Sunday, November 18, 2007

The maid of Zaragoza

In the struggle between Spain and Napoleon's armies the city of Zaragoza lay under siege, continuously bombarded by enemy fire. As demoralised soldiers started to leave their posts, a young Spanish girl, 22-year-old Augustina Domonech, took over a cannon and began to return fire at the French, vowing never to leave the gun as long as she remained alive.

Augustina's heroic action brought the Spanish soldiers back to their posts, and the battle raged on. Eight months later, in February 1809, Zaragoza finally fell, overwhelmed by the might and persistence of the French. Augustina, however, escaped the ruined city to continue fighting for Spain.

Lord Byron celebrated the maid of Zaragoza in his poem Childe Harold, and her bravery earned the love and respect of all who met her.

Augustina's exploits continued during the guerrilla war against the French. Attacked in 1813 by three bandits, she left two dead, escaped with a wound to the cheek. In her words, it was only 'a severe scuffle'.

Augustina received three meals and a soldier's salary for her courageous acts.

No comments: