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Women That Mattered in History

As March 8th, International Working Women’s Day, approaches again, it’s worth remembering those women who, for some reason, left trace for what they did. Some are well known, but others, like Manuela Malasaña from Madrid, are perhaps lesser known to the public.

Plaza Dos de Mayo, 28004 MadridStreet map of the district called after Manuela Malasaña.

May 2 Square nowadays.

The War of Independence in Spain against Napoleon’s troops was one of these wars in which the whole of the people went out in the streets to fight the invaders with whatever weapons they had with them -knives, scissors or pen knives.

This was Manuela Malasaña’s case who at the tender age of 15 went out to the Monteleón artillery park (today Plaza del 2 de Mayo as shown in photograph above) to fight the soldiers with a pair of scissors. This brave girl resisted rape by French troops to be then imprisoned and executed on the same spot where she had fought on May 2, 1808. 

She was buried in the “Buena Dicha” Hospital together with other victims of the massacre, being hers nº 74 out of a list of 409.

Her portrait can be seen in the Army’s Museum and in the gallery of heroines of the war of Independence.

On these days, a district in heart of Madrid’s city centre as been called after her as well as one of its main streets and an underground station. 

For some years the Malasaña District has been a trendy one with countless bars where youngsters mingle to chat with their peers. It was also popular among students and young people to sit in the square to drink beer, talk and to play instruments. 

Summery evening in May 2 square.

So, let’s pay homage to this young girl that worked as a seamstress in the neighbourhood and fought the invading troops with courage and just a pair of scissors.

(C) Copyright. Vicky Pino. January 29th 2013.

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