1592 - 1650

Assigned female at birth, Antonio de Erauso was raised in a convent, destined to become a nun – until he turned 15 and set out to escape for a life of adventure. He cut his hair short, donned masculine clothing, adopted a series of male names to travel through Spain, and eventually set sail for the New World in pursuit of fame and wealth; which is how Second Lieutenant Antonio de Erauso came to fight in the wars against the Araucanian Indians in Chile. Upon his return to Spain, de Erauso successfully petitioned the Spanish Crown for compensation for his heroic services before penning an incredible memoire. Shocking and highly controversial, de Erauso’s adventures were written so large that his depiction of himself was almost thought to be fictional. He was an unconventional, iconoclastic, incorrigible individualist who was both a braggart soldier and a “mannish woman” who rejected feminine behavior. The contrast between being a nun and a soldier – as an expression of the basic distinction between being female and male – roused the interest of the readers while also purposefully underlining the sexual ambiguity of the protagonist.  Given the era, his story was an absolute sensation. De Erauso’s life soon reached legendary proportions and substantial recognition followed.  In appreciation for services rendered to the cause of Christianity on behalf of the Spanish Crown, Antonio de Erauso was granted permission by Pope Urban VII to continue living as a man, free to perform actively male-identified work, as defined by the socio-cultural conventions of the time.


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Unknown

Gender Identity Transgender

Ethnicity Latinx

Faith Construct Catholic

Nations Affiliated Spain Venezuela Panama Peru Chile Mexico

Era/Epoch Spanish Hegemony (1500-1820)

Field(s) of Contribution



Commemorations & Honors

Granted a Military Pension by the King of Spain (1625)

Audience with Pope Urban VIII (1625 or 1626)


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Original Biography Author
Victor Salvo
Biography Edited By
Owen Keehnen
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell