Women in the History of Jaén

The story of "jiennense" women in the 13th to 20th centuries

By Andalusian Archives

Archivo Histórico Provincial de Jaén

Teresa de Torres (1460-12-02) by Gonzalo González de Jaén.Andalusian Archives

This exhibition sheds light on the role and contribution of women throughout this part of Andalusia's history. It looks at how their influence reaches beyond the geographical boundaries of the region today.

The story is told through documents that were not specifically created to be put on show. They are images and testimonies from outstanding, often anonymous women who faced up to adverse and extremely difficult circumstances in their daily lives with strength, dignity, and bravery.

María Rodríguez (1480-07-02) by Martín González Palomino.Andalusian Archives

Women in Jaén's social life

The life experiences of women provide a glimpse into the nature of society in Jaén's history. Their jobs, their way of life, and the barriers and hurdles they overcame are all reflected in the invaluable documents on show here. These documents are not the most eye-catching. They were never created to be put on display. Analyzed and framed in the context of their time, however, they are critical to understanding women's history.

María Rodríguez: common-law relationships and women outside marriage

María Rodríguez and Alonso Álvares executed a deed before a notary public that confirmed their common-law partnership and the joint ownership of their real estate.

Juan Platero and his wife (1509-03-03) by Gonzalo González de Jaén.Andalusian Archives

María Pérez: documented prostitution

Juan Platero and his wife, María Pérez, received rent from an inn and brothel in the suburb of San Ildefonso that had 12 bedrooms for women.

Testament of Lucía Fernández (1518-04-04) by Gonzalo González de Jaén.Andalusian Archives

Lucía Fernández: violence against women

Lucía Fernández made a statement about the head wounds inflicted by her husband.

This is one of the preserved documents that gives vivid testimony to the horror many women suffered as victims of gender violence at the very heart of their families.

Service contract (1479-10-22) by Martín González Palomino.Andalusian Archives

Catalina: women in domestic service

A service contract in which Alonso López de Sabiote, resident of La Higuera, gives his six-year-old daughter, Catalina, to Alfonso Ruiz del Rosal, resident of Jaén, as a servant for him and his wife for 12 years.

Donation of a printing house (1627-09-10) by Blas de Bonilla.Andalusian Archives

Mariana de Montoya: female printer

Donation of a printing press. Mariana de Montoya gave half-use of a printing press to Pedro de la Cuesta.

During the modern age, women saw their opportunities to access knowledge grow, thanks to a rapid increase in the number of teaching establishments and the proliferation of printed material, which prompted a decrease in the price of books.

Theater Company (1687-11-12) by Juan Francisco Peral de toro.Andalusian Archives

Paula María: actresses in Jaén

Emerencio de Torres, his wife, Paula María, and other actors and actresses from Jaén had a deed canceled to be able to form a theater group.

Daughter of a woman slave (1662-03-08) by Miguel de Torres.Andalusian Archives

The marginalized woman: daughter of a slave

Baptismal certificate issued by the Orán parish priest, certifying that María de la Concepción, the daughter of a rescued African, was baptized in 1654.

Olavide´s cousin (1775-08-14) by Lázaro RiberaAndalusian Archives

Prima Olavide: the female bourgeoisie

Pedro Tomás de Acuña, Marquis of San Miguel, granted Pablo de Olavide a dowry certificate for the goods given to his cousin Tomasa de Orellano y Olavide.

Bárbara Kidsin (1781-12-04) by Lázaro RiberaAndalusian Archives

Bárbara Kidsin: a woman landowner

Registration of the allocation of plot of land number 82 in the new Carboneros settlement to the German Bárbara Kidsin.

Supply card (1948-11-25)Andalusian Archives

A woman in the post-war period

Ration card issued to Carmen Moya Sánchez. Rationing used to include even the most basic day-to-day products.

Santa María de los Ángeles Convent 1 (1752-03-16) by Margarita de Vargas Machuca.Andalusian Archives

Women in the religious life of Jaén: women in the convent

Although women played a supporting role in religious life to a certain extent, women were in charge of assets in the convents. Moreover, charities would channel funds through these institutions as hospices, so women played a prominent role as managers in charge of these assets.

