María Rosalía Rita de Castro, born February 24, 1837, was a Galician writer and poet. Although very well educated, she published her poetry in the Galician language rather than Spanish. She was scorned by many for using a dialect considered only fit for the uneducated, but she won the hearts of the rest of the people. She defended women’s rights, and the rights of those abused by authority. Her husband, Manuel Murguia, was an historian, journalist, and the editor of her books. Together they had seven children.
Rosalía published her first collection of poetry on May 17, 1863. This day is now an official holiday of the Autonomous community of Galicia, known as the Día das Letras Galegas or “Galician Literature Day.” Many schools, streets, parks, etc. bear her name in Galicia, Spain, Russia, and Uruguary, and recently there has been more interest in her work in other countries. A number of her works have been translated into English within the last 10 – 15 years.
Maria Rosalia de Castro died of cancer on July 15, 1885.
Find out what else happened on July 15 in Women’s History.