Juana Azurduy, the heroine of Independence who died poor and alone

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Juana Azurduy was born on July 12, 1780 in Chuquisaca, Bolivia. Daughter of Eulalia Bermúdez and Matías Azurduy, she was raised with a freedom that was not characteristic for girls of that time. He grew up doing rural tasks, considered male at the time, along with his father, who owned some lands, and the native people who work on them. This allowed little Juana to have a command of the Quechua and Aymara languages, which her mother had taught her and which she used to practice with the workers, in addition to adopting certain skills that she would use in the future.

After having lived with his uncles and later in a convent, since he suddenly lost his parents at an early age, in 1805, at 25, she married Manuel Ascencio Padilla, belonging to a neighboring family and a friend of her parents, with whom she later had Five sons.

Together they joined the Chuquisaca Revolution, uprising against the Royal Spanish Court of Charcas that had its headquarters there, the May 25, 1809, in the city belonging to the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata (currently, Sucre).

On 1812, both supported the Auxiliary Army of the North sent from Buenos Aires and led by Manuel Belgrano, and created the Battalion “Los Leales”, to whom Juana herself taught war tactics to fight against the royalist troops in Upper Peru.

Between fights, Juana and Manuel lost their four children, who had been hungry and cold and had contracted malaria. Later, it was Padilla who died. She was pregnant with her fifth child, the third woman. However, despite the pain and her pregnancy, she continued in combat and she was appointed as lieutenant colonel by the supreme director of the United Provinces of Río de la Plata, Juan Martín de Pueyrredón, in 1816. Because of his courage and bravery, Belgrano decided to give him his saber in recognition of his dedication on the battlefield. In addition, he moved to Salta and joined the guerrilla under the command of Miguel Martín de Güemes, whom he accompanied until his death in 1821. This meant the end of the career of Juana who in 1825 undertook her return, together with her daughter, to Chuquisaca. But there his properties had been confiscated after the defeat of the patriotic forces in the battle of Huaquí and, on the other hand, no one recognized his work.

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Finally, On May 25, 1862, she died at the age of 81 alone and immersed in poverty. She was buried in a common grave and 100 years later her remains were exhumed and transferred to a mausoleum located in Sucre. Just in June 2009, 147 years after her death, she was promoted to General of the Argentine Army. In addition, his date of birth was honored with the international treaty that establishes the day of the Argentine-Bolivian Confraternity. Finally, in 2015 his statue was installed in the Plaza Colón, but in 2017 its location was modified and, currently, it is located in the Plaza del Correo.

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