Phenomenal Woman: Gabriela Silang

María Josefa Gabriela Cariño de Silang, Anti-Colonial Revolutionary Leader:

Born on March 19, 1731, in Santa, Ilocos Sur, Philippines, Gabriela Silang would grow up to become the first woman to lead the Ilocano Movement for independence from Spain.

After the death of her first husband, she met future insurgent leader Diego Silan, they married in 1757, and became his closest advisor.

During the Seven Years’ War (1756 and 1763), when the British began their occupation of the Philippines, Diego sought their assistance to overthrow the Spanish and was assassinated on May 28, 1763.

Following Diego’s death, Gabriela took over as the commander of the rebel troops and was given the title of ‘Priestess’ by her community and followers. She laid siege to the Spanish occupied city of Vignan and was forced to retreat where she was unfortunately captured and executed by the colonizers.

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