Emiliano Zapata (1879-1919) was the Revolution War leader in the south of Mexico.
Born in Anenecuilco in Morelos State in a family of peasants, Zapata dedicated his life to accomplish a land reform.
After the conquest the Spanish crown gave property titles to the native communities and recognized them as the original owners of the land. Once the country gained its independence those titles were annulled.
Under Porfirio Diaz government the Mexican social and economic system evolved to be a feudal system, with large estates controlling much of the land. The owners of these haciendas stole much of their land from communities that could not prove they owned it and then force the villagers into debt slavery on their haciendas.
Zapata supported Francisco I. Madero against Porfirio Diaz because Madero promised him to do a land reform. After Madero made it to the presidency he refused to do the necessary reforms therefore Zapata proclaimed The Plan de Ayala in November 25 1911.
Villa and Zapata ocupying the National Palace in Mexico City
In this Plan he disowns Madero as the President and called everyone to war, so that the original owners of the land would be entitled to it. The Plan headword was "Reforma, Libertad, Justicia y Ley" Reform, Freedom, Justice and Law.
In 1914 Francisco Villa, another revolutionary leader, from the North, added his troops to the Plan de Ayala. In 1916 Venustiano Carranza installed himself in Mexico City and after debilitating Villa's army in the North went after Zapata.
In 1919 Zapata was invited to a meeting with Jesus Guajardo, a Carranza General that made Zapata believe he was not happy with his superior. Zapata was killed in the meeting.
Zapata's influence continues to this day, particularly in the south, where his ideas are inspirational and he is remembered as a visionary and true revolutionary that addressed the root of most of the problems in Mexican society: The restitution of the land to its original owners and to the people who work on it.