José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori (; Spanish: [po?'fi?jo ði.as]; 15 September 1830 – 2 July 1915) was a Mexican general and politician who served seven terms as President of Mexico, a total of 31 years, from February 17, 1877 to December 1, 1880 and from December 1, 1884 to May 25, 1911.
The entire period 1876–1911 is often referred to as the Porfiriato.A veteran of the War of the Reform (1858–60) and the French intervention in Mexico (1862–67), Díaz rose to the rank of General, leading republican troops against the French-imposed rule of Emperor Maximilian.
He subsequently revolted against presidents Benito Juárez and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, on the principle of no re-election to the presidency.
Diaz succeeded in seizing power ousting Lerdo in a coup in 1876, with the help of his political supporters, and Diaz was elected in 1877.
In 1880, he stepped down and his political ally Manuel González was elected president, serving from 1880 to 1884.
In 1884 Diaz abandoned the idea of no re-election and held office continuously until 1911.Díaz has been a controversial figure in Mexican history.
His regime brought "order and progress", ending political turmoil and promoting economic development.
Díaz and his allies comprised a group of technocrats known as Científicos, "scientists".
His economic policies largely benefited his circle of allies as well as foreign investors, and helped a few wealthy estate-owning hacendados acquire huge areas of land, leaving rural campesinos unable to make a living.
In later years, these policies grew unpopular due to civil repression and political conflicts, as well as challenges from labor and the peasantry, groups that did not share in Mexico's prosperity.
Despite public statements in 1908 favoring a return to democracy and not running again for office, Díaz reversed himself and ran again in 1910.
His failure to institutionalize presidential succession, since he was by then 80 years old, triggered a political crisis between the Científicos and the followers of General Bernardo Reyes, allied with the military and with peripheral regions of Mexico.
After Díaz declared himself the winner of an eighth term in office in 1910, his electoral opponent, wealthy estate owner Francisco I.
Madero, issued the Plan of San Luis Potosí calling for armed rebellion against Díaz, leading to the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution.
After the Federal Army suffered a number of military defeats against the forces supporting Madero, Díaz was forced to resign in May 1911 and went into exile in Paris, where he died four years later.