Agustina de Aragón (1786-1857)
Like Juan Martín Díaz (El Empecinado), Agustina de Aragón (also known as Agustina Zaragoza, though her full name was Agustina Raimunda María Zaragoza Doménech) was celebrated throughout Spain for defending Zaragoza (English spelling, Saragossa) in the province of Aragón from the French during the Peninsular War.
The northern border of Aragón abuts France, and the town of approximately 55,000 inhabitants was ill prepared for Napoleon's invasion in 1808. Ostensibly en route to Portugal, French troops entered Spain and began their assault. General José Palafox ordered 220 soldiers and the townspeople to resist while he rounded up reinforcements.
Twelve different gates provided entrance into the town, and there was a particularly fierce assault upon the gate known as the Portillo, where French troops killed or wounded more than fifty defenders. The few who remained worked desperately to man the cannon, but the situation at the gate looked dismal. Agustina had been carrying food, water, and other supplies to the defenders, but when she saw the gate's impending breach, she took a match from the hand of a dead gunner, lit the fuse on a cannon, and determinedly defended the position. She protected the Portillo for some time, earning the mantle of heroine of the siege, but the fighting was furious and eventually Napoleon's troops gained access to the city. So much devastation had been wrought that bodies were heaped in the streets and pestilence became a real threat to the inhabitants; nevertheless, the townspeople fought on. Palafox's resistance continued in Zaragoza until French troops were defeated at Bailén, causing them to withdraw and ending the first siege of that city.