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  • Jennie Bjarnason

MARGARITA MAZA - FIRST LADY OF MEXICO

Updated: Apr 9

ON THIS DAY IN MEXICO - INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF MEXICO


Margarita Eustaquia Maza Parada of Oaxaca, Mexico was born on March 29, 1826, and served as First Lady of Mexico between 1858-1864 and again from 1867 until her death on January 2, 1871, as the wife of celebrated Mexican President Benito Juarez.


QUICK FACTS


  • Margarita Maza was adopted by Genovese agriculturalist Antonio Maza and his Mexican wife Petra Parada Siquenza.

  • Benito Juarez's older sister Josefa Juarez Garcia worked in the Maza-Parada home prior to Margaritas birth. That home is now a museum that honors Benito Juarez.

  • When Benito came to the city of Oaxaca in 1818, his sister Josefa helped him gain employment with the Maza family. This was 6 years before Margarita was born.

  • Benito Juarez was 20 years older than Margarita

  • Margarita and Benito married on October 31, 1843 in the church of San Felipe Neri, Oaxaca City.

  • Margarita Maza and Benito Juarez had 12 children, 5 of whom died in infancy. They also adopted Susana Chagoya, who was the daughter of Juarez from a previous relationship. There was also a son named Tereso, from that same relationship, whom Margarita became acquainted with later.

  • Their marriage was difficult, in that they spent a great deal of time apart, while Juarez was in political exile in Havana Cuba, and New Orleans, USA.

  • It was seen as highly unusual for a white woman to be married to an indigenous man. As noted by historian Enrique Krauze: "In this uncommon instance, a white woman had been conquered by an Indian, not a native woman by a Spaniard."

  • As an educated woman, Margarita likely had influence and participated in political discussions with her husband, though this was not recognized in her time.

  • During the French Intervention in Mexico, Margarita fled to New York City and Washington DC in order to keep her children safe. She met US President Abraham Lincoln.

  • Margarita Maza was a Liberal, and she raised her daughters to support any charity that supported the liberal cause, including troops and victims who had been injured during the war.

  • Margarita returned to Mexico in 1867 after Maximilian I was defeated. She died in 1871, from what is believed to have been cancer.

  • Benito Juarez and Margarita Maza are interred in the Juarez Mausoleum in Mexico City.


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