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Emiliano Zapata Salazar (Spanish pronunciation: [emiˈljãno saˈpata]; August 8, 1879 – April 10, 1919) was a Mexican revolutionary. He was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution of 1910–1920, the main leader of the people’s revolution in the Mexican state of Morelos, and the inspiration of the agrarian movement called Zapatismo.
Zapata was born in the rural village of Anenecuilco in Morelos State, in an era when peasant communities came under increasing pressure from the small-landowning class who monopolized land and water resources for sugar-cane production with the support of dictator Porfirio Díaz (President 1877–1880 and 1884–1911). Zapata early on participated in political movements against Díaz and the landowning hacendados, and when the Revolution broke out in 1910 he was thus positioned as a central leader of the peasant revolt in Morelos. Cooperating with a number of other peasant leaders, he formed the Liberation Army of the South, of which he soon became the undisputed leader. Zapata’s forces contributed to the fall of Díaz, defeating the Federal Army in the Battle of Cuautla (May 1911), but when the revolutionary leader Francisco I. Madero became president he disavowed the role of the Zapatistas, denouncing them as simple bandits.