María Gertrudis Bocanegra de Mendoza de Lazo de la Vega (April 11, 1765, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, New Spain–October 11, 1817, Pátzcuaro) was a woman who fought in the Mexican War of Independence. She was arrested, tortured and executed in 1817.
Bocanegra was born in 1765 to prosperous Spanish parents in what is now the Mexican state of Michoacán. She married Lieutenant Pedro Advícula de la Vega, a soldier in the Spanish provincial forces of Michoacán. Unusually for a woman of her time, Bocanegra had read the principal authors of the Age of Enlightenment. When Mexico's War of Independence began, she was quick to take sides. She served as a messenger for the insurgents in the region of Pátzcuaro and Tacámbaro, helping to form a communications network between the principal locations of the rebellion. Her husband and one of her sons joined the forces of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla when the insurgents passed through Valladolid (now Morelia) in October 1810. Both of them died in the war.
During the guerrilla war, she was sent to Pátzcuaro to aid the rebels in the capture of the city. However, she was betrayed and taken prisoner by the royal army in 1817. She was subjected to torture to get her to reveal the names of other rebels, but she refused to give information to the Spaniards. Finally she was tried and found guilty of treason.
She was sentenced to death, and the sentence was carried out October 11, 1817 in Pátzcuaro, where she had been born 52 years before. Facing the firing squad, she harangued her executioners before she was shot.
She is known in Mexico as La Heroína de Pátzcuaro. A plaza was named in her honor in that city, and a bronze statue was erected of her.
- This article is a loose translation of the Spanish Wikipedia article
- Salmonson, Jessica Amanda (1991). The Encyclopedia of Amazons. Paragon House. page 35. ISBN 1-55778-420-5
- (Spanish) "Bocanegra de Lazo de la Vega, Gertrudis," Enciclopedia de México, v. 2. Mexico City, 1988.