Artist Catalog

Rosalía de Castro

Born: February 24 1837
Born in: Santiago de Compostela, Galicia (Spain)
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Rosalía de Castro

María Rosalía Rita de Castro (Galician pronunciation: [rosaˈli.a ðe ˈkastɾo]; 24 February 1837 – 15 July 1885), was a Spanish romanticist writer and poet.

Writing in Gallego, the Galician language, after the period known as the Séculos Escuros (lit. Dark Centuries), she became an important figure of the Galician Romantic movement, known today as the Rexurdimento ("Renaissance"), along with Manuel Curros Enríquez and Eduardo Pondal. Her poetry is marked by saudade, an almost ineffable combination of nostalgia, longing and melancholy.

She married Manuel Murguía, a member of the important literary group known as the Royal Galician Academy, historian, journalist and editor of Rosalía's books. The couple had seven children: Alexandra (1859–1937), Aura (1868–1942), twins Gala (1871–1964) and Ovidio (1871–1900), Amara (1873–1921), Adriano (1875–1876) and Valentina (stillborn, 1877). Only two of Rosaía's children married, Aura in 1897 and Gala in 1922; neither they nor their siblings left any children, and thus, today there are no living descendants of Rosalía de Castro and her husband. Their son Ovidio was a promising painter, unfortunately his early death cut his career short.

Rosalía published her first collection of poetry in Galician, Cantares gallegos ("Galician Songs"), on 17 May 1863. This date, 17 May, is now known as the Día das Letras Galegas ("Galician Literature Day"), and commemorates Rosalía's achievement by dedicating, every year, this special day to a different writer, who must also write in the Galician language, since 1963. Día das Letras Galegas is an official holiday in the Autonomous Community of Galicia.

Relative poverty and sadness marked Rosalía's life, inspite of this, she had a strong sense of commitment to the poor and to the defenseless. She was a strong opponent of authoritative abuse or abuse of authority and big defender of women's rights. Rosalia suffered from uterine cancer and died in Padrón, province of La Coruña, Spain, on 15 July, 1885.

She is buried in the Panteón de Galegos Ilustres, a pantheon (mausoleum) in the Convent of San Domingos de Bonaval in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.