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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Ana Betancourt

b. 1832, Cuba; d. 1895, Cuba

The Cuban war of independence from Spain began in 1868. Mambisas—rebel women—played a crucial role in the insurgency, as political agitators, nurses, and fighters on the front lines. Ana Betancourt, a mambisa from a wealthy landholding family, belonged to the first generation of Cuban feminists. In 1869, she addressed the Constitutional Congress on behalf of women’s rights, linking female emancipation to the abolition of slavery and the anticolonial struggle. Betancourt’s plea went unheeded.