Carranza’s relations with U.S. drove Villa’s strategy

I’ve been collecting stamps for most of my life. My grandmother started collecting during WWII and at some time, when visiting her in Louisiana, she let me see her collection and it was love at first sight.

When I was old enough to know how to care for them (I still have all of her stuff), she turned her stamps over to me and that became the basis for an ongoing affair.

Her collection focused on the war, and as I explored philately, I began to specialize in something that was dear to me — the American West. Over time, that expanded into a couple of other topic areas, the most recent being Mexico.

Older Mexican stamps aren’t terribly expensive (I acquired a copy of the first ever issued for just a few bucks), which is good, because I don’t play the high-stakes games. I’m far more interested in the subject matter than the philatelic value.

Mexico at war

As I began to develop an interest in the history of the borderlands between the United States and Mexico, I began finding stamps that related to these stories. In studying another nation, it’s interesting to see which events and people they believe merit memorialization on a postage stamp.

Venustiano Carranza enters Mexico CityTo some extent, I’ve narrowed my interest in Mexican stamps to ones that relate to their struggle for independence (c1810-c1820), the cession of territory to the United States (1835-1853), the struggle against Maximilian (1860s) and the Revolution (1910-1920.)

It is the last that corresponds to what I anticipate will be the second in the Epic of Bisbee series, The Mexican Revolution at Naco. I just acquired Mexico No. 574, which commemorates the entry into Mexico City of Venustiano Carranza on April 14, 1916, issued 50 years later.

At the time, there was a considerable struggle between Carranza and Pancho Villa, the other great revolutionary of the north, as to which would prevail as the leader of Mexico. Carranza had recently won the competition.

The fact that President Woodrow Wilson had recognized Carranza, rather than Villa, as the leader of post-revolutionary, post-Porfirian Mexico, led to much of what happened at Agua Prieta, Naco and Columbus, N.M. in the ensuing months. All of that will be part of the book, No. 2 in the Epic of Bisbee.

Pancho Villa was a major player in Bisbee’s history in the teens. He visited our city on several occasions, but more to the point, he (or at least his troops) made war at Naco.

It was Villista activity nearby in northern Mexico that colored how Bisbee reacted at the time of the Deportation in July 1917 as well.

It’s all a fabulous story, and the role in it of this immediate region has many keys to what Mexico is today and the tenor of the two nations’ relationships as well.

A lot of what happened may surprise you.

So stay tuned for more about the Revolution at Naco.

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