The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Mexican Politicians of all time. This list of famous Mexican Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Mexican Politicians.
With an HPI of 73.18, Moctezuma II is the most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 59 different languages on wikipedia.
Moctezuma Xocoyotzin (c. 1466 – 29 June 1520; [moteːkˈsoːmaḁ ʃoːkoˈjoːt͡sĩn̥] modern Nahuatl pronunciation ), variant spellings include Motewksomah, Motecuhzomatzin, Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma, Motēuczōmah, Muteczuma, and referred to retroactively in European sources as Moctezuma II, was the ninth Emperor of the Aztec Empire (also known as Mexica Empire), reigning from 1502 or 1503 to 1520. Through his marriage with queen Tlapalizquixochtzin of Ecatepec, one of his two wives, he was also king consort of that altepetl.The first contact between the indigenous civilizations of Mesoamerica and Europeans took place during his reign, and he was killed during the initial stages of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, when conquistador Hernán Cortés and his men fought to take over the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. During his reign, the Aztec Empire reached its greatest size. Through warfare, Moctezuma expanded the territory as far south as Xoconosco in Chiapas and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and incorporated the Zapotec and Yopi people into the empire. He changed the previous meritocratic system of social hierarchy and widened the divide between pipiltin (nobles) and macehualtin (commoners) by prohibiting commoners from working in the royal palaces.Though two other Aztec rulers succeeded Moctezuma after his death, their reigns were short-lived and the empire quickly collapsed under them. Historical portrayals of Moctezuma have mostly been colored by his role as ruler of a defeated nation, and many sources have described him as weak-willed, superstitious, and indecisive. Depictions of his person among his contemporaries however are divided; some depict him as one of the greatest leaders Mexico had, a great conqueror who tried his best to maintain his nation together at times of crisis, while others depict him as a tyrant who wanted to take absolute control over the whole empire. His story remains one of the most well-known conquest narratives from the history of European contact with Native Americans, and he has been mentioned or portrayed in numerous works of historical fiction and popular culture.
With an HPI of 71.04, Geronimo is the 2nd most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 64 different languages.
Geronimo (Mescalero-Chiricahua: Goyaałé, Athabaskan pronunciation: [kòjàːɬɛ́], lit. 'the one who yawns'; June 16, 1829 – February 17, 1909) was a prominent leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the Ndendahe Apache people. From 1850 to 1886, Geronimo joined with members of three other Central Apache bands – the Tchihende, the Tsokanende (called Chiricahua by Americans) and the Nednhi – to carry out numerous raids, as well as fight against Mexican and U.S. military campaigns in the northern Mexico states of Chihuahua and Sonora and in the southwestern American territories of New Mexico and Arizona. Geronimo's raids and related combat actions were a part of the prolonged period of the Apache–United States conflict, which started with the American invasion of Apache lands following the end of the war with Mexico in 1848. Reservation life was confining to the free-moving Apache people, and they resented restrictions on their customary way of life. Geronimo led breakouts from the reservations in attempts to return his people to their previous nomadic lifestyle. During Geronimo's final period of conflict from 1876 to 1886, he surrendered three times and eventually accepted life on the Apache reservations. While well-known, Geronimo was not a chief of the Bedonkohe band of the Central Apache but a shaman, as was Nokay-doklini among the Western Apache. However, since he was a superb leader in raiding and warfare, he frequently led large numbers of 30 to 50 Apache men.In 1886, after an intense pursuit in northern Mexico by American forces that followed Geronimo's third 1885 reservation breakout, Geronimo surrendered for the last time to Lt. Charles Bare Gatewood. Geronimo and 27 other Apaches were later sent to join the rest of the Chiricahua tribe, which had been previously exiled to Florida. While holding him as a prisoner, the United States capitalized on Geronimo’s fame among non-Indians by displaying him at various fairs and exhibitions. In 1898, for example, Geronimo was exhibited at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in Omaha, Nebraska; seven years later, the Indian Office provided Geronimo for use in a parade at the second inauguration of President Theodore Roosevelt. He died at the Fort Sill hospital in 1909, as a prisoner of war, and was buried at the Fort Sill Indian Agency Cemetery, among the graves of relatives and other Apache prisoners of war.
