Who was Pacífica Fernández Oreamuno?
By Dagmar Reinhard
Photos by Dagmar Reinhard
Doña Pacífica was born in San José, on August 23, 1828. She became the youngest ‘First Lady’ of Costa Rica when she was 18 years old, when her husband, Dr. José María Castro Madriz, “Founder of the Republic”, was inaugurated in 1847 as the President of Costa Rica.
History acknowledges Doña Pacífica for her role in creating Costa Rica’s tricolor flag, inspired by the French one, with the exception that: “France received influence from the south, represented by perfectly vertical rays, and for that reason, the colors of their flag run in the same direction. In the Costa Rican flag, the horizontal stripes represent the way we perceive the rays.”
Doña Pacífica designed and made the first tricolor flag of Costa Rica, including the national symbol that today represents the country. She was the one who embroidered the new coat of arms on display at the National Pavilion. The flag was hoisted for the first time in San José on November 12, 1848.
Doña Pacífica had 14 children; she was a determined woman overcoming adversity when her husband was expatriated. In 1885, she died in San José.