Federales is a short term for the Mexican Federal Police, the Federal Investigations Agency (AFI), or the Federal Preventive Police. The term gained widespread usage by English-speakers due to popularization in such films as The Wild Bunch and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
The singular "Federale" is in fact incorrect, since the Spanish language uses "es" to pluralize nouns ending in a consonant; therefore, the correct singular form is "Federal" (with stress on the last syllable, unlike the English adjective), though this term is ambiguous in written English. The term is a cognate and counterpart to the slang "Feds" in the United States.
Historically, "Federales" was also the common term used for the Mexican regular or Federal Army, especially during the 34 year rule of Porfirio Díaz until 1911. In part the expression served the purpose of distinguishing centrally controlled military units from provincial militias or rural mounted police (rurales). Following Díaz's overthrow by rebel forces led by Francisco Madero, the Federal Army remained in existence. The Federales were eventually disbanded in July and August 1914, after Madero's successor Victoriano Huerta was in turn defeated by an alliance of revolutionary forces.
- P.Jowett, pages 32–41 "The Mexican Revolution 1910–1920", ISBN 1-84176-989-4
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