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DIA DE LAS MADRES: Ana Maria India Ladina

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By jrefugioghermosillo - Posted on 13 May 2018

On this Mother’s Day, I’d like to celebrate the life of a forgotten mother: Ana Maria India Ladina.

I discovered Ana Maria India Ladina while reading the informacion matrimonial of a distant family member. “India ladina” is her casta, and not her surname. It basically meant that she was indoctrinated in the Spanish and Christian ways. For lack of a surname, it’s how I refer to her.

On 27 Jan 1669, in San Luis Potosi, Ana Maria responded to the marriage banns of Marcos Villareal and Teresa de Sotomayor. She looked to be 70 years-old, and she claimed that there was an impediment to the marriage, because the groom had had a relationship with her daughter, Juana Antonia Mestiza, who was her illegitimate daughter with Spaniard Juan de Saldaña, who was the brother of Diego Mateos, who was father of the bride. Therefore, her daughter was 1st-cousin of the bride, creating an impediment of “2º grado de afinidad por copula ilicita.”

Marcos Villareal responded that, yes, Juan de Saldaña and Ana Maria India Ladina did have a relationship, before he married Maria de Castañeda, which produced 3 Mestiza daughters, all of whom Juan de Saldaña later adopted and raised with his legitimate children. If Juana Antonia Mestiza was his daughter, then he would have adopted and raised her, too. But she was born after their relationship ended, so she can’t be his daughter. Therefore, there is no impediment.

He then presented 3 witnesses to support his case: the first 2 said that they had had relationships with Ana Maria India Ladina, who also accused them of being the father of Juana Antonia Mestiza, demanding child support, and the 3rd confirmed the testimony of the first 2. They all described Ana Maria India Ladina as “una muger ramera y mundana”: a “street walker,” and “worldly.” The judge found no family link between her daughter and the bride, and the marriage proceeded.

While reading this, I was overcome by an immense wave of sorrow. I literally sobbed. All I could think about, was this poor Indian woman, over 70 years of age, to whom life had dealt a harsh hand: as a young maiden of the lower castas, she was used and exploited by men; her children were either taken away from her, or she gave them up, because she couldn’t provide for them. And now, she was being accused of being a “whore” in front of an ecclesiastical court. And to top it off, she was forgotten: as her children were born illegitimately, they are probably registered as “hijos de padres no conocidos.” Her name appears nowhere, except for on this IM. I felt an intense compassion for this woman, who was born over 400 years ago. She was the true embodiment of La Llorona (I could hear Chavela Vargas, singing in the background).

In my lines, I have a Margarita de Saldaña, who married Juan de Santiago on 16 Jun 1647, in Sierra de Pinos. My g9s. Though I know who his parents are, I don’t have her ancestry, and assumed she was probably an “hija de la yglesia.” When they married, Juan de Santiago was living in SLP, so I suspect that she was from there, and that’s where they met. On some records, she and her children are listed as “Mestizos,” so I know she was of mixed ancestry. I wonder: is my Margarita de Saldaña one of those 3 Mestiza daughters of Juan de Saldaña and Ana Maria India Ladina?? Hmm.

On this Mothers Day 2018, I celebrate you, DOÑA ANA MARIA INDIA LADINA, born around 1600, in San Luis Potosi. Though you couldn’t provide for your first 3 daughters, you made sure that they were well-taken care of, and you managed to raise the 4th on your own; she married, and raised a family, so your legacy lives on. As much as you suffered, as much as you struggled, you succeeded, and you brought life into this world. ¡QUE VIVA DOÑA ANA MARIA INDIA LADINA!

Manny Diez Hermosillo

PS - The padrino for the baptism of my Margarita de Saldaña’s first child? None other than Juan de Saldaña.

"They say you die twice. Once when you stop breathing and the second, a bit later on, when somebody mentions your name for the last time."

Because of you, Manny, Dona Ana Maria India Ladina is not forgotten :)

Thank you Manny for your celebration of Ana María India Ladina.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone,


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