram in Caracas, between Agua de Maíz and Los Dos Caminos, was authorized in February under a 50-year contract.
In Asia, the Japanese empire annexed Korea on August 22nd. At that time, the Korean peninsula was a Japanese protectorate. However, Japan, following its military victory over Russia in the region of Manchuria, resolved to expand its domain. The annexation treaty was secretly negotiated.
Four British colonies in Africa formed the Union of South Africa with Louis Botha as the prime minister and in the aftermath of the Boer war as heritage.
George V became the King of England following the death, on May 6th, of his father, Edward VII, who took the British Empire out from the "Victorian era."
The pages of El Universal noted that "the country peace and political steadiness have been consolidated." Cruisers traveling from La Guaira to New York in eight days were advertised, and El Louvre store announced a discount of items "at exceptional prices."
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