Pizaña, Aniceto (1877–1957)

By: Carlos M. Larralde

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Updated: July 14, 2019

Aniceto Pizaña, poet and revolutionary, was born on January 2, 1877, at Rancho del Sombrento, Cameron County, Texas, to Rafael Pizaña and Dionicia Davila. His parents were from Tamaulipas. In time he owned a ranch, Los Tulitos, eighteen miles north of Brownsville. Pizaña and his wife, Manuela, had three children, but one son died shortly after birth. In 1904 he met Ricardo Flores Magón and became a follower of Flores's crusade. With Luis De la Rosa he helped formed the Floresmagonista movement in 1904 to redress the injustices done to Mexicans on both sides of the Rio Grande. In Brownsville Pizaña helped to form a branch of the Mexican Liberal party. By 1915 the party had joined other Floresmagonistas in using the Plan of San Diego to combat injustices by guerrilla warfare. The plan called for the American Southwest to become an independent republic. At first Pizaña did not fully support the PSD and headed a moderate faction favoring reform over revolution. His views changed, however, after an incident of August 3, 1915. A posse of Texas Rangers investigating a raid near Brownsville rode to Los Tulitos. A gunfight ensued. Several rangers were wounded, and Pizaña's wife, brother, and son were captured. The son was shot in the leg. Pizaña escaped intending revenge and decided to support the PSD. He was mostly responsible for the guerrilla activities of the revolutionaries, generally swift nocturnal attacks. He commanded a raid on the Dodds pumping station in Hidalgo County. Except for one or two attacks, however, he did not directly participate, but commanded the raiders from the Mexican side of the river. He used regular Mexican troops in the raids, weeded out ineffective men, and used strict discipline to produce troops of combat quality. By 1916 Mexican provisional president Venustiano Carranza was being pressured by the United States government to stop Pizaña's raids. Pizaña was arrested in Monterrey in February 1916. He later lived in El Encino, Tamaulipas, Mexico, until his death, on March 1, 1957.

Brownsville Herald, September 23, 1915. Charles C. Cumberland, "Border Raids in the Lower Rio Grande Valley-1915," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 57 (January 1954). James Sandos, Rebellion in the Borderlands: Anarchism and the Plan of San Diego, 1904–1923 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992).


  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Military
  • Mexican Revolution

Time Periods:

  • Progressive Era

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Carlos M. Larralde, “Pizaña, Aniceto,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/pizana-aniceto.

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May 1, 1995
July 14, 2019

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