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1763: Gabriela Silang

September 20th, 2012 Headsman

On this date in 1763, the mestiza Philippines national hero Maria Josefa Gabriela Carino Silang was captured and summarily hanged — along with a number of the soldiers she had led against the Spanish.


Monument to Gabriela Silang in Makati City, Philippines. (cc) image from Jun Acullador.

Gabriela took primary leadership of a 2,000-strong rebel army after its co-leader, her husband Diego, was assassinated by his enemies in May 1763.

Said enemies were the Spanish colonial authorities, whom Diego and his helpmate Gabriela had raised revolt against and with an army wielding homemade muskets and blowguns, driven from the capital of Ilocos Sur. It was Great Britain’s occupation of the Philippines during the Seven Years War that opened the opportunity for the rebellion: the British even appointed Diego Silang governor of the province his army was in the process of conquering. They just didn’t actually help him.

Spain’s assault on the rebels, once organized, was sufficiently overwhelming to drive Gabriela Silang out of the city of Vigan, and then to repel her counterattack — the occasion for her capture and her death.

Gabriela Silang is memorialized in a number of monuments and place names in the Philippines; the women’s organization GABRIELA also engineered its acronym to pay tribute to her.

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: 18th Century,Arts and Literature,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,Famous,Guerrillas,Hanged,History,Martyrs,Mass Executions,No Formal Charge,Occupation and Colonialism,Philippines,Power,Revolutionaries,Soldiers,Spain,Summary Executions,Treason,Wartime Executions,Women

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One Response to “1763: Gabriela Silang”

  1. 1
    Percival O. Flores Says:

    Thanks Headsman for that feature on our heroine Gabriela Silang. Mhy father is from Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and from childhood, I’ve been told so many stories of her bravery and that of her husband, Diego Silang.

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