Two hundred Mexicans killed by Americans
American 'Jackies' firing down a Vera Cruz side street on the day they landed in the Mexican port city Photo: Illustrated London News [London, England], 16 May 1914

Two hundred Mexicans killed by Americans

Battle for Vera Cruz nearly at an end

Published: 23 April 1914

More than 200 Mexicans have been killed in fighting with American marines at Vera Cruz in northern Mexico.

The Mexicans were resisting American forces in a dispute that is escalating by the day. The initial advance of the Americans had met with no resistance, giving the belief that Mexican forces would comply with American demands for surrender. This quickly gave way to sporadic shooting, however, and this was followed by fighting in earnest. 

American warships ferried reinforcements to Vera Cruz - a major port city on the Gulf of Mexico - and, supported by naval guns, American forces have taken most of the city. Martial Law has been declared and up to 20 Americans have also lost their lives in the fighting.

The Americans say that they are now in control of Verz Cruz, with only isolated pockets of Mexican resistance producing occasional sniper fire.

American Navy vessels landing at Vera Cruz. (Image: Illustrated London News [London, England], 16 May 1914)

The battle for Vera Cruz comes in the middle of a civil war in Mexico as rebels led by Pancho Villa attempt to overthrow the government of General Victoriano Huerta. General Huerta’s regime is not recognised by Washington and the American ambassador has been withdrawn from Mexico City.

Under President Woodrow Wilson, American warships have been stationed in the Gulf of Mexico, ready to intervene to protect American interests.

The incident which sparked the current dispute occurred at the beginning of May; American marines landed to collect gasoline drums, but were arrested by the forces of General Huerta. The marines were quickly released, but Admiral Henry T. Mayo demanded that the American flag be raised and be given a 21-gun salute in the city.

General Huerta apologised for the arrests but refused to countenance saluting the American flag as the Americans had not  been willing to officially recognise his regime.

When the deadline for the salute passed without satisfaction on 19 April, the invasion of Vera Cruz began, leading to the current fighting.

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