Chicago - Near North Side: Benito Juárez Statue
This statue of Mexican independence leader and president, Benito Juárez, was installed at the Plaza de las Américas off North Michigan Avenue on February 15, 1977. The unsigned, 2½-foot tall bronze sculpture was a gift to the people of Chicago by Mexican President José López Portillo.
Benito Pablo Juárez García (1806-1872), known as "Benemérito de las Americas." was known as the builder of modern Mexico. A Zapotec Amerindian orphaned at age three, he rose to governor of Oaxaca at age 41. Juárez served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872. Benito Juárez was the first Mexican leader who did not have a military background, and also the first full-blooded indigenous national to serve as President of Mexico and to lead a country in the Western Hemisphere in over 300 years. For resisting the French occupation, overthrowing the Empire, and restoring the Republic, as well as for his efforts to modernize the country, Juárez is often regarded as Mexico's greatest and most beloved leader.