Anita Garibaldi: meet the Brazilian revolutionary

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Ricky Joseph

Anita Garibaldi, born Ana Maria de Jesus Ribeiro, was an important Brazilian revolutionary who participated in the Farrapos War, the Battle of Curitibanos and the Battle of Gianicolo in Italy.

For having acted in both countries and stood out during the conflicts, Anita Garibaldi became known as the "Heroine of the Two Worlds".

Early life of Anita Garibaldi

Anita was born on August 30, 1821 in Laguna, the capital of Santa Catarina. She was the daughter of Bento Ribeiro da Silva and Maria Antônia de Jesus, both of humble origin who lived a simple life.

Anita lived for most of her childhood in a rustic house of pau-a-pique located in the town of Morrinhos. However, because her father died early, between 1833 and 1835, Anita had to marry early to help support the family.

On her 14th birthday in 1835, Anita married a shoemaker from the city named Manuel Duarte de Aguiar, in the Mother Church of Santo Antônio dos Anjos da Laguna. Their marriage was marked by the disinterest of both to build a married life, so much so that they never had children.

Besides her disinterest, Anita was a young woman of independent character who had her own opinions. At the time, she liked to participate in issues that promoted freedom and justice in the country, which was totally contrary to the ideas of her husband who defended the monarchy.

Because of this, after a few years of marriage, her husband enlisted in the Imperial Army between 1837 and 1838, abandoning his young wife. But soon after he left, Anita met Giuseppe Garibaldi, who sought exile in Brazil after being sentenced to death in his country, and from then on she became closer to the revolutions of the time.

Battles and revolutions

The first revolution Anita took part in was the Farrapos War, and as soon as she heard about it she got involved in supporting the cause. It was at that time, when she was 18 years old, that Anita and Garibaldi met and fell in love at first sight.

After their first meeting they were never separated again and continued firm and strong in the revolutions they encountered. On October 20, 1839, Anita officially began to follow Garibaldi, boarding his ship for a military expedition to Cananéia.

There she proved her courage in fighting, where she took a great risk by using a small combat speedboat to carry ammunition to her allies amidst veritable carnage.

The next year, in 1840, Anita also participated in the Battle of the Curitibanos, where she ended up being captured by the Imperial Troop. However, Anita took advantage of a moment of military carelessness and managed to escape. At the time, the commander of the Imperial Army convinced her that she could look for the corpse of her husband who had supposedly been killed in battle.

At this moment, the young woman took advantage of the guards' distraction and fled on horseback until she reached the Canoas River, where she swam to Rio Grande do Sul to meet her husband in Vacaria eight days later.

The most surprising thing is that at the time of the escape, Anita was pregnant with her first child, who gave birth on September 16, 1840 and baptized him Menotti Garibaldi, in honor of the Italian patriot Ciro Menotti.

However, only 12 days after the birth of the child, the imperial army found the place where the couple was and surrounded it, but Anita managed to escape on horseback with the newborn in her arms, and hid in a wood for 4 days until Garibaldi found her.

His time in Uruguay and Italy

In 1841 the situation of the Rio-Grandense Republic became untenable, causing the then Garibaldi family to have to ask for support from General Bento Gonçalves da Silva, who gave them permission to leave the Republican army.

With this, Anita, Giuseppe and Menotti moved to Montevideo, Uruguay, where they legalized their union in the church of St. Francis of Assisi. With the marriage certificate, Garibaldi was able to work in the public offices of the country, where he served as commander of the small Uruguayan fleet.

In the country, the couple also had three more children, Rosa, Teresa and Ricciotti. Sadly, Rosa died at the age of just two from a throat infection.

After the event, Garibaldi decided to send his wife and children to Nice, Italy, where they lived for a while with his mother and, some months later, Garibaldi also went to live there. However, Anita and her husband had to abandon the city and leave the children after the Franco-Austrian invasion of Rome, which had just proclaimed its republic.

The death and legacy of Anita Garibaldi

At the time Anita and Garibaldi fled the Austrian army, she was pregnant with her 5th child. In order not to disturb her husband during the war, she wanted to return to live with her mother-in-law and her children.

But her health was not very good at the time, and it worsened when they arrived in the Republic of San Marino. During the flight, Anita Garibaldi ended up dying along with her son still in her belly on August 4, 1849 because of a typhoid fever crisis.

With all her history of courage and overcoming, Anita Garibaldi was considered in Brazil and Italy an example of dedication, and was honored by Brazilians with the naming of two cities in Santa Catarina with her name, one called Anita Garibaldi and the other Anitápolis. In April 2021, the Law 12.615 was sanctioned, which determined that the name Anita Garibaldi was placed in the Bookof the Heroes of the Fatherland, located today in the Pantheon of Liberty and Democracy in Brasilia.

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