Manuela Beltrán circa 1781
Art by Molly Ostertag (tumblr, website, webcomic)
Many of the details of Manuela’s life are lost to history, but she is known to have been the owner of a small grocery store in Socorro, Colombia.  It was uncommon for a Colombian woman of that time to own her own business.  In 1781, the Spanish colonial government posted an edict announcing an increase in taxation.  Illiteracy was widespread and as one of the few locals who could read, Manuela read the edict aloud to the crowd.  Outraged, she tore up the edict, setting off a strike that spread through what is today Colombia and Venezuela.  The strike was ultimately unsuccessful and many of its leaders were executed.  The fate of Manuela Beltrán is unknown.  A university in Bogotá is named in her honor.

Manuela Beltrán circa 1781

Art by Molly Ostertag (tumblr, website, webcomic)

Many of the details of Manuela’s life are lost to history, but she is known to have been the owner of a small grocery store in Socorro, Colombia.  It was uncommon for a Colombian woman of that time to own her own business.  In 1781, the Spanish colonial government posted an edict announcing an increase in taxation.  Illiteracy was widespread and as one of the few locals who could read, Manuela read the edict aloud to the crowd.  Outraged, she tore up the edict, setting off a strike that spread through what is today Colombia and Venezuela.  The strike was ultimately unsuccessful and many of its leaders were executed.  The fate of Manuela Beltrán is unknown.  A university in Bogotá is named in her honor.