With an HPI of 67.33, La Malinche is the 3rd most famous Mexican Politician. Her biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Marina [maˈɾina] or Malintzin [maˈlintsin] (c. 1500 – c. 1529), more popularly known as La Malinche [la maˈlintʃe], a Nahua woman from the Mexican Gulf Coast, became known for contributing to the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire (1519–1521), by acting as an interpreter, advisor, and intermediary for the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. She was one of 20 enslaved women given to the Spaniards in 1519 by the natives of Tabasco. Cortés chose her as a consort, and she later gave birth to his first son, Martín – one of the first Mestizos (people of mixed European and Indigenous American ancestry) in New Spain.La Malinche's reputation has shifted over the centuries, as various peoples evaluate her role against their own societies' changing social and political perspectives. Especially after the Mexican War of Independence, which led to Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821, dramas, novels and paintings portrayed her as an evil or scheming temptress. In Mexico today, La Malinche remains a powerful icon - understood in various and often conflicting aspects as the embodiment of treachery, the quintessential victim, or the symbolic mother of the new Mexican people. The term malinchista refers to a disloyal compatriot, especially in Mexico.
With an HPI of 66.51, Cuauhtémoc is the 4th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.
Cuauhtémoc (Nahuatl pronunciation: [kʷaːʍˈtemoːk] (listen), Spanish pronunciation: [kwawˈtemok] (listen)), also known as Cuauhtemotzín, Guatimozín, or Guatémoc, was the Aztec ruler (tlatoani) of Tenochtitlan from 1520 to 1521, making him the last Aztec Emperor. The name Cuauhtemōc means "one who has descended like an eagle", and is commonly rendered in English as "Descending Eagle", as in the moment when an eagle folds its wings and plummets down to strike its prey. This is a name that implies aggressiveness and determination. Cuauhtémoc took power in 1520 as successor of Cuitláhuac and was a cousin of the late emperor Moctezuma II. His young wife, who was later known as Isabel Moctezuma, was one of Moctezuma's daughters. He ascended to the throne when he was around 25 years old, while Tenochtitlan was being besieged by the Spanish and devastated by an epidemic of smallpox brought to the Americas by Spanish conquerors. After the killings in the Great Temple, there were probably few Aztec captains available to take the position.
With an HPI of 66.41, Porfirio Díaz is the 5th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 61 different languages.
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori ( or ; Spanish: [poɾˈfiɾjo ði.as]; 15 September 1830 – 2 July 1915), known as Porfirio Díaz, was a Mexican general and politician who served seven terms as President of Mexico, a total of 31 years, from 28 November 1876 to 6 December 1876, 17 February 1877 to 1 December 1880 and from 1 December 1884 to 25 May 1911. The entire period from 1876 to 1911 is often referred to as Porfiriato and has been characterized as a de facto dictatorship.A veteran of the War of the Reform (1858–1860) and the French intervention in Mexico (1862–1867), Díaz rose to the rank of general, leading republican troops against the French-backed rule of Maximilian I. He subsequently revolted against presidents Benito Juárez and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada on the principle of no re-election. Díaz succeeded in seizing power, ousting Lerdo in a coup in 1876, with the help of his political supporters, and was elected in 1877. In 1880, he stepped down and his political ally Manuel González was elected president, serving from 1880 to 1884. In 1884 Díaz abandoned the idea of no re-election and held office continuously until 1911.A controversial figure in Mexican history, Díaz's regime ended political instability and achieved growth after decades of economic stagnation. He and his allies comprised a group of technocrats known as científicos ("scientists"), whose economic policies benefited a circle of allies and foreign investors, helping hacendados consolidate large estates, often through violent means and legal abuse. These policies grew increasingly unpopular, resulting in civil repression and regional conflicts, as well as strikes and uprisings from labor and the peasantry, groups that did not share in Mexico's growth. Despite public statements in 1908 favoring a return to democracy and not running again for office, Díaz reversed himself and ran in the 1910 election. Díaz, then 80 years old, failed to institutionalize presidential succession, triggering a political crisis between the científicos and the followers of General Bernardo Reyes, allied with the military and peripheral regions of Mexico. After Díaz declared himself the winner for an eighth term, his electoral opponent, wealthy estate owner Francisco I. Madero, issued the Plan of San Luis Potosí calling for armed rebellion against Díaz, leading to the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution. In May 1911, after the Federal Army suffered a number of defeats against the forces supporting Madero, Díaz resigned in the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez and went into exile in Paris, where he died four years later.
With an HPI of 65.05, Agustín de Iturbide is the 6th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.
Agustín de Iturbide (Spanish pronunciation: [aɣusˈtin ðe ituɾˈβiðe] (listen); 27 September 1783 – 19 July 1824), full name Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Arámburu and also known as Agustín of Mexico, was a general in the Mexican army then a politician, becoming Emperor during the First Mexican Empire. During the country's war of independence, he built a successful political and military coalition that took control in Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively gaining independence for Mexico. After securing the secession of Mexico from Spain, Iturbide was proclaimed president of the Regency in 1821; a year later, he was proclaimed Emperor, reigning from 19 May 1822 to 19 March 1823. In May 1823 he went into exile in Europe. When he returned to Mexico in July 1824, he was arrested and executed. He designed the Mexican flag.
