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Antonia Navarro Huezo
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Antonia Navarro Huezo
Born (1870-08-10)August 10, 1870
San Salvador, El Salvador
Died December 22, 1891(1891-12-22) (aged 21)
San Salvador, El Salvador
Education University of El Salvador
Occupation Engineer; Teacher

Antonia Navarro Huezo (San Salvador, 10 August 1870 – 22 December 1891) was a topographic engineer and teacher from El Salvador. She was the first woman in Central America to graduate from university, earning a PhD from the University of El Salvador in 1889.


Antonia Navarro Huezo was born in 1870 to Belisaro Navarro (an apothecary) and Marina Huezo. The family was intellectual and despite the death of her father in 1878, her desire for education continued to be supported by an uncle. However her health was poor, and she was unable to attend school. Nevertheless she studied by herself and was allowed to take examinations to enter university. In 1887, she presented herself at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of El Salvador to study for her degree.

Huezo progressed quickly and excelled in all the classes - just two years later she was awarded a PhD in Engineering in 1889. She defended her thesis successfully on 20 September 1889, after thirteen hours of questioning. The news of her success was reported around the world. Her thesis examined the widely-recognised phenomenon of The Moon of the Harvests - the idea that the moon is brighter so crops can be brought in. Huezo proved in her thesis that this effect was an illusion.

Huezo's thesis defence and the award of a degree was national news and the president of El Salvador General Francisco Menéndez congratulated her in person and organised a celebratory concert. However, despite being the first woman to graduate from university in El Salvador, she was not allowed to teach there and instead was posted to teach younger women in San Salvador's high school.

Huezo died of tuberculosis on 22 December 1891. She has no known grave.


Huezo's achievements are an important milestone in women's history in El Savaldor. She is seen as an important feminist role model for women in the country. There is a mural dedicated to her in the theatre of the University of El Salvador.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Antonia Navarro Huezo para niños

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