Gamarra, Francisca Zubiaga Bernales de (La Mariscala) (1803–1835)

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Gamarra, Francisca Zubiaga Bernales de (La Mariscala) (1803–1835)

Francisca Zubiaga Bernales de (La Mariscala) Gamarra (b. 1803; d. 1835), Peruvian first lady and woman-at-arms. Gamarra was born in Cuzco, the daughter of a Basque merchant and a Cuzqueña. She abandoned a monastic career because of ill health and married the prefect of Cuzco, General Agustín Gamarra, in 1825. While the former commander of Peruvian forces under Simón Bolívar rose to the presidency of the country, the flamboyant Doña Francisca was making a reputation in her own right. Known as La Mariscala (the lady marshal) for her unusual martial skills, particularly precision shooting, use of the sword, and superb equestrianship, she was also known to lead troops into battle in the country's interminable civil wars. Her political acumen and daring were equally renowned, earning her the sobriquet "La Presidenta" while at her husband's side in the National Palace. Her picturesque career and life ended prematurely in exile and impoverishment in Valparaíso, where she died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty-two.

See alsoGamarra, Agustín .


Francisco Vegas Seminario, Bajo el signo de la Mariscala (1960).

Additional Bibliography

Takahashi, Mary. La pintura de miniatura en Lima durante la primera mitad del s. XIX: El caso de doña Francisca Zubiaga de Gamarra, La Mariscala. Lima: Seminario de Historia Rural Andina, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, 2006.

Vega, Carlos B. Conquistadoras: Mujeres heroicas de la conquista de América. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2003.

                                             Peter F. KlarÉn