The Revolutionary Corridor's Escape-Valve

Background Study

This project is a continuation from a previous effort to map the expansion of the railroad system during the Porfiriato Era (1876-1910) in Mexican history.  That effort led to the challenging attempt to visually input the census variation from 1910 to 1921 (the violent phase of the revolution).  Something I called “The Revolutionary Corridor” emerged from that revealing study.

The following map shows clearly the impact on population loss in this so-called corridor.


While this first map came to life, a thought arose thanks to the invaluable contructive criticism of UP206A classmates.  While the first map deals with “absolute numbers” the second map deals with “variation in percentages” in respect to the 1910 population by federal entity.  A new picture emerged from this alternative way of viewing the primary census sources.


Further thought on the possibility of finding the “bottle neck” of migration during the Mexican Revolution of 1910 led me to yet another way to look at the data available.  The following map surfaced: Population Variation by Age, 1910 (11-20) to 1921 (21-30) from the male population.  I considered the original ages (11-20) to be the age of most of the revolutionaries (the ongoing study in the selection of the age bracket will reveal more concrete patterns).



The major outcome of the previous maps highlighted the State of Tamaulipas due to its constant increase in population through the various modes of data analysis (specifically surpising in the age bracket map).  Thus, I have begun the same attempt made with the census data used for the federal entities (states) but now applying it to the municipio (county)…both in the Mexican border and the US Southwest.

The State of Tamaulipas in the lies in the North-East frontier, bordering the US State of Texas.  The following maps attempts to illustrate the reasons and support the hypothesis that this entity proved to be the “bottle neck” of migration, the revolutionary escape-valve.



Due to the problematic pursue of digital data in Mexico and the US has led me to create original DbIV files converted from Excel tables and/or Editing existing attributes tables by adding "fields" with the data acquiered from bibliographical materials (i.e. census).  However, this is a  time-consuming, energy draining task, especially without any other technological aids 
(e.g. notebooks, PDAs, etc.).

I selected the North District of the State of Tamaulipas (composed of 11 municipios) due to the lack of "total population by municipality" in the 1910 census.  While the 1921 census included this information for all of Tamaulipas' 37 municipios, the prior census did not.  In fact, in only included the total population of each "locality" in the state in alphabetical order (indicating its county and district).

The Border Towns/Counties


A further problem came up when the only census book (1910) available at the UCLA Library System was found at the YRL's Special Collections.  This limited time to work on data retrieval.  After 6 hours of going one-by-one of the locatities in alphabetical order I was able then to add them by county and also include the number of localities in each of the 11 selected counties.

The final count is 1,171 localities in the North District of Tamaulipas.  There is the possibility of a small margin of error for the locality count and the total population of a county.  These figures will be confirmed in the near future as my research continues.


Incentives: Transportation System (1921)
* Texas total railtracks tripled those of Mexico


From "The other side":
A remarkable similar picture is seen in the Texas counties bordering not only Tamaulipas, but also Coahuila and Chihuahua as well.  Due to lack of time, and poor data management, a map (like the railroads of 1921) joining both county data (Texas and Tamaulipas) was not possible at the time of this presentation.  However, it is not difficult to see where the border towns are geographically located.  The Texas counties below were selected by their geographical setting and/or their higher hispanic population (compared to the remanining counties).



Once again, I will refrain from calling this a conclusion due to the ongoing effort to map all the counties of the US Southwest and Mexico.  This project has been set to be presetable withing 2 years (2004-2005), being Mexico's data the most time consuming and difficult to attain and gather.

Nonetheless, it is interesting to visually analyze the border municipalities and the extension of the railroads across the two nations.  I believe that the assumption made in my earlier efforts, that Tamaulipas was the "bottle neck" state of migration during the Mexican Revolution, is now very feasable.  However, it imposes new questions: Did the migratory Mexican population settled in Texas? Where? What kind of work did they do? In the Urban or Rural areas? Where other US States (besides the Southwest and California) impacted like Texas?

The "Bottle-Neck" State of Tamaulipas and the "Escape-Valve" Border towns and US Railroad System in Texas gave way to a population of Mexican escaping chaos and battle during the turbulent years of 1910 to 1920.