Escalada, Asunción (1850–1894)

views updated

Escalada, Asunción (1850–1894)

Asunción Escalada (b. 1850; d. 1894), Paraguayan educator. At the time of Escalada's birth in the mid-nineteenth century, education in Paraguay was almost entirely limited to male students; women were rarely permitted to take part in education except occasionally at the primary level. Escalada dedicated her career to opening Paraguayan education to women at all levels.

The War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870) provided Escalada and other women with an opportunity to teach when so many male teachers were called to the front. She herself worked at a small primary school in the interior hamlet of Atyra. During the final stages of the fighting, however, Escalada was forced to abandon the town and accompany her grandfather, the noted Argentine educator Juan Pedro Escalada (1777–1869), on the tragic retreat to Cerro Corá.

After the war, Escalada convinced the new provisional government to fund the Escuela Central de Niñas, which she directed until 1875. This institution served as the model for the Colegio Nacional de Niñas, the best-known school for young women in today's Paraguay.

Aside from her efforts in education, Escalada was also instrumental in fomenting culture and the arts in the country, donating time and money to advance the career of guitarist Agustín Barrios and many others. She died in Buenos Aires.

See alsoEducation: Overview; Cerro Corá, Battle of; Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires; War of the Triple Alliance.


Carlos R. Centurión, Historia de la cultura paraguaya, 2d ed., 2 vols. (1961).

Charles J. Kolinski, Historical Dictionary of Paraguay (1973), p. 91.

Additional Bibliography

Stover, Richard D. Six Silver Moonbeams: The Life and Times of Agustín Barrios Mangoré. Clovis, CA: Querico Publications, 1992.

                                      Thomas L. Whigham