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The founding mother

23 August 2019

I’m somewhat surprised that no one has written an epic romance novel, or made abig budget film about Leona Vicario… María de la Soledad Leona Camila Vicario Fernández de San Salvador. to use her full name.  In 1810, at the outbreak of the Mexican war of Independence started, she was a 21-year old heiress to a mining and mercantile fortune, and a ward of the wonderfully villainously named Pomposo Santiago.  Extremely well educated for a young lady of quality, she naturally found herself less attracted to the various Spanish officers and aristocrats presented as suitors as she was to a penniless lawyer, Andres Quintana Roo.   Quintana Roo”s day job might be toiling away at handling Pomposo’s legal affairs, but at night he was writing and reporting for the underground independence press.

Joining Los Guadalupes, the anti-Spanish underground movement, gave Leona a reason to at least attend those boring receptions in the Viceroy’s Palace, and put up with the aristocratic twits uncle Pomposo would drag home…pretending to not quite understand their talk of troop movements, but, “oh do tell me more”, Which, of course, was being passed on via Andres to the Insurgents.

Considering her next door neighbor was the Inquisition, when she expanded her activities to secretly selling off jewelry to buy weapons, and became an active distributor (and sometimes editor and printer) of insurgent propaganda, some inquisitive soul was bound to notice.  Uncle Pomposo, of course!

Leona fled to the safety … relative safety… of Padre Morelos’ insurgent camp in Morelos, where she and Andres married, and she took an active role in drafting and writing the 1814 “Sentiments of the Nation”… Mexico’s “Declaration of Independence” and draft constitution, the first document to call for the complete elimination of legal racial discrimination.

As far as we know, it was a happy marriage, Andres going on to a career as one of the early Republic’s more competent leaders and having a state named for him while Leona’s merely graces a few municipalities and colonias around the country.  However, as “Sweet Mother of the Nation” (Dulcísima Madre de la Patria) she was the first… and only (so far) Mexican woman to have a state funeral, 25 August 1842.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gerrit permalink
    24 August 2019 2:27 am

    Very good section – and a great modernized portrait.

  2. norm permalink
    24 August 2019 6:07 am

    Netflix might option this idea for a film. They have a big Latin market in both the Americas and Europe. We are living in the most prolific period of TV production so far, they are desperate for good storylines. The above has romance, a number of villains, heroes in abundance and the line at the beginning that says,” the following is true”. It’s a flyer but writing is what you do; I’ve always thought you write well. You write the story out, Netflix will have staff that builds the dialogue. They are the most productive film production firm in the world right now-good stories are not that common.

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