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Pancha Carrasco
Painting of Pancha Carrasco around 1880.
Born Francisca Carrasco Jiménez
(1826-04-08)8 April 1826
Cartago, Costa Rica
Died 31 December 1890(1890-12-31) (aged 64)
San José, Costa Rica
Nationality Costa Rican
Education Never received formal education but was literate
Known for First Costa Rican woman in military
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Juan Solano, Gil Zúñiga
Parents Jose Francisco and Maria Carrasco

Pancha Carrasco (8 April 1826 – 31 December 1890), born Francisca Carrasco Jiménez, was Costa Rica's first woman in the military. Carrasco is most famous for joining the defending forces at the Battle of Rivas in 1856 with a rifle and bullets. The strength and determination she showed there made her a symbol of national pride and she was later honored with a Costa Rican postage stamp,[1] a Coast Guard vessel,[2] and the creation of the "Pancha Carrasco Police Women's Excellence Award".[3]


In 1816, Francisca Carrasco Jiménez was born on 8 April in Cartago, Costa Rica, of mixed Indian, Black, and Spanish heritage, the daughter of Jose Francisco and Maria Carrasco. She was married three times, first in 1834 with Juan Solano, and the last one with Gil Zúñiga; however, none of them worked out.

In 1856 (age 40), when William Walker and his filibusteros invaded Costa Rica, Carrasco volunteered as a cook and a medic. She is most famous for filling her apron pockets with bullets, grabbing a rifle, and joining the defending forces at the Battle of Rivas, becoming Costa Rica's first woman in the military


Her strength and determination became a symbol of national pride, and she was honored on a Costa Rican postage stamp in 1984.[1]

The Costa Rican Security Ministry established a "Pancha Carrasco Police Women's Excellence Award" in her honor.[3] The former U.S. Coast Guard cutter Point Bridge was renamed Pancha Carrasco in her honor when it was turned over to the Costa Rican Coast Guard in 2001.[2]


Sources consulted
  1. 1.0 1.1 It was issued on 10 April 1984 as the 1.50 Colon value in a four value set honoring national heroes. "Costa Rica", Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalog, 1986, Vol 2, p. 687, column 4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Decommissioning Ceremony", U.S. Coast Guard, 28 September 2001.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Female Cop Awarded Excellence Award", Tico Times, 2 September 2002.

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