A Latina Rebel faces the Firing Squad 1817

As the firing squad readied their guns, one woman stood defiantly among the eight rebels kneeling in the central plaza of Bogota, Colombia, calmly gazing at death.  Policarpa Salavarrieta was one of the revolutionary leaders in Colombia’s wars of independence against Spain. La Pola, as she was known, worked with her brothers to organize a highly effective underground resistance movement.  She gathered intelligence to aid the rebel fighters, and recruited other Colombians to the movement.  Her activities were discovered by the Spanish colonists, and La Pola was executed on November 14, 1817. She refused to kneel in front of the firing squad, and as she stood, her last words reportedly were, “I have more than enough courage to suffer this death and a thousand more. Do not forget my example.” In commemoration of her heroism, November 17 is celebrated in Colombia as the “Day of the Colombian Woman”.

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