Mexican protagonists of history

There are many unknown women who built the history of Mexico; and others have been part of an unfair interpretation. “They were sold as slaves; they considered them saints and demons; they united many opposing worlds by means of the word… they pretended to be men to raise their people in arms; they conquered new lands, and shaped our destiny almost unnoticed, until now”, reads the back cover of daughters of history by Isabel Revueltas.

In more than 240 pages, the historian recounts the lives of 10 women who were key from the Conquest to the 20th century, and honors their memory through the method of historical construction that distances Manichaean stories from private and public life; from Malintzin, Tecuichpo, the Chinese woman from Puebla, Sor Juana, Marchioness Calderón de la Barca, Carmen Serdán, Antonieta Rivas and Dolores del Río.

In pre-Hispanic Mexico, Malintzin was sold as a slave twice by her people. “The heavy judgment of the legend, condemning her to be a kind of seductive and monstrous object, presents her as a cursed character: the traitor, the whore, the bitch, the traitor and, in the end, Malinche.” This description is a biased position, the young woman spoke three languages ​​and became the interpreter of Hernán Cortés. In other words, why is there talk of betrayal towards those who did not feel loyalty or belonging? “The Mexicas and her iron tax system led to her being sold as a slave… she didn’t feel anyone was hers, she started that strategy to restart her life once again.”

Another character is Tecuichpo or Doña Isabel de Moctezuma, eldest daughter of the former Aztec Tlatoani, who lived through the fall of the great Tenochtitlán, married six times, including some Tlatoanis and Cortés himself. Her people asked her to lead the resistance against the conquerors, but she preferred to evangelize the conquered and become the first woman in all of America to own land in New Spain.

One more story in Viceroyalty Mexico is that of Mirra Catarina de San Juan, better known as the China Poblana, who by the way was neither Chinese nor Poblana; but from the Philippines. Other women were Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, who had to be a nun in order to have access to books. And we arrived at Independence where Güera Rodríguez was one of the women who began the independence struggle through clandestine meetings.

In 2018 the magazine BBC History listed the five most influential women in history, in the first two places: Marie Curie, forerunner of the study of radioactivity and two-time Nobel Prize winner, and African-American activist Rosa Parks, who started the US civil rights movement. In Mexico the magazine Forbes presents a list of powerful women; this year his critics and critics confused the power of the public administration with political power, considering that the representatives of the government of the Republic, governors and ministers were not there. What Isabel Revueltas shows us is that power is not in a government organization chart, but in many areas from where the construction of a legacy begins through working, working and fighting for a cause, and without knowing it they are placed on top. of the history of Mexico.

Political and academic communicator of the FCPyS UNAM. Master in Political Journalism @gersonmecalco

We wish to thank the writer of this write-up for this outstanding material

Mexican protagonists of history