Women and Authority in Early Modern Spain: The Peasants of Galicia

By Allyson M. Poska | Go to book overview

4
‘A married man is a woman’: Gender
Tensions in Galician Marriages

For all the talk about single women in Galicia, most Galegas eventually married. Margarida da Gando found herself two husbands. In 1623, at only 20 years old, she married Juan Martínez. Their marital bliss would be short-lived. Soon after, Juan left for Castile in search of work and she heard nothing from him for five or six years. Then, much to her surprise, Margarida got word that he was living outside of Madrid. Approximately five more years had gone by when Margarida heard from other men that Juan had died. However, when she went to the ecclesiastical judge in Ourense to get permission to remarry, her informants contradicted their stories. Exasperated, she went with a friend to Madrid to find out the truth. After returning with proof of Juan’s demise, Margarida, then 36 years old, married Pedro de Deca.1 Although someone denounced her to the Inquisition as a bigamist, she was in possession of the necessary documentation and was absolved of any crime.

Unlike her cohabiting friends, Margarida may have seen a different side of marriage. Although many women espoused the benefits of being single, others knew that, in Galicia, marriage did not necessarily imply submission to a man. Both women and women’s historians have long considered the home as ‘women’s space’, but in Galicia home, a casa, was more than that: it was the focal point of female authority. Galicia’s mature brides found comfort and support in post-marital residence patterns that allowed them to remain in their natal homes and made their husbands outsiders. As married women, they took advantage of

1 AHN Sec. Inq., legajo 2042, no. 79, fos. 1–4v (1639).

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Women and Authority in Early Modern Spain: The Peasants of Galicia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Maps and Illustration viii
  • A Note on Currency and Measures ix
  • Introduction- Gendering - Peasant Society 1
  • 1 - Women without Men 22
  • 2 - Single Women and Property 41
  • 3 - Sex and the Single Woman 75
  • 4 - ‘A Married Man Is a Woman’- Gender Tensions in Galician Marriages 112
  • 5 - Widowhood 163
  • 6 - Modelling Female Authority 193
  • 7 - Beyond Finisterre 228
  • Bibliography 247
  • Index 267
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