María Pita

María Mayor Fernández de Cámara y Pita (1565–1643), known as María Pita, was a heroine in the defense of Coruña, Galicia (northern Spain), against the English Armada attack, an English attack upon the Spanish mainland in 1589.[1] She was born in Sigrás.

María Pita
A Coruña. María Pita’s statue. Galicia (Spain).jpg
Monument to María Pita, A Coruña
María Mayor Fernández de Cámara y Pita

Died1643 (aged 77–78)
Known forHeroine in the defense of Coruña, Galicia
María Pita charging the English, by Arturo Fernández Cersa.

Defense of CoruñaEdit

On the 4th of May 1589, English forces, already in control of the lower city, breached the defenses of the old city. María Pita was assisting her husband, an army captain manning the defenses. An English commander with a banner, who was leading the assault to the highest part of the wall, was killed by Pita who, full of rage, snatched the spear carrying the English banner from the commander and killed him with it. The man was the brother of Admiral Francis Drake.[citation needed]. This demoralized the English troops, composed of 12.000 men, who began to retreat, but María Pita's husband was killed by a crossbow bolt that struck him in the head. María Pita then appeared on the heights of the wall herself, shouting: Quien honra, que me siga ("Whoever has honour, follow me!") whereupon the English incursion was driven back by the defenders. The English later abandoned the siege and withdrew to their ships. Other women also participated directly in the defense of Coruña; a surviving record tells of one Inés de Ben receiving treatment for two shots received in the siege. Pita's heroic deeds were honoured and rewarded by Philip II, who granted her the pension of a military officer, which she received following the death of her husband who was killed during the battle.[2]

María Pita was married four times and had four children.

Attributed battle cry: "Those with honor, follow me!" Galician: "¡Quen teña honra, que me siga!"


Her city honors her with a 3.30 meter tall statue (more than 9 meters including pedestal).

Spanish shipsEdit

  • The ship María Pita of the Balmis Expedition was named after her in 1803.[3]
  • In August 2008, SASEMAR (Sociedad de Salvamento y Seguridad Marítima, Spanish acronym for Sea Rescue and Safety Society) baptized the BS-14 Rescue Ship as María Pita.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ House-Museum of María Pita (Spanish)
  2. ^ Archivo General de Simancas. Memorial de just no... Cámara de Castilla, atado 772.
  3. ^ "La Corbeta María Pita (Spanish)". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
  4. ^ BS María Pita (Spanish) Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit