India Catalina , was an indigenous woman (almost certainly Calamari) from the Colombian Atlantic coast, who accompanied Pedro de Heredia and played a role in the Spanish conquest of Colombia, acting as interpreter and intermediary. In Colombia today, India Catalina remains as an icon of the extermination of the Precolumbian inhabitants.
Catalina was abducted in 1509 by Spanish conqueror Diego de Nicuesa from an indigenous settlement known as Zamba o Galerazamba, where she was the daughter of the local chief. She was sent to Santo Domingo, where she learned the Spanish language and adopted the Catholic religion. As a requirement of Pedro de Heredia, she served as an interpreter to the Native Americans and after that she married Alonso Montanez, Pedro de Heredia's nephew.
The name of Catalina Indian, appeared in a letter sent for Pedro de Heredia to King Carlos V in 1533. No one could tell what her real name was because he began calling her 'Catalina' from 1509 when the Diego de Nicuesa expedition kidnapped and took her to Santo Domingo where was educated as Spanish. From that time she would use Spanish dress only but was still considered a slave.
Dra. Katherine Gomez Gaviria
BIOGRAFIAS DE HOMBRES ILUSTRES O NOTABLES, Relativas a la epoca del Descubrimiento, Conquista y Colonizacion de la parte de America denominada actualmente Estados Unidos de Colombia. Dona Soledad Acosta De Samper, 1883
Places of interest in Cartagena
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