Anita Garibaldi 1821-1849, 27 yrs
“For me, the truth has to be absolute. A relative truth is a half-truth and a half-truth is just a half-lie.”
‘Heroine of Two Worlds’
Laguna, Kingdom of Brazil
Romancist. Revolutionary. Soldier. Skilled Horsewoman. Mother. Seamstress. Leader.
Anita’s heart was one of a Revolutionary…
Her story of finding herself is waged through a war torn Brazil, then Uruguay…and then Italy. Her homeland was Brazil, born into a peasant family. She was not your average dame from the get go. While other girls were mastering the typical gender-role arts of sewing, cooking, and cleaning, she was breaking wild horses in the way of the Gaucho.
At age 14, she was pressured by her mother to get married and she found herself in a loveless, abusive marriage to an alcoholic. They weren’t married for too long, when the Ragamuffin War broke out in Brazil in 1835 (after achieving it’s independence from Portugal). Anita’s husband went off to fight for the Monarchist Forces and her life took a great turn.
Giuseppe Garibaldi had arrived from Italy to join the Rebel Navy in Brazil to gain war experience for his dream of unifying Italy. Upon meeting, Giuseppe claimed it was love at first sight. “You must be mine,” he whispered in Anita’s ear moments after laying eyes on her. From then on, theirs became a love story that is the very script many Romances draw from—oh love in the time of war… after war…after war. Anita joined Guiseppe aboard his ship and quickly became a well respected member of the crew. She was a Jane of many Jobs, mending uniforms, treating the wounded, as well as firing the cannons in battle…while pregnant.
After the birth of their first child together, Anita and Giuseppe decided to move to Uruguay for a quieter life to raise their son. They were married in 1842 in Montevideo where they had 3 more children. Only months after arriving, Uruguay broke out into a rebellion against the Argentina’s Dictator. Anita became the organizer for the residents of Montevideo in their 1847 defense of the invasion. She delegated how best to use their resources and skills and also designed and sewed the Red Shirts uniforms, in which Giuseppe’s rebel army were famous.
After the Uruguayan conflicts died down, Giuseppe was primed to pursue his dream. The Garibaldi family moved to Italy to join The Revolutions of 1848. Due to their rebellious reputation as a dynamic duo, the couple found they were incredibly well-known in Europe. The Italian Rebellion didn’t last very long and their reputation caught up with them from the enemy side. They became hunted by the armies of 4 different nations, a total of 65,000 soldiers were in pursuit of the couple.
They left their children with Giuseppe’s mother and were now on the run. Although they were able to evade their enemies again-and-again, this is where Anita’s life becomes the great tragedy that befalls the scripts of timeless Romances. She contracted Malaria and became pregnant as well. The couple was in constant pursuit, barely able to find refuge as they moved along in hiding. Anita remained vigilant, fighting off their attackers alongside the fever. Eventually Malaria claimed her exhausted body.
Anita died in Giuseppe’s arms one evening in a farmhouse near Ravenna, Italy—7 months pregnant with their 5th child and just a month shy of her 28th birthday. With barely time to grieve, Giuseppe had to quickly bury her body to avoid being captured by the Austrian Army. Giuseppe was able to escape Italy unharmed and he remained in asylum for 10 years. When he returned, he had Anita’s body moved to Nice and buried in his family plot with a proper funeral.
Giuseppe’s love for Anita did not die with her. In 1860, when Italy finally unified under one flag, Giuseppe rode out on horseback in Teano. He was seen wearing Anita’s striped scarf over his poncho in honor of her as he hailed the victory of his dream come true. Anita is renowned both in South America and Italy as The Heroine of Two Worlds.
The statue depicts Anita Garibaldi from her early days of fighting along Giuseppe in Brazil— mounted on a rearing horse, raising a pistol in her right hand, while holding their first baby son close in her left arm, as she leads her husband’s army to victory.
Resources: Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath, Wikipedia, FindTheGrave.com
Statue – Waymarking Gallery