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Women in History: April 8th


1943 – Elise Hampel was executed on this day in Berlin along with her husband, Otto, for anti-Nazi activities. A working class couple, they wrote anti-Nazi information on postcards and placed them around Berlin.

1959 – American computer scientist Grace Hopper meets with a group of university computer programmers on this day to discuss the development of a new programming language known as COBOL.

Born on this day in…

1826 – Pancha Carrasco (d. 1890) was the first Costa Rican woman in the military. Born Francisca Carrasco Jiménez, she was the daughter of Jose Francisco Carrasco and Maria Jiménez, and possessed American, African, and European heritage. During her lifetime, she was married to three different men but none of the marriages seemed to work out. Ms. Carrasco is renowned for the part that she played at the Battle of Rivas in 1856 when she showed up with a rifle and pockets full of bullets. She has long been a symbol of national pride and was featured on a postage stamp, a Coast Guard vessel, and the “Pancha Carrasco Police Women’s Excellence Award” was created in her honor.

Died on this day in…

1150 – Gertrude of Badenberg (b. 1118) was the Duchess of Bohemia by virtue of her marriage to Vladislaus II. Her parents were Count Leopold III, Margrave of Austria and his wife, Agnes of Germany, respectively. She was also half-sister to Conrad III, the first King of Germany and this made her very desirable to suitors. When the Siege of Prague took place, she successfully defended the Prague Castle from Conrad of Znojmo while her husband sought her brother’s help in Germany. Her brother-in-law Děpold gave her wise counsel during the siege. In addition, she and her husband played an active part in the founding of religious institutions and she urged her husband to invite members of foreign religious orders to settle in Bohemia. Passing away at the age of 30, she left behind four children: Frederick, Duke of Bohemia; Svatopluk (who wedded Odola, daughter to Géza II of Hungary);  Vojtĕch (who was Archbishop of Salzburg); and Agnes (Abbess of St. George of Prague).

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