Juárez was born in the small village of San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca, located in the mountain range now known as the "Sierra Juárez." His parents, Marcelino Juárez and Brígida García were peasants who died when he was three years old. 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 age of 12. On December 17, 1818, he walked to the city of Oaxaca looking to educate himself and find a better life. At the time, he was illiterate and could not speak Spanish, only Zapotec.
In the city, where his sister worked as a cook, he took a job as a domestic servant and eagerly made up for his lack of education. A lay Franciscan, Antonio Salanueva, was impressed with young Benito's intelligence and thirst for learning, and arranged for his placement at the city's seminary. He studied there but decided to pursue law rather than the priesthood. He graduated from the seminary in 1827 and went on to gain a degree in law.
Today Benito Juárez is remembered as being a progressive reformer dedicated to democracy, equal rights... [continua]
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