Francisca (Pancha) Carrasco
Francisca Carrasco was born in Taras, Cartago in 1816. In a family mix of Mextizos (Mix between whites and indians) and Mulattos (mix between withes and blacks). Daughter of José Francisco Carrasco Méndez y María Trinidad Jiménez. Women weren’t able to attend school if they didn’t belong to a full Spanish family or were direct decedents of one. However and by her own means Pancha learned how to write and read.
Pancha’s (nickname usually give to the Franciscos /pancho or pancha/) public recognition began in 1842 when at horse backs and backed by several other women in the area. Stood against general Francisco Morazan. A military leader who planned to unify the resently independent countries of the old Capitanía General de Guatemala as one entity. While this incident was reported has a mare skirmish the very next the day began the movement that would stop General Morazan and his government.
1856 Campaign and the Battle of Rivas
However Pancha Carrasco became famous for a another event and that was the National Campaign of 1856 and the Battle of Rivas (part of the 1856 campaign.) Since 1855 Nicaragua was occupied by filibusters leaded by William Walker. The filibusters were originated in the South of the United States and arrived to Nicaragua on behalf on the “Democratic Liberal party” who had been fighting the official government of Nicaragua for years. By 1855 William Walker had declare him self president of Nicaragua and started moving to Costa Rica. His intentions were to secure the South of Nicaragua and the North of Costa Rica to create an inter-oceanic canal in the San Juan River.
Upon the menace of Costa Rica been invaded the Costarrican government lunch a recruitment campaign to reinforce the well trained but small Costarrican forces. Pancha Carrasco rapidly enlist. She was given women labors in the army such as cooking, and nursing the wounded. With 40 years of age Pancha march all the way from Cartago to Guanacaste. During the (Santa Rosa Battle 11th of April 1856) and according with several battle records Pancha Carrasco took a riffle and with a handful of men recover a cannon.
According to General Jose Joaquín Mora Porras. Pancha Carrasco shoot the bullet that kill the official in charged of the cannon. The image of fearless woman standing tall in a battle field and shooting the official brought fear to the filibusters. Who ran away on the sight a woman and the men charging behind her to recover the weapon.
After this event Pancha Carrazco fought as one more of the Costarrican army even going to the extend of been part of a costarrican patrol that march trough swamps, forests and rivers pushing Walker back until his subsequent surrender.
Returning home and the Cholera epidemic.
Once victorious the renaming costarrican troops marched back to Cartago. Heavily decimated by the conflict and a cholera epidemic Pancha Carrasco who had won the admiration and respect of the president and the officials in the army attended the sick and the wounded and buried the death.
When peace return to Costa Rica Pancha Carrasco went back to her humble home. The three times widow was left to her own means. Elderly and poor for a military pension. However Francisca died in extreme poverty the 31 of December of 1890. She was buried with military honors of a General.
In 1994 Francisca Pancha Carrasco was declared by the Senate “Defender of the Liberties of the State” With out her heroic action of recovering the cannon that boosted the spirit of the troops the end result of the Battle of Rivas could had been very different.
Today Pancha Carrasco and the brave men a women who fought as equals for the liberty of a nation are immortalize in the National Monument in the National Park.
In this 8th of March our sincere admiration a gratitude to all women. To those well known and those whom names history has forgot. Those mothers, daughters, doctors, wives, soldiers, nurses and forces of nature. We salute you.
This post is also dedicated to the five amazing women of Belleza Silvestre the reason why this website exist.
Ana María Alvarado Salaz
Alexa Ramírez López
Etilma Sánchez Carranza
Ileana Villafuerte Madrigal
Mireya Alvarado Zuñiga