Leona Vicario

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Leona Vicario de Quintana Roo

Leona Vicario, also less commonly known as Leona Vicario de Quintana Roo (April 10, 1789 – August 24, 1842) was a supporter of the Mexican War of Independence. From her residence in Mexico City, she was able to provide intelligence and money to the rebel movement.

Biography[edit]

She married fellow insurgent Andrés Quintana Roo. They are buried together in the Independence Column in Mexico City. Leona Vicario was named by a special commission ordered by then President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna as the "Sweet Mother of the Fatherland" (Benemerita y Dulcisima Madre de la Patria) in August 1842 only days after her death, she was buried in Mexico City and is the only civilian woman to have received a State Funeral. In February 2010, seven months before Mexico celebrates its 200 years of independence, Mexican writer Carlos Pascual published the novel "La Insurgenta" and by a mix of historical facts and fictional event he tells the story of Leona Vicario as well as the story of many others who participated in the war for and against Mexican independence from the Spanish Empire.

Statue of Leona Vicario located at a plaza on corner of Republica de Brasil and Republica de Nicaragua in the historic center of Mexico City.

She became an orphan while very young and an uncle took her in. She met Andrés Quintana Roo and decided to collaborate in the independence movement. She served as a messenger, helped fugitives, sent money and medicines and helped in all she could.

She was arrested in 1813 for participating in the insurgency. When she was discovered, Leona was sent to prison and all of her belongings were confiscated. She was later freed by the insurgents and escaped to Michoacan to meet Andrés Quintana Roo, who later became her husband. In 1818, she was jailed again but received a pardon with the condition that she abandoned the movement. Vicario and her husband were under vigilance until the independence movement succeeded in 1821.

Her profile also appears on a version of the $5 Mexican coin, surrounded by the words "BICENTARIO DE LA INDEPENDENCIA," meaning "Bicentennial Anniversary of Independence."

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