Women's Activism NYC

Ana Maria De Soto

1777 - 1800

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Ana María de Soto was born in Aguilar de la Frontera, Córdoba. In 1793, at the age of sixteen, she posed as as a man, using the name of Antonio María de Soto, and enlisted in the Navy Battalions. On January 4, 1794, she embarked on the frigate Mercedes. During her military life, she served as a soldier in the 6th Company of the 11th Marine Battalion, participating in the attack on Bañuls in Catalonia; in the defense and abandonment of Roses, Girona; in the Battle of Cape St Vincent; and in the gunboats of the Cádiz defense. De Soto was discharged from the frigate Matilde on July 7, 1798, when it was discovered that she was a woman during a medical examination. On July 24, 1798, too honor her heroic behavior, the King Carlos IV granted DeSoto the rank of Sergeant Major and a life pension of 2 reals daily. She was also authorized to use the colors of the naval battalions and sergeant badges on women's clothes. She was granted an absolute license on August 1, 1798. Ana María de Soto left the military and ran a tobacco shop in the town of Montilla (Córdoba), but under the regency of Fernando VII, this license was taken from her unfairly. As has happened with other national heroes, and more specifically heroines, the story of Ana María de Soto is quite unknown even to historians.

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