Sunday, September 11, 2011

On September 11

On this day in ...
... 1541 (470 years ago today), in what is now Chile, Inés Suárez committed what now would be understood as a war crime as a means to rally Spanish troops against indigenous peoples who were trying to recapture the territory on which the Spanish, just months later, had established the city of Santiago. To be precise, Suárez, then in her mid-30s, grabbed a sword and singlehandedly beheaded indigenous persons whom the settlers were holding hostage. She then took up arms and led the settlers to victory, as depicted in the painting at right. (credit) Born around 1507 in Spain, Suárez had journeyed across the Atlantic with her husband. He would die in battle; she would stay in the Spain's South American colonies and endeavor to set up "a new society based on Christian and egalitarian principles" with her lover, a Spanish field marshal. Known as a conquistadora española for the ferocity with which she fought, Suárez is the subject of a 2006 novel by Chile-born Isabel Allende.

(Prior September 11 posts are here, here, here, and here.)

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