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What’s a girl to do?

10 April 2020

Today is the birthday of Leona Vicaro (María de la Soledad Leona Camila Vicario Fernández de San Salvador), born 10 April 1789 in Mexico City.  The “Founding Mother” of the Republic, she was a wealthy heiress under the control of her uncle (and lived next door to the Inquisition) when she took up a career as a spy for the independence forces (flirting with her uncle’s chosen… Spanish… suitors and passing off information via his clerk, Andres Quintano Roo), which she varied with setting up an underground newspaper, gun running, and hiding out revolutionaries on the lam.

When at last, the Spanish caught on, her little pranks she did not deny (to paraphase Tom Leher), and was tossed into the Belem… a convent cum women’s penitentiary.  With an assist from Andres Quintana Roo, she went over the wall to join Padre Morelos in the field, helping draft the “Sentiments of the Nation” (Mexico’s “Declaration of Independence”, fighting with the troops (still finding time to give birth to two daughters), and developing a career as Mexico’s first professional journalist. 

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