Day of Colombian Women

November 14 is Day of Colombian Women in honor of Policarpa Salavarrietta (c. 26 January 1795 – 14 November 1817,) also known as “La Pola,” who was executed on that day by Spain as a spy and supporter of Colombian independence.

Her family was not titled but was respectably well-off. The small pox epidemic of 1802, however, deprived Policarpa of both parents and two siblings. The children were sent to live with relatives and La Pola became a seamstress.

She lived in Guaduas which was the most important city on the route from Bogotá to the Magdalena River and onto the Caribbean Sea. As such, it was a center of commerce and information.

Her work as a seamstress put La Pola into the homes of wealthy Spaniards and the conversations she overheard gave valuable information to the insurgency.

She was eventually discovered and arrested. On the way to her execution, instead of repeating prayers, she cursed the Spaniards and predicted their defeat.

According to legend, she spent the night before her execution loudly denouncing her captors. She she stopped tired and thirsty was offered a glass of wine by a soldier, which she threw in his face.

Her image is displayed on Columbian currency and postage stamps. The “Diez Mil Pesos” bill ($10,000) is currently the only denomination with Policarpa Salavarrieta’s image still in circulation.

Summarized from Wikipedia.


This is an image of the bill provided by Banco de la República Colombia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alive 2.5 Generic license.


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