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 80.21, 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) [moteːkʷˈsoːma ʃoːkoˈjoːtsin] modern Nahuatl pronunciation ), variant spellings include Motecuhzomatzin, Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma, Motēuczōmah, Muteczuma, and referred to retroactively in European sources as Moctezuma II, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of the Aztec Empire, reigning from 1502 or 1503 to 1520. 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. 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 79.35, Geronimo is the 2nd most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 63 different languages.
Geronimo (Mescalero-Chiricahua: Goyaałé Athabaskan pronunciation: [kòjàːɬɛ́] "the one who yawns", June 16, 1829 – February 17, 1909) was a prominent leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the Apache tribe. From 1850 to 1886, Geronimo joined with members of three other Chiricahua Apache bands—the Tchihende, the Tsokanende 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 American settlement in Apache lands following the end of the war with Mexico in 1848. While well known, Geronimo was not a chief of the Chiricahua or the Bedonkohe band. However, since he was a superb leader in raiding and warfare, he frequently led large numbers of men beyond his own following. At any one time, he would be in command of about 30 to 50 Apaches.During Geronimo's final period of conflict from 1876 to 1886, he surrendered three times and accepted life on the Apache reservations in Arizona. Reservation life was confining to the free-moving Apache people, and they resented restrictions on their customary way of life.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, an Apache-speaking West Point graduate who had earned Geronimo's respect a few years before. Geronimo was later transferred to General Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon, just north of the Mexican/American boundary. Miles treated Geronimo as a prisoner of war and acted promptly to move Geronimo, first to Fort Bowie, then to the railroad at Bowie Station, Arizona, where he and 27 other Apaches were 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 events. For Geronimo, it provided him with an opportunity to make a little money. In 1898, for example, Geronimo was exhibited at the Trans-Mississippi and International Exhibition in Omaha, Nebraska. Following this exhibition, he became a frequent visitor to fairs, exhibitions, and other public functions. He made money by selling pictures of himself, bows and arrows, buttons off his shirt, and even his hat. In 1905, the Indian Office provided Geronimo for the inaugural parade for President Theodore Roosevelt. Later that year, the Indian Office took him to Texas, where he shot a buffalo in a roundup staged by 101 Ranch Real Wild West for the National Editorial Association. Geronimo was escorted to the event by soldiers, as he was still a prisoner. The teachers who witnessed the staged buffalo hunt were unaware that Geronimo’s people were not buffalo hunters.He died at the Fort Sill hospital in 1909, as a prisoner of war. Geronimo is buried at the Fort Sill Indian Agency Cemetery, among the graves of relatives and other Apache prisoners of war.
With an HPI of 74.98, 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], was a Nahua woman from the Mexican Gulf Coast, who played a key role in the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, acting as an interpreter, advisor, and intermediary for the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. She was one of 20 enslaved women given to the Spaniards by the Natives of Tabasco in 1519. Later, she gave birth to Cortés's first son, Martín, who is considered one of the first Mestizos (people of mixed European and Indigenous American ancestry). The historical figure of Marina has been intermixed with Aztec legends (such as that of La Llorona, a ghost woman who weeps for her lost children). Her reputation has been altered over the years according to changing social and political perspectives, especially after the Mexican Revolution, when she was portrayed in dramas, novels and paintings as an evil or scheming temptress. In Mexico today, La Malinche remains iconically potent. She is understood in various and often conflicting aspects as the embodiment of treachery, the quintessential victim, or simply as symbolic mother of the new Mexican people. The term malinchista refers to a disloyal compatriot, especially in Mexico.
With an HPI of 74.49, Cuauhtémoc is the 4th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 37 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 New World by Spanish explorers. After the killings in the Great Temple, there were probably few Aztec captains available to take the position.
With an HPI of 74.18, Porfirio Díaz is the 5th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 57 different languages.
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori ( or ; Spanish: [poɾˈfiɾjo ði.as]; 15 September 1830 – 2 July 1915) was a Mexican general and politician who served seven terms as President of Mexico, a total of 31 years, from 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 the Porfiriato.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-imposed rule of Emperor Maximilian. He subsequently revolted against presidents Benito Juárez and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, on the principle of no re-election to the presidency. 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.Díaz has been a controversial figure in Mexican history. His regime ended political turmoil and promoted economic development. He and his allies comprised a group of technocrats known as Científicos, "scientists". His economic policies largely benefited his circle of allies as well as foreign investors, and helped a few wealthy estate-owning hacendados acquire huge areas of land, leaving rural campesinos unable to make a living. In later years, these policies grew unpopular due to civil repression and political conflicts, as well as challenges from labor and the peasantry, groups that did not share in Mexico's prosperity. Despite public statements in 1908 favoring a return to democracy and not running again for office, Díaz reversed himself and ran again in the 1910 election. His failure to institutionalize presidential succession, since he was by then 80 years old, triggered a political crisis between the Científicos and the followers of General Bernardo Reyes, allied with the military and with peripheral regions of Mexico. After Díaz declared himself the winner of an eighth term in office in 1910, 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. After the Federal Army suffered a number of military defeats against the forces supporting Madero, Díaz was forced to resign in May 1911 and went into exile in Paris, where he died four years later.
With an HPI of 73.92, Antonio López de Santa Anna is the 6th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈtonjo ˈlopez ðe ˌsant‿ˈana]; 21 February 1794 – 21 June 1876), usually known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, was a Mexican politician and general. His influence on post-independence Mexican politics and government in the first half of the nineteenth century is such that historians of Mexico often refer to it as the "Age of Santa Anna". Santa Anna agreed with important points in the Monroe Doctrine whereby European powers would not use Dons, Lords, and Governors as absentee landlords of their conquered lands in the Americas. He disagreed with the U.S on slavery; but he did not agree to allow Africans into his territory as freed slaves. He carried out vicious attacks against Native Mexican American tribes. He was called "the Man of Destiny" who "loomed over his time like a melodramatic colossus, the uncrowned monarch".Santa Anna's military and political career featured a series of reversals. He at first opposed Mexican independence from Spain, but then fought in support of it. He backed the monarchy of First Mexican Empire, then revolted against the emperor. He "represents the stereotypical caudillo in Mexican history". Lucas Alamán writes that "the history of Mexico since 1822 might accurately be called the history of Santa Anna's revolutions. His name plays a major role in all the political events of the country and its destiny has become intertwined with his."Santa Anna, an enigmatic, patriotic, and controversial figure, wielded great power in Mexico during the turbulent 40 years of his political career. He led as general at crucial points and served 11 non-consecutive presidential terms over a period of 22 years. In the periods when he was not serving as president, he continued to pursue his military career. He was a wealthy landowner who built a political base in the port city of Veracruz. Perceived as a hero by his troops, Santa Anna sought glory for himself and for his army and independence for Mexico. He repeatedly rebuilt his reputation after major losses. Yet historians and many Mexicans rank him as one of "those who failed the nation". His centralist rhetoric and military failures resulted in Mexico losing half its territory, beginning with the Texas Revolution of 1836 and continuing with the Mexican Cession of 1848 following Mexico's loss to the United States in the Mexican–American War of 1846-1848. 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 Santa Anna who denied Polk's dream of a short war." After the debacle of the war, he returned to the Mexican presidency and in 1853 sold Mexican territory to the U.S. Overthrown by the liberal Revolution of Ayutla in 1855, he lived most of his later years in exile.
With an HPI of 72.93, Benito Juárez is the 7th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 66 different languages.
Benito Pablo Juárez García (Spanish: [beˈnito ˈpaβlo ˈxwaɾes gaɾˈsi.a] (listen); 21 March 1806 – 18 July 1872) was a Mexican lawyer and politician, who served as the 26th president of Mexico from 1858 until his death in 1872. He was the first president of Mexico who was of indigenous origin. Born in Oaxaca to a poor Zapotec rural family and orphaned young, he moved to Oaxaca City at the age of 12 to go to school. He was aided by a lay Franciscan, and enrolled in seminary, later studying law at the Institute of Sciences and Arts and becoming a lawyer. After being appointed as a judge, in his 30s he married Margarita Maza, a socially prominent woman of Oaxaca City. From his years in college, he was active in politics. Appointed as head justice of the nation's Supreme Court, Juárez identified primarily as a Liberal politician. In his life, he wrote briefly about his indigenous heritage.When moderate liberal President Ignacio Comonfort was forced to resign by the Conservatives in 1858, Juárez, as head of the Supreme Court, assumed the presidency and the two governments competed. His succession was codified in the Constitution of 1857 but he survived in internal exile for a period. During which he signed the McLane-Ocampo Treaty in 1859. He weathered the War of the Reform (1858–1860), a civil war between the Liberals and the Conservatives, and the French invasion (1861–1867), which was supported by Conservative monarchists. Never relinquishing office, although forced into exile to areas of Mexico not controlled by the French, Juárez tied Liberalism to Mexican nationalism. He asserted his leadership as the legitimate head of the Mexican state, rather than Emperor Maximilian, whom the French had installed. When the French-backed Second Mexican Empire fell in 1867, the Mexican Republic with Juárez as president regained full power. For his success in ousting the European incursion, Latin Americans 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."Juárez is revered in Mexico as "a preeminent symbol of Mexican nationalism and resistance to foreign intervention." He understood the importance of a working relationship with the United States, and secured its recognition for his government during the War of the Reform. He held fast to particular principles, including the supremacy of civil power over the Catholic Church and part of the military; respect for law; and the depersonalization of political life. Juárez sought to strengthen the national government, asserting its central power over the states, a position that both radical and provincial liberals opposed.After his death, the city and state of Oaxaca added "de Juarez" to their formal names in his honor, and numerous other places and institutions were named for him. His birthday (21 March) is celebrated as a national public and patriotic holiday in Mexico. He is the only individual Mexican to be so honored.
