Women Conquistadors – Isabel de Guevara

I started down this research rabbit hole while looking for descriptions of proper ladies in 16th century Spain. While I didn’t find much along those lines (which I think proves the adage that well-behaved women rarely make history) I did discover that there were quite a few women who participated in the conquest of the Americas. And I don’t mean they were just dragged along by fathers, brothers, or husbands.

Isabel de Guevara is a famous case, because she has a letter on record with the Casa de Cotratación in Seville, wherein she petitions Princess Juana (no, that that one, this one) to grant her the encomienda she is due thanks to her exploring and hard work in the New World. She gives a description of how she and other women had to take over a good deal of the work of the men, as the men died off, mostly from starvation. According to her letter “suffered all the discomforts and dangers of the conquest.”

I will probably try and look more into the lives of these early conquistadoras. Though I sincerely doubt my current SCA persona (Lady Lianor de Matos) would have gone on such an adventure. I’m still just looking for support that a Lady would have financed such an expedition. But I imagine if women went on them, financing them was allowed as well.

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