Mariana Grajales Cuello

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Mariana Grajales Cuello
Portrait of Mariana Grajales Cuello
Mariana Grajales Cuello

(1815-07-12)July 12, 1815
DiedNovember 28, 1893(1893-11-28) (aged 78)

Mariana Grajales Cuello[1] (July 12, 1815 – November 23, 1893) is a Cuban icon of the women's struggle and the fight for an independent Cuba free from slavery.[2]

Service to country[edit]

Mariana Grajales was born in Santiago de Cuba, daughter of Dominican parents and of mulato race, on July 12, 1815 and married to Marco Maceo in 1851. She bore thirteen children, nine to Maceo, giving birth to her last child at the age of 52. Mariana, along with her family, lived in the refuge of La Delicia in the barrio Majaguabo of San Luis, Santiago de Cuba, later running a mountain settlement and improvised bush hospital.[3]

Mariana and her family served in the Ten Years' War, Little War (1868–78) and the War of 1895.[2] Jose and Antonio Maceo Grajales, sons of Mariana, served as generals in the Liberation Army from 1868 through 1878. During her time serving in the war, Mariana ran hospitals and provision grounds on the base camps of her son Antonio, frequently entering the battlefield to aid wounded soldiers, both Spaniard and Cuban.[3][4]

José Martí, after witnessing Mariana Grajales and Antonio Maceos' wife, Maria Cabrales, enter the battlefield to rescue the wounded Antonio, remarked: "Faciles son los heroes con tales mujeres" (It is easy to be heroes with women such as these).[2]

Mariana Grajales Cuello[1] died on November 27, 1893, in Kingston, Jamaica at the age of 78.[3]

Posthumous recognition[edit]

In 1957 the Mayor of Havana, Justo Luis Pozo del Puerto, officially declared Doña Mariana Grajales de Maceo the "Mother of Cuba."[3]

On September 4, 1958, Fidel Castro, created the all women platoon, titled the "Mariana Grajales Women's Squad." The platoon was armed with the lightweight M-1 machine guns.[5]

The Mariana Grajales Airport and Antonio Maceo Airport were dedicated to the memory of Mariana and her sons' contributions to the Cuban struggle.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pullés, Víctor Manuel (2015): «Algunas informaciones necesarias sobre Mariana Grajales Cuello» (‘Some necessary information about Mariana Grajales Cuello’), article of June 25, 2015 in the Granma newspaper (La Habana). It states that her second surname was not "Coello" but "Cuello".
  2. ^ a b c Stoner, K. Lynn (December 1991). From the House to the Streets: The Cuban Woman's Movement for Legal Reform, 1898-1940. Duke University Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-8223-1149-6.
  3. ^ a b c d Shepherd, Verene (June 2005). Engendering History: Caribbean Women in Historical Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 296. ISBN 0-312-12766-9.
  4. ^ Navarro, Marysa (July 1999). Women in Latin America and the Caribbean: Restoring Women to History. Indiana University Press. pp. 66. ISBN 0-253-21307-X.
  5. ^ Office of Research and Policy (January 1992). Cuba Annual Report: 1989. Transaction Publishers. p. 227. ISBN 1-56000-016-3.

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