With an HPI of 64.89, Antonio López de Santa Anna is the 7th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈtonjo ˈlopez ðe ˌsan'taːna]; 21 February 1794 – 21 June 1876), usually known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, was a Mexican caudillo who served as president of Mexico multiple times. He was a preeminent figure in Mexican politics to the point that historians of Mexico often refer to three decades after Mexican independence as the "Age of Santa Anna". He has been called "the Man of Destiny who "loomed over his time like a melodramatic colossus, the uncrowned monarch"He played a notable role in the fall of the First Mexican Empire, the fall of the First Mexican Republic, the promulgation of the Constitution of 1835, the establishment of the Centralist Republic of Mexico, the Texas Revolution, the Pastry War, the promulgation of the Constitution of 1843, and the Mexican-American War. He became well known in the United States due to his role in the Texas Revolution and in the Mexican American War. He was known for switching sides in the recurring nineteenth century conflict between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. He managed to play a prominent role in both discarding the liberal Constitution of 1824 in 1835 and in restoring it in 1847. He came to power as a liberal twice in 1832 and in 1847 respectively, both times sharing power with the liberal statesman Valentín Gómez Farías, and both times Santa Anna overthrew Gómez Farías after switching sides to the conservatives. Santa Anna was also known for his dictatorial rule, making use of the military to dissolve congress multiple times. He was also known for his ostentatious style of rule. During his last presidency he began to go under the title of His Most Serene Highness. His legacy has subsequently come to be viewed as profoundly negative with historians and many Mexicans ranking him as "the principal inhabitant even today of Mexico's black pantheon of those who failed the nation". His intermittent periods of rule which lasted from 1832 to 1853, resulted in the loss of Texas, a series of military failures during the Mexican-American War, and the ensuing Mexican cession. His leadership in the Mexican-American War and his willingness to fight to the bitter end prolonged the war: "[...] more than any other single person it was López de Santa Anna who denied Polk's dream of a short war." Even after the war was over, Santa Anna continued to alienate national territory to the Americans through the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. Historians debate the exact number of his presidencies as he would often share power and make use of puppet rulers. Santa Anna biographer Will Fowler gives the figure of six terms while the Texas State Historical Association claims five.After he was overthrown and exiled in 1855 through the liberal Plan of Ayutla, Santa Anna began to fade into the background of Mexican events even as the nation entered the decisive period of the Reform War, the Second French Intervention in Mexico, and the establishment of the Second Mexican Empire. An elderly Santa Anna was allowed to return to the nation by president Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada in 1874 and he died in relative obscurity in 1876.
With an HPI of 64.88, Benito Juárez is the 8th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 68 different languages.
Benito Pablo Juárez García (Spanish: [beˈnito ˈpaβlo ˈxwaɾes gaɾˈsi.a] (listen); 21 March 1806 – 18 July 1872) was a Mexican liberal politician and lawyer who served as the 26th president of Mexico from 1858 until his death in office in 1872. As a Zapotec, he was the first indigenous president of Mexico and the first indigenous head of state in the postcolonial Americas.Born in Oaxaca to a poor rural family and orphaned as a child, Juárez was looked after by his uncle and eventually moved to Oaxaca City at the age of 12, working as a domestic servant. Aided by a lay Franciscan, he enrolled in a seminary and studied law at the Institute of Sciences and Arts, where he became active in liberal politics. After his appointment as a judge, he married Margarita Maza, a woman of European ancestry from a socially distinguished family in Oaxaca City, and rose to national prominence after the ouster of Antonio López de Santa Anna in the Plan of Ayutla. He participated in La Reforma, a series of liberal measures under the presidencies of Juan Álvarez and Ignacio Comonfort which culminated in the Constitution of 1857. With Comonfort's resignation during the Reform War, Juárez, as President of the Supreme Court, became constitutional President of Mexico. He led Mexican liberals against conservatives during the conflict and prevailed against the Second French Intervention. Juárez tied liberalism to Mexican nationalism and tenaciously held the presidency until his death in 1872. He asserted his leadership as the legitimate head of the Mexican state in opposition to Maximilian I, whom the French Empire installed with the support of Mexican conservatives. After being elected president in 1861, he extended his term during the French Intervention and was re-elected in 1867 and 1871 to lead the Restored Republic, but with growing opposition from fellow liberals. During his presidency, he took a number of controversial measures, including his negotiation of the McLane–Ocampo Treaty, which would have granted the United States extraterritorial rights across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; a decree extending his presidential term for the duration of French Intervention; his proposal to revise the liberal Constitution of 1857 to strengthen the power of the federal government; and his decision to run for reelection in 1871. His opponent, liberal general, and fellow Oaxacan Porfirio Díaz opposed his re-election and rebelled against Juárez in the Plan de la Noria. Juárez came to be seen as "a preeminent symbol of Mexican nationalism and resistance to foreign intervention." He looked to the United States as a model for Mexican development, as opposed to previous administrations, whose political vision was more inclined towards Europe. His policies advocated civil liberties, equality before the law, the sovereignty of civilian power over the Catholic Church and the military, the strengthening of the Mexican federal government, and the depersonalization of political life. For Juárez's success in ousting European invasion, Mexicans considered Juárez's tenure as a time of a "second struggle for independence, a second defeat for the European powers, and a second reversal of the Conquest."After his death, the city of Oaxaca added "de Juárez" to its name in his honor, and numerous other places and institutions have been named after him. He is the only individual whose birthday (21 March) is celebrated as a national public and patriotic holiday in Mexico.
