The Life of Benito Juárez: Tumultuous and Stressful
Mexico has gone through a series of presidents who have endured a turbulent history. One of the best-known leaders in Mexican history was Benito Pablo Juárez García. Born on March 21, 1806 in Oaxaca, Mexico of pure Zapotec blood, and spoke only the indigenous Zapotec language until his teenage years when he learned Spanish.
Growing up as orphans in poverty, he and his siblings were left to the care of his paternal grandparents. His mother Brigida García died during childbirth and it has been assumed that his father, Marcelino Juárez, died of complications due to diabetes.
Juárez became a lawyer at 20-years-old after graduating from the Oaxaca Institute of Arts and Sciences, beginning his young life in politics for the advancement of indigenous cultures.
Juárez as Governor
As the governor of Oaxaca in 1847, Juárez became known as anti-clerical but pro-indigenous rights. Because of his progressive work and liberal laws, Juárez was exiled in 1853-1854 to Cuba by then president Antonio López de Santa Anna. While working in New Orleans, Juárez united with other exiled liberals and planned Santa Anna’s downfall. After a coup, Juárez was named the minister of justice of Mexico.