Doña Francisca Zubiaga Bernales de Gamarra was a politician and military leader of Perú in the 1820's and 30's. She was also called Doña Pancha, or Pencha, but is best known as La Mariscala, which means The Marshal.
She dressed in men's clothes; in breeches and coarse cotton shirts, like the soldiers of the army she led. For years she rode on horseback, with pistol and sword. In the government, she held supreme power, though her husband General Gamarra was the nominal ruler of the country. Her beauty made her loved and hated; she was said to be having affairs with many of her officers.
But it was her autocratic rule as well as her infamous behavior that earned her enemies, and at the end of the war of 1834 with the region that was to become Bolivia, she was deposed and exiled to Chile. Flora Tristan, who met her just as she was going into exile, wrote very movingly of La Mariscala's extreme frustration at being a woman and at losing power. Ill with epilepsy, Francisca Zubiaga died a few weeks after her exile.
Her husband Gamarra continued as a successful politician in Perú for many years.