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Mariana Bracetti Cuevas (1825 - 1903)

Updated: Jan 17

Mariana Bracetti Cuevas was a patriot and a leader of the Puerto Rico independence movement in the 1860s. She is credited with knitting the flag which was used as the national emblem of Puerto Rico in efforts for independence from Spain and to establish the island as a sovereign republic. The flag became known as "El Grito de Lares Flag" and would become the official flag of the municipality of Lares, Puerto Rico. Bracetti was nicknamed "Brazo de Oro" (Golden Arm) for her sewing skills. Aside from creating the flag, Bracetti was also a key strategist for the Grito de Lares revolt.

El Grito de Lares Flag

El Grito de Lares, also known as the Lares Uprising, was the most significant uprising in Puerto Rico against Spanish colonial rule. The revolt took place in Lares, Puerto Rico on September 23, 1868. The revolt brought together roughly 1,000 rebels who fought against oppressive Spanish colonial rule. The revolt was quickly suppressed but it had important consequences for the island. The confrontation left eight rebels dead and two wounded.

The "Grito" is synonymous with a "cry for independence" and was also made in Brazil with el Grito de Ipiranga, in Mexico with el Grito de Dolores, and in Cuba with el Grito de Yara. The separatist mission happened almost simultaneously alongside the Spanish Glorious Revolution and the Cuban Grito de Yara. People of Puerto Rico annually observe Grito de Lares to commemorate the events of the first large uprising against Spanish rule in Puerto Rico.

Mariana Bracetti has been honored in Puerto Rico and elsewhere with schools, streets and avenues named after her. In Lares, there is a Mariana Bracetti Museum and in Philadelphia there is a Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School. The Mariana Bracetti Plaza and public housing development in New York City's Lower East Side was also named after her.

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