With an HPI of 72.78, Agustín de Iturbide is the 8th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.
Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Arámburu (Spanish pronunciation: [aɣusˈtin ðe ituɾˈβiðe] (listen); 27 September 1783 – 19 July 1824), also known as Augustine of Mexico, was a Mexican army general and politician. During the Mexican 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 as the constitutional Emperor of Mexico, reigning briefly 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 72.64, Moctezuma I is the 9th 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.
With an HPI of 72.01, Vicente Fox is the 10th most famous Mexican Politician. His biography has been translated into 58 different languages.
Vicente Fox Quesada GCMG CYC (American Spanish: [biˈsente ˈfoks keˈsaða]; born 2 July 1942) is a Mexican businessman and politician who served as the 62nd President of Mexico from 1 December 2000 to 30 November 2006. Campaigning as a right-wing populist, Fox ran for and was elected president on the National Action Party (PAN) ticket, becoming the first president not from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) since 1929. He is currently the Co-President of the Centrist Democrat International, an international organization of center-right political parties.Fox was elected President of Mexico in the 2000 presidential election, a historically significant election since it made him the first president elected from an opposition party since the election of Francisco I. Madero in 1911. Fox finished in first place with 42 percent of the vote.As president, he mostly followed the neoliberal economic policies that his predecessors from the PRI had adopted since the late 1980s. The first half of his administration saw a further shift of the Federal government to the right, strong relations with the United States and George W. Bush, unsuccessful attempts to apply a value-added tax to medicines and to build an airport in Texcoco, and a major diplomatic conflict with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The murder of human rights lawyer Digna Ochoa in 2001 called into question the Fox administration's commitment to breaking with the authoritarian past of the PRI era. The second half of his administration was marked by his conflict with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, then Mexico City's Mayor. The PAN and the Fox administration unsuccessfully attempted to remove López Obrador from office and to prevent him from participating in the 2006 presidential elections. The Fox administration also became embroiled with diplomatic conflicts with Venezuela and Bolivia after supporting the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which was opposed by those two countries. His last year in office oversaw the controversial 2006 elections, where the PAN candidate Felipe Calderón was declared winner by a very narrow margin over his opponent López Obrador, who claimed that the elections were rigged and refused to recognize the results, calling for protests across the country. In the same year, the southern state of Oaxaca was the scene of a teacher's strike which culminated into protests and violent clashes asking for the resignation of governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.On the other hand, Fox was credited with maintaining economic growth during his administration, and reducing the poverty rate from 43.7% in 2000 to 35.6% in 2006.After serving as president of Mexico for six years, Fox returned to his home state of Guanajuato, where he now resides with his wife and family. Since leaving the presidency, Fox has been involved in public speaking and the development of the Vicente Fox Center of Studies, Library and Museum.Fox was expelled from the PAN in 2013, after having endorsed the PRI presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, in the 2012 elections. In the 2018 election Fox again endorsed the PRI's candidate, José Antonio Meade.
Pantheon has 95 people classified as politicians born between 603 and 1969. Of these 95, 12 (12.63%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Vicente Fox, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and Carlos Salinas de Gortari. The most famous deceased politicians include Moctezuma II, Geronimo, and La Malinche. As of October 2020, 11 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Tenoch, José Mariano Salas, and Manuel María Lombardini.
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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.