Manuela Malasaña

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Manuela Malasaña Oñoro (Madrid, Spain, March 10, 1791 - Madrid, May 2, 1808) was one of the victims of uprising against the troops of Napoleon I of France stationed in the Spanish capital during the Peninsular War also called Spanish War of Independence.

She was the daughter of the French baker Jean Malesange, hispanicized "Malasaña", and his wife Marcela Oñoro. She was a seamstress and lived on the fourth floor of number 18 San Andres Street, the neighborhood then known as Maravillas (now commonly known as Malasaña).

On May 2, 1808, Manuela was only 17 years. The legendary version of her death says she fought the French, working in the defense of Artillery Monteleón, led by Pedro Luis Daoiz and Velarde. Her father fired against the French from the balcony of her house and she gave him gunpowder and munitions, until she died when she was struck by a bullet. However, the scholar Carlos Cambronero discovered the death certificate of Jean Malasgne, proving he had died before the uprising.

It is possible, though not certain, that Manuela Malasaña had fought in the park of artillery Monteleón, as it is known that other women from the neighborhood did, but the generally accepted version is that she would have remained sheltered from the fighting in the embroidery workshop where she worked, by order of the owner of the workshop. When the shooting stopped, she returned home.

Upon returning, Manuela Malasaña had the misfortune to find French soldiers who tried to grope her under the pretext of being registered. She threatened them with scissors, for fear of sexual abuse or worse. Then the French accused her of carrying "weapons" and immediately shot her. According to this version Manuela died after 18 hours in the current Plaza del Dos de Mayo.

Her body was registered under number 74 in the list of 409 victims of that day, documentation is kept in the military and Municipal Archives of Madrid. She was buried in the Hospital de la Buena Dicha, today Church of Buena Bicha, in Silva Street, which was founded in 1594 and was home to poor people. Here they were attended many of the wounded at the May 2 and buried many of the fallen.

Her portrait is in the Hall of Heroines of the Army Museum and is the work of José Luis Villar and Rodriguez de Castro.

Manuela had to be known in her neighborhood for her youth and charm, and the fact of dying so young and giving her life to the cause of freedom made her create her memory about a great legend of heroine. Madrid dedicated to her memory a street with her name in her old neighborhood of Wonders, which crosses San Andres Street near where she lived. By extension, in the 80s, all Maravillas district became known as Malasaña neighbourhood in Madrid. Móstoles also took time after a street and a metro station on line 12 MetroSur.


  • RÉPIDE, Pedro de. Las calles de Madrid. Madrid: Editorial Afrodisio Aguado, 1981. ISBN 84-202-0001-8
  • MESONERO ROMANOS, Ramón de. El antiguo Madrid. Primera parte. Madrid: Renacimiento, 1925.