Benito Juárez (Spanish pronunciation: [beˈnito ˈxwaɾes]; 21 March 1806 – 18 July 1872) born Benito Pablo Juárez García, wasa Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, then 1861–1865,1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872. He resisted the French occupation of Mexico, overthrew the Second Mexican Empire, restored the Republic, and used liberalefforts to modernize the country.
Juárez was born on 21 March 1806 in a small adobe home in the village of San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca, locatedin the mountain range now known as the "Sierra Juárez". His parents, Marcelino Juárez and Brígida García, were peasants who both died of complications ofdiabetes when he was three years old. Shortly after, his grandparents died as well, and his uncle then raised him. He described his parents as"indios de la raza primitiva del país," that is, "Indians of the original race of the country." He worked in the corn fields and as a shepherd until the ageof 12, when he walked to the city of Oaxaca de Juárez to attend school. At the time, he was illiterate and could not speak Spanish, only Zapotec.
Inthe city, where his sister worked as a cook, he took a job as a domestic servant for Antonio Maza. A lay Franciscan, Antonio Salanueva, was impressedwith young Benito's intelligence and thirst for learning, and arranged for his placement at the city's seminary. In 1843 Benito married Margarita Maza.