Who Was La Adelita?

 

 

 

 

 

          Soldadera during Mexican Revolution

 

Mexico is commonly perceived as a very “macho” country where women play a secondary role in many aspects of social life.

 

Perhaps these conceptions are not far from the truth in many aspects of life and in many places throughout the country. However, throughout Mexican history there have been women who for different reasons have stood out from traditional roles and empowered themselves through their natural talent, intelligence and contributions.

La Catrina, Mexican representation

From the Death

 

Outstanding figures such as Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Frida Khalo and the unfairly infamous Malitzin remain in the collective memory as some of the most important women who have contributed to the redefinition of the traditional female role.

Among these individual figures stands out la Adelita, whose transcendence is due to the fact that the name does not represent any particular woman, but a whole mass of women who fought during the Mexican Revolution (1911–1920). “As soldaderas, women were able to rise above some of the limitations in their lives. When soldaderas left home to take up arms, they left behind their traditional roles at the same time. Women shed their docile image, strapped on bandoliers and wielded guns – much like men. The idea that a woman could take up a non-traditional profession as a soldier was a radical idea.” (1)

 

 

The history of these women is not only interesting but enlightens us about the many ways they lived their lives around the historic circumstances of the times: “Women who fought in the Revolution did so for a variety of reasons. Elizabeth Salas provides a description of different soldaderas in her book Soldaderas in the Mexican Military: Myth and History Some women fought in support of revolutionary ideals like agrarian reform. Others fought because the men in their lives were fighting, and they wanted to support them. One example is Manuela Oaxaca, who was fifteen years old when she decided to follow her boyfriend into the war. Salas describes other girls as young as twelve and thirteen years old, who were forced to accompany their parents into war and later became soldaderas themselves. There were also women who did not become soldaderas of their own volition. Some women were forced to join the war after they were kidnapped by men in the Federal Army or the revolutionary forces. This was a common occurrence; many of the soldaderas joined the Revolution after seeing this happen to family members and friends. Angela Jimenez joined the war after watching her sister kill a soldier who attempted to rape her   and subsequently killed herself. This prompted Jimenez to avenge her sister’s death by joining her father in the Revolution, where she eventually attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. Additionally, older women entered the war seeking revenge for the death or capture of their husbands, sons, or brothers. Examples of such soldaderas include Señora María Sánchez, who took her brother’s place in a rebel army after his death, and Señora Pimental, who freed her son from a federal prison by killing two guards. Thus, women of all ages actively participated as soldaderas, albeit for different reasons.”

 

In the admiration and respect that all these women have inspired in me, lays the respect for all hard working, gifted and committed Mexican women who day by day leave their homes to maintain and support their families, raise their children, and provide the best life they can to their loved ones, just like my own single mother Rosa Lara did for my brother and me.

 

With the huge help from my friends Markus Mayer, Christy and Ranu Rojas, together we started Colegio Adelita in April 2010 (the 100th Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution).  It was those talented and brave Mexican women who inspired us to name the school: La Adelita Language School.

 

Ángel Rolando Rodríguez Lara

 

 

 

Story about the unique inspiration for the name Adelita to overcome very popular and representative among those men & women living and fighting side-by-side during the Mexican Revolution.

(Text on Spanish)

“La Adelita”, símbolo musical de la Revolución, nació en Culiacán

“Es indudable que uno de los corridos y cantos que se conocen en torno a los personajes, hechos y escenarios de la Revolución Mexicana, uno de los más conocidos es el de “La Adelita”, inspirado en una de las jóvenes que se enrolaron en aquel movimiento, bien para acompañar a sus hombres, o por rebeldía en contra de las injusticias.

 

Después de haber tomado la ciudad de Durango tremolando la bandera del constitucionalismo, Domingo Arrieta dispuso que su hermano Mariano, al mando de la Tercera Brigada de Caballería de su división, marchara en a participar en la campaña de Sinaloa, y en la toma de Culiacán, por las fuerzas de los generales Álvaro Obregón y Ramón F. Iturbe.

 

Como director de la banda de música de la brigada Arrieta iba el profesor Julián S. Reyes, quien, estando ya en Culiacán, en plática amena con los amigos, hablaba de las canciones regionales, y un señor apellidado Amezcua le silbó “La Adelita” al tiempo de identificarla como una de las expresiones costeras que cobraba popularidad en la región, y cuya música databa de una época muy cercana al maderismo, más o menos hacia 1909.

Después de tomar el dictado musical que Amezcua le indicó mediante silbidos, el maestro Reyes lo instrumentó para banda y lo incorporó a su repertorio como número preferente. Así lo fue tocando por todos los sitios de su tránsito, con la particularidad  de que  los  propios  músicos  de  su  banda alternaban la ejecución instrumental con el canto del texto.

 

En diciembre de ese mismo año, la brigada regresó triunfante a Durango. El día 12 de ese mes el general Mariano dispuso que la banda fuera a tocar al santuario de Guadalupe, en aquella ciudad, con la intención de agradecer a la Virgen que les hubiera permitido regresar sanos, salvos y triunfadores; en esa audición tocaron y cantaron “La Adelita”, y después la repitieron en muchas  ocasiones en las serenatas que semanariamente ofrecían en los parques citadinos, con lo cual la canción se popularizó pronto.

 

“La Adelita” fue interpretada también para celebrar los triunfos militares alcanzados por la División, y pronto se convirtió en himno de las fuerzas de los generales Domingo y Mariano Arrieta, a cuyos integrantes se les designó por eso con el sobrenombre de “Los Adelitos”.

Modern Adelitas

 

La División Arrieta concurrió a la toma de Zacatecas, y después continuó la marcha hasta entrar a la ciudad de México, de modo que “La Adelita” fue difundida en todo el país por la banda del maestro Reyes.

 

Posteriormente, Rufino Quiñones, subdirector de la banda de música del maestro Reyes, se dio de baja y se fue a trabajar a El Paso, Texas, acompañándole los músicos de la misma banda: Alejo Ríos, Juan Flores y Toribio Correa, y allá popularizaron “Las Adelita” como canción revolucionaria, lo cual determinó que se grabara en discos fonográficos, siendo éste uno nuevo motivo para contribuir a su difusión.” (2)

 

 

 





Extracts taken from:

 

(1) From Soldadera to Adelita: The Depiction of Women in the Mexican Revolution, Delia Fernández, Grand Valley State University

Recuperado el 10/04/16: http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1217&context=mcnair

 

(2) “La Adelita”, símbolo musical de la Revolución

Recuperado el 10/04/16: http://lacronica.culiacan.gob.mx/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/190-nov-19-2008.pdf

 

Adelita footer image