In the seventeenth century, Catalina de Erauso, at age sixteen a renegade Basque nun, escaped from her convent and traveled to the New World, eventually reaching Peru. She became an outlaw and a crossdresser with a price on her head. Yet she ended her days absolved by both the King of Spain and the Pope, the latter of whom granted her permission to dress as a man for the remainder of her life. The Nun Ensign passed her final years guarding silver shipments on the Mexico City-Veracruz highway. The life of the Nun Ensign highlights not just her extraordinary life but also the opportunities seized by women in colonial Latin America.
This book profiles the Nun Ensign and nine other women of colonial Latin America, offering an alternate method for understanding the region and its history. The ten figures span different ethnic, geographic, occupational, and class backgrounds. Through their stories, the reader comes away with an enriched understanding of colonial Latin American history.
James D. Henderson is distinguished professor emeritus of international studies at Coastal Carolina University. Prior to his scholarly career, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Columbia. His books include Modernization in Colombia: The Laureano Gómez Years, 1886-1965.
Linda R. Henderson is professor emeritus at Coastal Carolina University. She has also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia.
Suzanne M. Litrel is a historian of Brazil and the Portuguese Atlantic world. She has taught at Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, and Bay Shore High School in New York. For more information, see suzannelitrel.com.
Introduction: Latin American Women, Old Perspectives and New 1
Chapter 1: Anacaona, 1464?–1503 13
Chapter 2: Malinche, 1504?–1528? 41
Chapter 3: Inés de Suárez, 1507–1572? 61
Chapter 4: Saint Rose of Lima, 1586–1617 83
Chapter 5: The Nun Ensign, 1585 or 1592–1650? 105
Chapter 6: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 1651–1695 125
Chapter 7: Chica da Silva, 1733?–1796 147
Chapter 8: Micaela Bastidas, 1745–1781 171
Chapter 9: La Pola, 1795–1817 193
Chapter 10: Manuela Sáenz, 1797–1856 213
This book is an excellent teaching tool due to its breadth of coverage of Latin America, its informed description of the women’s roles in each era, and its accessible narrative. I assigned the earlier version of this book in my survey classes for years, and students inevitably cited it as their favorite book. In a field remarkably bereft of readable textbooks, Ten Notable Women of Colonial Latin America is a rare gem—a volume guaranteed to engage the attention and enthusiasm of undergraduates.
A useful collection of important biographies that offers an introduction to a history of enormous complexity and, at the same time, provides a highly usable entree into the rapidly expanding historiography of women in Latin America.
This lively volume is much more than just a biographical sketch of the lives of women in colonial Latin America. Rather, the text places ten highly influential women of differing ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds into their rightful place in space and time. Each chapter exquisitely studies how these women maintained agency over their lives while contextualizing them in the often harsh realities of the colonial world. Beautifully narrated and highly readable, the book moves swiftly and will quickly engage high school and undergraduate students.
3/10/22, Choice: This book was featured in a roundup of forthcoming Women's & Gender Studies titles.