Manuela Sáenz Museum

San Marcos, Quito, Ecuador

593 2 958 908

This museum tells the fascinating story of Manuela Saenz, Simon Bolivar’s mistress. Born out of wedlock to an aristocratic British father, Manuela later divorced her wealthy Anglo husband to join the revolution. Shortly after she met Bolivar, she allegedly stopped one assassination attempt against him and saved his life at least three times. Saenz received the Order of the Sun for her role in the revolution (which includes fighting in the Battle of Pichincha), but when Bolivar died her political enemies drove her exile. For the next 25 years she lived in the Peruvian town of Paita, where she sold tobacco and translated love letters for American whalers until she died destitute at age 58. The museum’s three floors tell the forgotten story of one of Latin America’s foremost liberators, and also display the love letters Saenz and Bolivar sent one another.

Written by Amelia Osborne Scott

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