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General Manuel Castillo and family

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Juliana Gil, 1850


A Family of Generals

Leticia’s family on her mother’s side comes from a line of land holding families and famous generals. Leticia’s great grandfather General Antonio Sanchez Gamboa, had two sons both trained for the military; the older son, Colonel Antonio Gamboa fought in the war against the French occupation of Mexico in 1865; the younger son, General Manuel Castillo Palacios, was the father of Leticia’s grandfather, General Manuel Castillo Gil, who at the age of 21 was the youngest general in the Mexican Army. He fought in the Revolutionary War of 1910. This war, lasting from 1910 to 1917, led to many reforms in the Mexican government and eventually, in 1917, to the Party of the Mexican Revolution, whose name was changed to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), in 1946. This is the party that has governed Mexico from 1917 to the date of this book, 1998.

Leticia’s mother, María Elia Castillo, grew up with her father, General Manuel Castillo Gil. (He is the grandson of Colonel Gamboa, but has a different name since his mother remarried and changed the family name to Castillo.) Leticia’s Mother learned much history from her father. She relates that when he led an attack, he carried his sabre in his right hand, his rifle in his left and guided his horse by the positive pressure from his legs. He had the custom of shouting to his troops, “No se me arruguen, vencer o morir.” “Don’t shrink from battle, conquer or die.”


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