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Popular entre la tropa era Adelita la mujer que el sargento idolatraba y además de ser valiente era bonita que hasta el mismo Coronel la respetaba.”

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Arturo Hilario

El Observador

 In commemoration of the Battle of Puebla, or more commonly “Cinco De Mayo”, we recollect the history and experiences of all those people that helped shape the nation and lead it to a more democratic future. One of the most interesting things about the Mexican Revolution, which happened, the Battle of Puebla, was the Adelitas, a term coined to represent the soldaderas, or Mexican female revolutionaries who fought alongside the men in the war efforts.

  In the wake of the French push towards dominating Mexico there stood men, women and children who whether by force or will, stopped the advances and liberated Mexico to begin its ascent to the young, but definite, world power it is today. It was not the end of the trials though, as a massive Civil War would take 10 years, and countless lives, to bring about a balance that would finally lead to the present Mexican identity.

After the French-Mexican war was over, there stood a type of dictatorship in place of the French control. Known as the era of the autocrat, Proforio Diaz, his reign lasted around three decades, up until the Revolution where he was ousted and fled to France in exile.

During this era the rebellious Mexican forces acquired a new weapon, the female soldier.

Sometimes taken by force, these women, from ranches and villages, a great number of them indigenous and with no battle experience whatsoever, were turned into revolutionaries, spawning parables of these strong women. These legends and stories eventually led to a corrido song called La Adelita. According to folklore it was based on a true person.

The lyrics of the corrido, which idolize a woman soldier named Adelita, goes to express the sincere adoration for this person, how she is respected, strong and beautiful. This reflected the time period as the fascination and respect for these women historically was unheard of between the gender divide.

In the beginning these women of the revolution were aides to the fighting men, providing healthcare, food and cleaning services at camps, and wherever these soldiers were located at the moment. The shift towards fighting in the war was because of the desire of some of these women, who would have to disguise themselves as men in order to fight.

During this period of time women in the ranks were, in general not seen as equals to men. But, even through this, the women soldiers managed to help their male counterparts through espionage, (women would join enemy camps and obtain information) smuggling and actual fighting.

One of these heroines was Coronel María Quinteras de Meras, who was one of the most revered of these Mexican female soldiers. In fact, she led many battles for Pancho Villa, held a higher rank than her husband, who also fought in the same regime, and earned the respect of Villa himself. Historically, Villa was not fond of the women soldiers. So to have his esteem was a rarity, and definitely a validation of the tremendous skills of Col. Quinteras de Meras. Even within her unit, it was believed that she possessed supernatural abilities.


© 2011 news el observador ·A weekly newspaper serving Latinos in the San Francisco Bay Area
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