With an HPI of 64.11, Andrés Manuel López Obrador is the 9th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 67 different languages.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Spanish: [anˈdɾes maˈnwel ˈlopes oβɾaˈðoɾ] (listen); born 13 November 1953), also known by his initials AMLO, is a Mexican politician who has been serving as the 65th president of Mexico since 1 December 2018. He previously served as Head of Government of Mexico City from 2000 to 2005. Born in Tepetitán, in the municipality of Macuspana, in the south-eastern state of Tabasco, López Obrador earned a degree in political science from the National Autonomous University of Mexico following a hiatus from his studies to participate in politics. He began his political career in 1976 as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). His first public position was as director of the Indigenous Institute of Tabasco, where he promoted the addition of books in indigenous languages and the project of the Chontal ridge. In 1989, he joined the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), becoming the party's 1994 candidate for Governor of Tabasco, and national leader between 1996 and 1999. In 2000, he was elected Head of Government of Mexico City. During his tenure, his crime, infrastructure and social spending policies made him a popular figure on the Mexican left. In 2004, his state immunity from prosecution was removed after refusing to cease construction on land allegedly expropriated by his predecessor, Rosario Robles. This legal process lasted for a year and ended with López Obrador maintaining his right to run for office.López Obrador was nominated as the presidential candidate for the Coalition for the Good of All during the 2006 elections, where he was narrowly defeated by the National Action Party (PAN) candidate Felipe Calderón. While the Federal Electoral Tribunal noted a number of irregularities, it denied López Obrador's request for a general recount, which sparked protests across the country. In 2011 he founded Morena, a civil association and later political party. He was a candidate for the Progressive Movement coalition in the 2012 elections, won by the Commitment to Mexico coalition candidate Enrique Peña Nieto. In 2012, he left the PRD after protesting the party's signing of the Pact for Mexico and joined Morena. As part of the Juntos Haremos Historia coalition, López Obrador was elected president after a landslide victory in the 2018 general election. Often described as a center-left, progressive, populist, and economic nationalist, López Obrador has been a national politician for over three decades. During his presidency, he has promoted public investment in sectors that had been liberalized under previous administrations and has implemented a number of progressive social reforms. Supporters have praised him for promoting institutional renewal after decades of high inequality and corruption, and refocusing the country's neoliberal consensus towards improving the state of the working class. Critics have claimed that his administration has stumbled in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and attempts to deal with drug cartels, has antagonized Mexican democratic institutions and that the economy had already faltered before the pandemic.
With an HPI of 63.29, Moctezuma I is the 10th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.
Moctezuma I (c. 1398–1469), also known as Moteuczomatzin Ilhuicamina (modern Nahuatl pronunciation ), Huehuemoteuczoma or Montezuma I (Classical Nahuatl: Motēuczōma Ilhuicamīna [moteːkʷˈsoːma ilwikaˈmiːna], Classical Nahuatl: Huēhuemotēuczōma [weːwemoteːkʷˈsoːma]), was the second Aztec emperor and fifth king of Tenochtitlan. During his reign, the Aztec Empire was consolidated, major expansion was undertaken, and Tenochtitlan started becoming the dominant partner of the Aztec Triple Alliance. Often mistaken for his popular descendant, Moctezuma II, Moctezuma I greatly contributed to the famed Aztec Empire that thrived until Spanish arrival, and he ruled over a period of peace from 1440 to 1453. Moctezuma brought social, economical, and political reform to strengthen Aztec rule, and Tenochititlan benefited from relations with other cities.
Pantheon has 106 people classified as politicians born between 603 and 1970. Of these 106, 17 (16.04%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Vicente Fox, and Carlos Salinas de Gortari. The most famous deceased politicians include Moctezuma II, Geronimo, and La Malinche. As of April 2022, 11 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Pascual Orozco, Eight Deer Jaguar Claw, and Pedro María de Anaya.
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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.