Thursday, May 06, 2010
Antonia Santos Plata
Antonia Santos Plata was born in Charalá (in what is today the department of Santander) in 1785. While little is known of her early life, she came to the forefront in 1819 during the time of the Independence movement. She helped to organize guerrilla operations from her family home in El Hatillo, where she helped to provide supplies, direct counter-attacks, and encourage others to join them. She was part of a group known as the Guerrillas of Coromoro (approximately 40 people most of whom were her relatives that she herself had organized).
The groups operations were designed to help Bolivar cross the Andes. Captain Pedro Agustín Vargas (of the Spanish army) arrived at El Hatillo and found Antonia Santos there with her 15 year old niece, Elena Santos. Together Antonia and Elna as well as their two slaves, Juan and Juana, were arrested and taken to Charalá on foot and imprisoned.
She was sentenced to death by the Viceroy Juan Sámano and was executed on July 28, 1819. According to witnesses, she was accompanied in death by her slaves who refused to denounce her.
Following her death, the people of Socorro were enraged. They armed themselves with sticks, knives, machetes, swords -- anything -- and sought to avenge Santos' death. The Royalists were forced to flee to Oíba for their own security.