There’s a beautiful song that came out of the 1910 Mexican Revolution called “Adelita.” Was there such a woman? La Adelita is one of the most famous folk songs “corridos” to come out of the 1910 Revolution. I’ve heard many versions of the story and I’ll share the one I like the best. Whether or not there was a real Adelita. or a Mexican soldadero’s fantasy is subject to debate but either way she has come to symbolize the brave women who fought alongside the men in the Revolution.
According to legend, Adelita was a beautiful soldadera (woman soldier) in Pancho Villa’s army and she was also the fiancé of a man named Portillo, one of Villa’s high-ranking officers. Just before they were to be married Adelita decided to have one last fling and she chose to have it with lady’s man Pancho Villa. Portillo saw her lying with Villa and committed suicide. In remorse Villa gave Portillo an elaborate military funeral, erected a monument and banished Adelita to the legendary Dorados, Villa’s “golden cavalry” and an early version of a Special Operations outfit.
When Villa learned she’d been mortally wounded in battle he rushed to her side and forgave her. Then he had her ceremoniously buried next to Portillo.