Nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes. — G. K. Chesterton

Agustina de Aragon

(Maid of Sarragossa)

1786–1857
Civilization: Hispanic — Saragossa
   Field of Renown:  heroine — Soldier
Era:  Bourbon
hispanic
THE MAID OF SARAGOSSA

Agustina de Aragon is one of the most romantic Spanish heroines of the Peninsular War. She was the wife of a soldier, and when French troops unexpectedly invaded Spain in 1808, she joined the resistance. She was captured early in the invasion, but escaped, and with many other rebels, found her way to Saragossa, a fortified city determined to oppose the French invasion, at a time when many other cities submitted without resistance. Although dramatically outgunned by the French, the city of Saragossa made a spectacularly heroic defense. Agustina played an important part in the siege by herself manning guns and cannons, and in this way inspiring the Spanish defenders to terrific heroics.

The town could only hold out three months, but its conquest was won at great cost to the French, and not without the destruction of the entire city. The resistance of the Spaniards inspired Britain to commit the resources necessary for attempting to drive the French out of the Iberian Peninsula. Agustina escaped from the besieged city, and joined Wellington's troops as a regular officer, the only woman officer in the Peninsular army.


Key events during the life of Agustina de Aragon:


Year
Event
1786
Birth of Agustina
1802
Married an army officer
1808
March: France invades Spain.
1808
Captured by French troops but escapes; her son is killed in the process.
1808
December: Leads a heroic defense of Saragossa, when the French besiege the rebel stronghold.
1809
Fall of Saragossa in February 1809.
  Joins Wellington's troops as a regular officer.
1813
Front line battery commander at the Battle of Vitoria.
  Marries and lives the rest of her life in Saragossa.
1857
Death of Agustina.

Other Resources


Story Links
Book Links
King Joseph  in  A Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner
Siege of Saragossa  in  Historical Tales: Spanish  by  Charles Morris
Defense of Saragoza  in  The Struggle for Sea Power  by  M. B. Synge


Image Links


The Defense of Saragossa
 in Story of the Greatest Nations: Spain

The Maid of Saragossa
 in The Story of Napoleon


Contemporary
Short Biography
Jose de Palafox Spanish noble from Aragon who courageously defended Saragossa from a French siege during Napoleonic Wars.
Duke of Wellington Napoleonic war general who fought in Spain and Portugal. Defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.