Azurduy de Padilla, Juana (1781–1862)

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Azurduy de Padilla, Juana (1781–1862)

Heroine in the Argentine struggle for independence, whose military exploits have long been celebrated throughout Latin America. Name variations: Juana Azurduy. Born in Chuquisaca (now Sucre, Bolivia) in 1781; died in 1862; married Manuel Asencio Padilla, in 1805 (died 1816); children: one daughter.

Juana Azurduy de Padilla was born in Chuquisaca (now Sucre, Bolivia) and was educated in a convent before becoming a nun. After a few years, she left the cloister to marry a soldier, Manuel Asencio Padilla, in 1805. When the independence struggle against Spain in the Viceroyalty of La Plata began in 1810, Azurduy fought side by side with her husband. With his death in battle in 1816 at Viloma, she withdrew with rebel forces to Salta, where General Manuel Belgrano won a significant victory. Much admired for her courage and élan by the local commander, Caudillo Güemes, she received an officer's appointment in 1816 from the national executive of the provisional rebel government, Supreme Director Juan Martín Pueyrredón. Appointed a full lieutenant colonel, Azurduy had the right to wear a uniform and enjoy all the privileges of that rank. To dramatize the importance of her heroic reputation, General Belgrano, a hero of battles in Paraguay and Upper Peru, bestowed the sword of an officer upon her. After Argentina achieved its independence from Spain in 1825, Juana Azurduy retired from the military, returned to her home city of Chuquisaca, and lived quietly with her daughter.


Kirkpatrick, Frederick Alexander. A History of the Argentine Republic. Cambridge, U.K.: The University Press, 1931.

Wright, Ione S., and Lisa M. Nekhom. Historical Dictionary of Argentina. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1978.

John Haag , Associate Professor of History, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia