Sánchez de Thompson, María (1786–1868)

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Sánchez de Thompson, María (1786–1868)

María Sánchez de Thompson (b. 1 November 1786; d. 23 October 1868), author, social reformer. "Mariquita" Sánchez de Thompson was born in Buenos Aires, the daughter of a prominent local merchant. As a young woman she showed herself to be headstrong and independent, going as far as marrying the man of her choice, Martín J. Thompson y López Cárdenas, over parental objections in 1805. Thompson, a career naval officer, died in 1817, while returning from a diplomatic mission to the United States. A widow with five small children, Mariquita soon remarried (1820); her second husband was the young French consul in Buenos Aires, Jean-Baptiste Washington de Mendeville.

Her position in society secure, Mariquita then formed a salon that served as a meeting place for liberal politicians, poets, and other literary figures such as her friends Bernardino Rivadavia, Juan María Gutiérrez, Esteban Echeverría, and Juan Bautista Alberdi. A leading member of porteño society, Mariquita took a commanding role in the founding of the Sociedad de Beneficencia, and served as the organization's secretary and president. She pressed for elementary education for girls, founding schools in Buenos Aires and the surrounding towns.

Although her second husband was forced from his diplomatic post by Juan Manuel de Rosas and returned to France in 1835, Mariquita continued to live in Buenos Aires, serving as a magnet for the defeated unitarios. An outspoken foe of her childhood friend Rosas, Mariquita was alternately forced into exile in Montevideo and allowed to return to Buenos Aires between 1836 and 1852. After Rosas's downfall, Mariquita once again established herself in Buenos Aires, befriending a new generation of reformers, such as Domingo Sarmiento. She died in Buenos Aires just short of her eighty-second birthday.

Throughout her life Mariquita had been an avid letter writer, and her published letters, Cartas de Mariquita Sánchez (1952), provide an interesting view of daily life, politics, and society under Rosas. Her reminiscences of life in preindependence Buenos Aires, Recuerdos de Buenos Aires virreynal (1953), give a valuable albeit pointed view of late colonial society.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America; Women.


Jorge A. Zavalía Lagos, Mariquita Sánchez y su tiempo (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Rodríguez, Teresa V. Mariquita Sánchez y Martín Thompson: Un himno a la independencia y al amor. Buenos Aires: Planeta, 2000.

Sáenz Quesada, María. Mariquita Sánchez: Vida política y sentimental. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana, 1995.

Sánchez, Mariquita. Intimidad y política: Diario, cartas y recuerdos, compiled by María Gabriela Mizraje. Buenos Aires: A. Hidalgo, 2003.

                                      Susan M. Socolow

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Sánchez de Thompson, María (1786–1868)

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Sánchez de Thompson, María (1786–1868)