Week 5 Lecture - The Soldaderas The soldaderas were women...

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The Soldaderas The soldaderas were women who participated in the Spanish, Mexican, and American armies as soldiers or, more commonly, as camp followers. The indigenous predecessors of the soldaderas were women warriors. Mexica women warriors were called mociuaquetzque (valiant women) and auianime (pleasure girls). The word “soldadera” is Spanish and refers to the “soldada,” or the pay, of the soldier. There were at least twelve soldaderas, four of whom were of African or European ancestry, among the Spanish troops. Women first became attached to the Spanish armies as corn grinders. Malinal Tenepal (also called Doña Marina or Malinche) was a corn grinder when she was given to Hernán Cortés in 1519. She rose to become the chief translator and provider of military intelligence to Cortés. The Spaniards institutionalized the practice of soldadera corn grinders by the 1700s. During a campaign against the Mayans, every fifteen-man army squad had an indigenous soldadera to make the nixtamal (ground corn), grind it, and make the dough into tortillas and tamales. A Spanish army officer wrote about the sorry condition of the palms of the soldaderas' hands and the joints of their fingers that became raw and infected from the continuous grinding. Women of all classes participated in warfare during the 1810 War of Independence from Spain. The Mexican military continued to use women as corn grinders and camp followers. Soldaderas were of all ages—mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, or unattached women. The number of soldaderas is usually estimated at between 20 and 30 percent of any given army. The soldaderas were recognized as a
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This note was uploaded on 10/01/2010 for the course WOH 1013 taught by Professor Richardson during the Fall '10 term at Edison State College.

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Week 5 Lecture - The Soldaderas The soldaderas were women...

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