Cod (1732)Andalusian Archives

Nuns of Santa Clara: managers of their convents

Expenses paid in cod at the Convent of the Nuns of Santa Clara in Andújar, between 1701 and 1732.

Veracruz´shelter (1752-05-16) by Juan Benito de Arroyo y Torres.Andalusian Archives

Women seeking refuge

A list of goods owned by the hospice and refuge of Cofradía de la Veracruz, Jaén.

Religious communities developed service-based roles, such as caring for the sick, teaching, and hospices.

Santa María de los Ángeles Convent 1 (1752-03-16) by Margarita de Vargas Machuca.Andalusian Archives

Margarita de Vargas Machuca: prioress and manager

Convents managed their own assets to secure their continued survival.

These assets came from two main sources: donations from members of the congregation, usually left as gifts in wills, and donations that nuns received from their relatives on entering into the convent.

Mínimas Convent in Andújar (1752-07-22) by María de Aguilera y Jabalera.Andalusian Archives

María de Aguilera

A record made by María de Aguilera y Jabalera, of the San Francisco de Paula Convent for the Land Registry of the Marquess of Ensenada.

During the modern age, convents and monasteries for women changed to become places of refuge for many different kinds of women. Amongst them were nuns, maidens, wealthy widows, relatives of nuns, and staff.

Teresa de Torres (1460-12-02) by Gonzalo González de Jaén.Andalusian Archives

Female protagonists in the history of Jaén

In a journey through the history of Jaén, the women of their time who stand out are those who held power in a world of men. They range from a war hero to a pioneer in the fight for the rights of women.

Teresa de Torres: countess

Teresa de Torres, the wife of the Constable Miguel Lucas, left the "El Risquillo de Martin Jordana" estate to Rodrigo Mexía, a resident of Baeza.

The title of countess was hers by legal right—she is referenced in this document from the 15th century as "countess," rather than "wife of."

María Bellido (1809-03-03) by José María de la Vega.Andalusian Archives

María Bellido: the heroine of the Battle of Bailén

Legend has it that this water-seller, along with other women from the town, helped the Spanish troops.

During one of the attacks, while offering water to General Reding, a bullet broke the side of her water jug, yet she continued unfazed. This became a symbol of the popular resistance of the town of Bailén.

Since then, a pitcher with a hole and water spilling out has been a symbol in the town's coat of arms.
In this document, Luisa Bellido, her real name, gives testament.

Dolores García Negrete (1939-03-08)Andalusian Archives

Dolores García Negrete: procedural prison record

María Dolores García-Negrete Ruiz-Zarco was imprisoned with two of her sons at the end of the war on March 8, 1939.

She was passed to military authority and, following a War Council, was sentenced to death in 1940.
Her political activism developed during the Spanish Civil War: she joined the Communist Party and founded the Antifascist Women's Association.

Political responsibilities (1942-03-02)Andalusian Archives

Ana Martínez Rodríguez: document of political responsibilities

The activity of the Court of Political Responsibilities in Jaén was focused on the processing of documents of civil responsibility such as the administration of goods, seizures, and effectiveness of sentence.

They are an invaluable source of information in determining the extent of economic repression after the end of the Spain's civil war. The document exhibited here was served in 1942 against Ana Martínez Rodríguez, a 55-year-old widow who lived in Jaén.

Carmen Michelena (1946-12-12)Andalusian Archives

Carmen Michelena: qualified teacher

She studied at the Institución Libre de Enseñanza (Free Institution of Education) and her time at the halls of residence coincided with numerous intellectuals of the time, something that influenced the development of her teaching career.

Among other educational centers, she worked as a teacher at the Escuela Nacional de Primera Enseñanza (National School of Primary Education) in Castellar. She was one of the first women in Spain who fought for gender equality, a fight she won for herself at a time of obvious disadvantage for women.

Credits: Story

Women in the History of Jaén

Organized by:
Ministry of Culture of the Regional Government of Andalusia

Curator: Juan del Arco Moya. Historical Archive of the Province of Jaén
Text: Juan del Arco Moya
Photography: Historical Archive of the Province of Jaén
Digital Exhibition: Charo Andreu Abrio.
Directorate General of Cultural Innovation and Museums.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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