Manuela Sáenz, “Libertadora del Libertador” 1797

A bold, courageous woman with a mindset that was centuries before her time, Manuela Sáenz was born on December 27, 1797 in Quito, Ecuador.  She could have had a comfortable life as a socialite married to a wealthy English merchant, but she decided to support the South American revolutionary movement against the colonial Spanish.  Sáenz left her husband in 1822 – a truly scandalous event in the early 19th century – to become the partner and lover of the leader Simon de Bolivar until his death in 1830.  Sáenz joined Bolivar in several military campaigns, and assisted wounded troops and managed supplies.  After Sáenz courageously thwarted an assassination attempt against him, Bolivar began to call her “Libertadora del Libertador” (the “liberator of the liberator”). Her work and her life were not widely appreciated until later in history, when her unconventional character became acknowledged and admired.