Salavarrieta, Policarpa (1795–1817)

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Salavarrieta, Policarpa (1795–1817)

Policarpa Salavarrieta (b. 26 January 1795; d. 14 November 1817), heroine of Colombian independence. Born into a respectable creole family, Policarpa Salavarrieta ("La Pola") grew up in Guaduas, a way station between Bogotá and the Magdalena River. When the independence movement started, she became a strong sympathizer, and the flow of traffic through her town kept her well informed. With the Spanish reconquest of New Granada in 1816, Salavarrieta began providing information and other assistance to the patriot underground, first in Guaduas and then in Bogotá, where it was easier for her to remain inconspicuous. Nevertheless, her key role in the urban network of the resistance was discovered, and she was condemned to death. She went to her execution shouting a tirade against Spanish oppression. Salavarrieta's place in the pantheon of patriot martyrs is indicated by the fact that she was the first Latin American woman commemorated on a postage stamp, one of Colombia's 1910 independence-centennial issue.

See alsoWomen .


Oswaldo Díaz Díaz, Los Almeydas: Episodios de la resistencia patriota contra el ejército pacificador de Tierra Firme (1962).

James D. Henderson and Linda Roddy Henderson, Ten Notable Women of Latin America (1978), chap. 5.

Additional Bibliography

Alvarez Guerrero, Rafael. Policarpa: Ûna heroína genio-?. Guaduas: Centro de Historia de la Villa, 1995.

Anseume, William, editor. El drama en Venezuela durante los primeros cincuenta años del siglo XIX: Antología comentada. Caracas: CELCIT, 1998.

                                        David Bushnell