Marina, Agueda and Catalina: Women property administrators in colonial Chile, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries: A case study

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Miseldra Gil-Marín, Claudio Vásquez-Millalén, Sandra Vera-Ruiz, Marisol Videla


Women have played a fundamental role in the administration of assets in central Chile, breaking the myth that women's activities only focus on procreation, raising children and being good housewives.  The objective of this research is to show and analyze the cases of women property administrators in central Chile between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. This research is a documentary analysis that presents the case of three emblematic women who lived in this historical period: Marina Ortiz de Gaete, Águeda Flores and Catalina de los Ríos.  A review of the documents that are in the National Archive of  Santiago was carried out. The documentary analysis and studies on the subject show that they defended the rights of women, overcoming the obstacles of the time such as discrimination, lack of formal education, among others. They face great challenges, including taking over the administration of their estates' assets, either because their husbands are absent for business or widowed.  They prove to be good administrators, constituting a contribution to the economic development of the country.

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