La Adelita

La Adelita,often depicted as an image of patriotism and sexuality



Why Soldaderas  

"La Adelita"

Historical Context  

Roles of Las Soldaderas

Prominent Figures

Modern Day



     “La Adelita”, one of the most popular ballads of the Mexican Revolution, was first composed in honor of the heroic women who dedicated their lives to the Revolution by joining the war efforts on the battlefield.  Some sources suspect the song’s origins to be inspired by  “a Durangan woman who had joined the Maderistas movement at an early age." (7) However, the actual identity of Adelita is virtually unknown, and as a result, “La Adelita” came to represent any female soldier that contributed to the Mexican Revolution; her name became synonymous with “soldadera.”

The following lyrics are just one of the popular versions of "La Adelita":

En lo alto de la abrupta serranía
acampado se encontraba un regimiento
y una musa que valiente los seguía
locamente enamorada del sargento

In the heights of a steep mountainous range
a regiment was encamped
and a bright woman bravely follows them
madly in love with the sergeant.

Popular entre la tropa era Adelita
la mujer que el sargento idolatraba
y además de ser valiente era bonita
que hasta el mismo Coronel la respetaba.

Popular among the troop was Adelita
the woman that the sergeant idolized
and besides of being pretty she was brave
that even the Colonel respected her

Y se oía, que decía, aquel que tanto la quería:

Y si Adelita quisiera ser mi novia
y si Adelita fuera mi mujer
le compraría un vestido de seda
para llevarla a bailar al cuartel.

And it was heard, that he, who loved her so much, said:

If Adelita would like to be my girlfriend
If Adelita would be my wife
I'd buy her a silk dress
to take her dance to the quarter.

Y si Adelita se fuera con otro
la seguiría por tierra y por mar
si por mar en un buque de guerra
si por tierra en un tren militar.

If Adelita would leave with another man
I'd follow her by land and sea
by sea in a war ship
by land in a military train.

     As described in the lyrics, Adelita was characterized as a softer version of the female soldier, the sweetheart of the troupe who was neither vulgar nor ruthless. (9) Those who sang of her legend “did not focus on her valor, bur rather on her beauty, desirability, and loyalty." (10) Though there are different interpretations and versions of Adelita, she is for the most part represented as a symbol of love in war. This romanticized version of the soldaderas attributes to their roles as potential lovers or wives of the soldiers in the Mexican Revolution.   

     Though Adelita’s story first began in ballad form, her legend was not confined to this medium, rather she also became a popular figure in literature and modern-day films.  Today, women in both Mexico and the United States look to Adelita as a symbol of motivation and hope, a woman that struggles and fights for her rights.  Her powerful image is one that conveys feminine strength to women who draw upon her legend as a source of inspiration amidst modern-day tribulations.

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