Agustina de Aragon

(Maid of Sarragossa)


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:

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

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.