La Corregidora de Queretaro
Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, born September 8, 1768 in the city of Queretaro, Mexico, daughter of Captain Juan Jose Ortiz and Manuela Giron, both who died early in Josefa’s life, leaving her to be brought up by her maternal aunt. In 1791 Josefa married Miguel Dominguez, who shortly afterward was appointed magistrate, or “Corregidor”, of the city of Queretaro.
Josefa was very sympathetic with the plight of the indigenous, mestizo and criollo communities and worked closely with them in trying to overcome the injustices they experienced. These meetings attracted educated free-thinkers and gradually evolved into the official gatherings of the incipient revolutionary independence movement. A date of December 8, 1810 was set by the rebels for their revolt. When the Spanish authorities got wind of possible rebel activities going on in Queretaro in September, Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez was able to get words of warning out to the conspirators, leading to Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla´s “Cry of Dolores” (Grito de Dolores) in the early morning hours of September 16th, and the onset of the Mexican war of independence.
Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez and her husband were imprisoned. She was placed in the seclusion of a monastery although she was later released under the condition that she would not continue to support the rebels. After her release, however, Josefa Ortiz continued to support political movements working toward independence and greater personal dignity, never accepting reward nor recognition for what she considered patriotic action. She died in 1829 in Mexico City.
In Arq. Arturo Macias’ depiction of Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, her figure appears to be imprisoned in a block of wood out of which she is emerging. Carved on side of the block of wood are the names of thirteen other women, fellow conspirators against the Viceroyalty of New Spain. A heavy, broken chain hangs from her left wrist. On the other wall of the block of wood is carved the emblem of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, from which she liberated herself and her country in the war of Independence.