Maria Quitéria was a Brazilian lieutenant and national heroine. She served in the Brazilian War of Independence in 1822–23 dressed as a man. She was promoted to cadet and Lieutenant and decorated with the Imperial order. She has been called "Brazilian Joan of Arc," and has become a kind of national legendary figure. Quitéria was the first woman to serve in a military unit in Brazil. She, along with Maria Felipa de Oliveira and Sister Joana Angélica, are known as the three Bahian women resistance fighters in the War of Independence against the Portuguese.
Against her father's will, an unmarried Maria Quitéria enlisted in the Brazilian army, as a man, in October 1822. Until June 1823, she fought in several battles against the Portuguese in Bahia, where she lived. Maria Quitéria's father outed her as a woman once he discovered her betrayal—but because of her skill in battle, she was allowed to continue to fight. She was promoted to cadet in July 1823, and then to lieutenant in August, where she was received and decorated by the Emperor.
Few details are known about the life of Maria Quitéria.