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Profile of the Day: Benito Juarez

Profile of the Day: Benito Juarez

Benito Juarez

On this day in 1806, Benito Juarez was born. Juarez was the President of Mexico and is today remembered as a national hero for his resistance of French occupation and victory in overthrowing Emperor Maximilian I.

Juarez was born to a Zapotec peasant family on March 21, 1806 in a small adobe house in San Pablo Guelato, Oaxaca, Mexico. He was an orphan by the age of three and was raised by relatives. Juarez spent his childhood working in cornfields and as a shepherd. It was not until after the age of 12 that he would begin his formal education in Oaxaca and go on to study law.

In 1958, Juarez became the President of Mexico during a tumultuous time in Mexican history. As a result of the Reform Wars, the nation was in financial ruin and unable to repay foreign debts. France’s Napoleon III saw this as an opportunity to establish a new empire in Mexico. In 1862, French forces invaded Mexico. Although Mexican forces had scored an initial victory over the French, by 1863, Mexico City had been captured and Maximillian I was proclaimed the Emperor of the Second Mexican Empire. During this time, Juarez continued to lead his government-in-exile and resist the French invasion. In 1867, Maximillian’s forces were defeated and the emperor was executed by firing squad. Juarez was re-elected as President and served until his death in 1872.

Today Juarez is celebrated as a national hero for his leadership during the French occupation and his constitutional reforms. Each year, his birthday is observed as a national holiday in Mexico.

Explore Benito Juarez’s family tree on Geni and share your connection the Mexican president.

View Benito Juarez’s Geni Profile


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Image: Library of Congress


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