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Cristero War (1926 – 1929)

It is a movement that bears this name because the Catholic Church, tired by the prohibitions and racial preferences imposed by the Government of the day, rebelled against it and demanded to carry out their religious practices freely and without any type of restrictions or impediments by means of a civil-military war that today we know as the Cristero War , also named the War of the Cristeros.

When and where did the Cristero War take place?

First of all, we have to know that this opposition lasted for a period of three years, from 1926 to 1929 . For the year 1926 this conflict worsened because the authorities of the moment gave application to articles 3 and 130 of the reform of the constitution of the Republic of Mexico of the year 1917 in a forceful way through the Law of President Calles. These articles were intended to limit the religious freedom of the Mexican Catholic Church. The first armed movements of the Cristero struggle took place mainly in the countryside or rural areas of Mexico, among them are the states of Nayarit, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Querétaro and Jalisco .

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Who participated in the Cristero War?

The main people involved in the Cristera battle, also known as Cristiada, were Plutarco Elías Calles, ruler of the time and his servants or lackeys whom we can call the oppressive side because Elías Calles , with his so-called law, intended to deprive religious freedom to the Catholic leaders and parishioners, he even wanted to be the one who decided the number of religious personnel that the church could have at its service and even the nationality that they should have. It reached the degree of deporting from the country those who were foreigners and the local priests were subjected and made to go through a kind of census in order to have their approval.

On the part of the side that we can call defender, the Holy See was the main one , who was in charge of uniting and arming a group of believers that also included the hardened women and whom they called the Cristero army . Following a hierarchical order, these Cristeros were led by other people, such as Jesús Degollado Guízar, Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, Victoriano Ramírez López and Pedro Quintanar . All of them fought in the name of Christ and Mary of Guadalupe, in their battle cry, they clearly declared it.

Causes of the Cristero War

In addition to all struggles, disgust or disagreement about the treatment or abuse of certain powers is always involved, this is no exception. However, some of the causes were:

  • The arbitrary issuance and without the right to appeal of the Streets Law.
  • Religious prohibitions by the government.
  • The expulsion of foreign priests from the country.
  • The attempt to create a Church independent of the Vatican.


It is necessary to emphasize that this was one of the largest armed conflicts experienced in the Mexican Republic due to the great multitude of civilians who fought each other in battle and due to the great military movement that accompanied Plutarco Elías Calles in order to obtain dominance. This resulted in the momentary paralysis of clerical and religious activities , and an economic turn against Elías Calles and his government as an immediate consequence.

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There were also significant losses of life, some comment that the number of people killed during the Cristera ranges from 50,000 to more than 250,000 , including both civilians and military in this range and this without counting the results of oppression and persecution by Plutarco Elías Calles against anyone who disobeyed his Law, which would bring as a punishment that should be put on the firing line. Without a doubt, the results were disastrous.

Finally, it was with the departure of Plutarco Elías Calles from the government , when the new ruler Emilio Portes Gil, allowed Catholicism to carry out its spiritual activities legally but without meddling in the political affairs of the Mexican nation. By June 27, 1929, this war came to an end, as all the churches in the country along with their activities and services were restored , now all the parishioners could freely worship their God.


It is inevitable that when talking about a war in which each side defends its rights, we will not wait any longer than to reach the outcome of the matter so that the victor of it will be shown to us. But to tell the truth, in this armed struggle that was characterized by the large number of victims, no victorious leader stood out . However, we can conclude that in this conflict the Catholic religious group of Mexico managed to emerge victorious, which constantly fought for its freedom in order to practice its beliefs.

With this armed movement between civilians and military, the objective achieved was for the government to stop persecuting and harassing the parishioners of the Catholic Church and also that these Christians could continue to serve their God quietly and under law, since it was prevented from the same was modified as intended with the constitutional reform of the country, the famous and well-known Calles Law.

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