The role of women in the Independence of Mexico was crucial in all strategic areas whether on the battlefield as Altragracia Mercado, the woman who financed and led her army in Morelos or as the case of María Fermina Rivera fought for love of the country with her husband taking the arms of fallen soldiers. But there were also women in the aristocracy who stayed close to the Viceroy to orchestrate with the conspirators the activities that later consummated the freedom of the country.
La Güera Rodríguez, the beautiful woman who made cohesion for the feat of Independence
María Ignacia Rodríguez de Velasco de Osorio Barba y Bello Pereyra, better known as María Ignacia Rodríguez de Velasco or simply as Güera Rodríguez, became a notable and prominent woman in the New Spain aristocracy, in addition to having been one of the lesser-known national heroines , probably because it broke with the stereotypes of that time.
The participation of María Ignacia Rodríguez in the consummation of the Independence of Mexico has been a very controversial issue. According to some sources, he supported Agustín de Iturbide to carry out the national freedom plan for the Mexican people.
Artemio del Valle Arizpe argues “on September 27, 1821, the Trigarante Army made its showy triumphal entry into Mexico […] The race that the Liberation Army was going to follow would be from Tlaxpana through San Cosme, to pass in front of the Viceregal Palace, but Iturbide diverted the column down Profesa Street where the house of Doña María Ignacia Rodríguez de Velasco was located, to to witness the parade and see him very arrogant at the head of his undefeated troops ”.
This led to the mention of the alleged relationship between Agustín and “La Güera”, who notably influenced the political vision of the first emperor of Mexico. Her work was not only related to Independence and support for the insurgents, but also for being a transgressor of female duty.
At the age of 16 he met the scientist Alexander Von Humboldt, with whom he had a strong friendship attributing a sentimental relationship between the two, without evidence of it. Likewise, a year later he remained close to Simón Bolívar, with whom he was also romantically linked years later, whom he met on a trip on the San Ildefonso ship that was going to Spain, making a stopover in Mexico.
From here the first rumors of the adulteries of La Güera are born. But in the long cars the husband could prove nothing, and the evidence rather suggests that she was a long-suffering and abused wife. In fact, Villamil’s relatives, friends and colleagues sided with his wife, who claimed to be the innocent victim of his volatile and violent character – and some had even found her “drenched in blood” from the beatings he gave her. After four months, Villamil dropped his lawsuit. At some point the couple met and on June 12, 1805, their last daughter was born. But the marriage had ended a few months before with the death of the captain.
Subsequently, Rodríguez contracted a second marriage with Mariano Briones, an elderly man of great wealth, who died months later and from whom she had a son. On that occasion he inherited a great fortune. Finally, she married Manuel Elizalde, with whom she lived until his death. After the death of Güera Rodríguez, Elizalde dedicated himself to the priesthood.
He died in Mexico City on November 1, 1850.
The writer Guillermo Barba, who seeks to vindicate the image of what can be considered the first feminist in Mexico, comments:
“La Güera was free of body, but also free of mind. She had two stigmas: the first, to achieve her own freedom as a woman, and the second, the freedom of her homeland. He got both despite having a family and putting his wealth at risk. From 1808 until the consummation of Independence in 1821, she remained a widow, was the mother of five children, risked her life, faced the Inquisition and conspired to achieve the libertarian dream. “
Ana Yraeta, the woman who led an army of 2,500 female spies
Ana Yraeta is synonymous with brave and empowered women.
It followed and disseminated the intellectual debates that were manifested in brochures and gazettes between the years 1809–1821, a period in which the different political models that were to be experienced in the first decades of the 19th century were outlined.
Ana had a unique role as the host of the gatherings in which she was informed about the events of Europe and America. A regular reader of newspapers and gazettes, she distinguished herself as a sponsor of various political factions.
Founded The Patriots Navy, the first known secular women’s organization in Mexico City, was made up of 2,500 women who changed the opinion of the judges of New Spain by recognizing their ability to lead and defend their political positions. The Patriots Navy they spied on the male circles close to the viceroy. Many of them were executed, imprisoned, deprived of their property and deported for their activities.
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