Hist 130-01 Latin American History to 1825 -  Resources - Catalina de Erauso's Petition

Petition of Catalina de Erauso to the Spanish Crown, 1625

  Sir: The Ensign Doña Catalina de Erauso, resident and native of the town of San Sebastián, in the province of Guipúzcoa, says that of the last 19 years she has spent 15 in the service of Your Majesty in the wars of the kingdom of Chile and the Indians of Peru, having traveled to those parts in men's garbs owing to her particular inclination to take up arms in defense of the Catholic faith and in the service of Your Majesty without being known in the aforesaid kingdom of Chile during the entire time she spent there as other than a man. Only some years later, in the lands of Peru, was it discovered under circumstances unfitting to mention here that she was a woman. And, being under the command in the kingdom of Chile of the Ensign Miguel de Erauso, her legitimate brother, she never revealed herself to him, though she knew that he was her brother: she denied their blood ties to avoid being recognized. In all the time she served with him, as well as under the command of the Field Master Don Diego Bravo de Sarabia, she withstood the discomforts of military service like the strongest man, known only as such in every battle. Her deeds earned her the right to carry Your Majesty's flag, serving as she did as Ensign of the infantry company of Captain Gonzalo Rodríguez under the assumed name of Alonso Díaz Ramírez de Guzmán. In that period, she distinguished herself with great courage and valor, suffering wounds, particularly in the battle of Peru. The troops having been reorganized, she moved to the company of Captain Guillén de Casanova, governor of the castle of Arauco, and was chosen as a valiant and fine soldier to go out and do battle with the enemy. All of the above, and more, is recorded in the certificates and testimonies of Don Luis de Céspedes, Governor and Captain General of Paraguay, formerly of the infantry of Chile; of Don Juan Cortés de Monroy, Governor and Captain General of Veraguas, also of the infantry in Chile; and of Don Francisco Pérez de Navarrete; all three of whom, as well as others who were her superiors and field masters, are presently at court and know her very well, having seen her serve Your Majesty and knowing that she served as Captain in the aforesaid kingdoms of Chile and Peru...

  She begs that Your Majesty be pleased to order that her services and long wanderings and valiant deeds be rewarded, thereby showing his greatness; [rewarding her] for the worthiness of her deeds and for the singularity and prodigiousness of her life, mindful that she is the daughter of noble and illustrious parents who are principal citizens in the town of San Sebastián; and for the rectitude and rare purity in which she has lived and lives, to which many have borne testimony; for which she would be honored to receive a yearly stipend of seventy pesos apportioned in 22 quilates per month in the city of Cartagena de las Indias, and funds to travel there, rewards that she hopes Your Majesty in his greatness will provide.

  Translated by Stephanie Merrim from the document in José Toribio Medina, Biblioteca Hispano-Chilena, 1523-1817. Vol. 1 (Amsterdam: N. Israel, 1965, reprint).