María Parado was an ordinary woman turned hero during the struggle for Peru’s independence.
She was born in Huamanga, Ayacucho in the 1760s, married in the 1770s and had seven children. It was in the 1820s that she decided to help the nationalists fighting against the royalist Spanish army. Her husband and son were fighting with the nationalists while she remained in the Spanish stronghold of the city of Huamanga (Ayacucho).
María Parado would regularly send letters, with the aid of friends, to her husband Bellido informing them of the Spanish movements. One such letter allowed the nationalists to escape the town of Quilcamachay before the Spanish took it the following day. The Spanish, however, found the letter left behind and this led to her arrest and detention.
The Spanish demanded she revealed her informants or face death. She refused and was put to death by firing squad.
The cell in which she was held before being executed can be visited in Ayacucho’s Plaza de Armas in the Casa Boza y Solís.