Catalina da Gata
My name is Catalina de Gata. I come from a large catholic family in the north central part of Spain near Valladolid. My father and mother are Leon and Violante; my surviving siblings are Andres, Carlos, Juan, Henrique y Maria. I am the youngest. Two others had died stillborn and another died in his infancy.
My father is a retired knight who fought under King Fernando and Queen Isabella and now owns a villa with a vineyard producing wines that the great nobles of our land enjoy. We take pride in that we are pure blood Spaniards, not muddled with Moorish blood after so many years of occupation in our land.
I was born on December 12 1506 in a difficult labour in which my mother nearly passed. It was the same year the Burgundian King Felippe passed away.
My parents employed a private tutor to ensure our education. More time was spent with the brothers but my sister and I did receive a good education in literacy, religion and some basic maths so wee could help in dealing with household accounts.
Growing up I was also trained in the finer arts every woman should know, embroidery, sewing, and so forth. Though much of my training was in my mother's hands, most of my care was left in the hands of my Duenna Francisca Galindo, who chaperoned me when we went out and took care of my personal needs when we were at home.
Returning home I also learned some skills from my youngest brother that were far from feminine, swordplay. With all of the older brothers either in military service or taking care of properties of their own, Henrique needed someone to practice swordplay with to prepare him for military service.
Being the youngest and female, my hopes lay either in religious service or marriage. Though filled with great love of our religion, I did not see my life hidden away in a convent, so marriage it was.
Through ties with traders my father procured a marriage contract with a German wine merchant, after several years of waiting for one reason or another we were finally married when I was 22.
Though surprised at my education and interest in literature we fell deeply in love, a bonus in an arranged marriage. He disapproved of my love of swordplay but conceded that it was good that I could defend myself when he was away.
It is now the year 1530 and King Charles and Empressa Isabella rule Spain, the Hapsburg Empire of Austria, Southern Germany and Tyrol, the Roman Empire and the Spanish Netherlands.
Medieval Naming Guide http://www.panix.com/ mittle/names/Iberian.shtml
Kagan, Richard L Students and Society in Early Modern Spain
Defourneaux, Marcelin Daily Life in the Golden Age of Spain
McKendrick, Melveena The Horizon Concise History of Spain
Read, Jan et al The Wine and Food of Spain