The President of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation’s Executive Committee, Rosa Balas, opened the course “Charles V’s World: Women in Renaissance Europe and the New World” this Wednesday. The activity lasts three days and is held at the Royal Monastery of Yuste.

Rosa Balas defined Campus Yuste as a training programme that “attempts to promote debate and reflection on European and Ibero-American reality in all its many aspects among university students, researchers and professionals”.

She claimed that these courses are organised in “a border region with a clear European identity and a clear Ibero-American vocation and that is why we assume the responsibility of acting as a bridge between both regions”. She added that “Yuste becomes the epicentre of knowledge and analysis of the European and Ibero-American space” during weeks.

She explained that the figure of the Emperor is studied each year considering diverse aspects. This summer the subject is the result of several requests the foundation received and “our commitment is to provide a response to society in general and particularly to young people”.

Balas stated that the foundation seeks to “keep deepening in the knowledge of the person and work of the Emperor, who thought about a united Europe more than 500 years ago and give voice to those women who were not able to tell their feats and lives because their role was silenced on many occasions and consigned to oblivion”.

In her opinion, this course intends to “focus and shed light on to the feminine scope of Charles V’s time with and inclusive approach, stressing women’s joint responsibility role in the field of politics, law, culture, society, and religion”.

Rosa Balas highlighted the great number of women included in the opening panel and among the speakers “something that is not usual, but a maxim of Yuste Foundation in order to offer parity and cross-generational courses”.


The co-director of the course and American History Professor at the Complutense University of Madrid, Rosa María Martínez de Codes, explained that the content is divided into three complementary aspects. One of them deals with the role played by women as far as decision making in politics is concerned and in the good government of the Empire in the Europe of the Spanish Habsburg Court, and offers an overview of how the relations among these women are articulated and related.

The second aspect deals with the demystification of the role of indigenous women and gives voice to the “important participation of European women, especially Spanish women, since the beginning of American companies”.

In this sense, she added that some of the women who arrived in America joined the high bureaucratic, political and ecclesiastical spheres, but there were also small entrepreneurs.

“The creation of rites and myths, such as Our Lady of Guadalupe and La Malinche, also add on to this intercultural process, as they are privileged communication tools in America that introduced the most powerful ideas of the time”.

The third relevant aspect refers to the importance of women’s humanistic education in the 16th century, highlighting the figure of the Luisa de Carvajal during the Spanish Golden Age. The figure of this woman from Cáceres has been rediscovered in the 20th century along with other women of the time thanks to the brilliant work carried out by the University of Extremadura in recovering this literature.

Martínez de Codes pointed out that the course will also tackle unique aspects within the feminine universe, such as magic, witches and warlocks, and aspects related to the scope of what is forbidden, such as prostitution.

Some of the women studied in the seminar are Joanna of Castile, Isabella of Portugal and Mary of Hungary, mother wife and sister of Emperor Charles V respectively.

The course is directed by the American History Professor at the Complutense University of Madrid, Rosa María Martínez de Codes and by the Professor of Latin Philology and Academic Director of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation, César Chaparro.

It, moreover, counts with the collaboration of the Cooperation Network of European Routes of Charles V, certified as European Cultural Itinerary by the European Council, and National Heritage.


The Vice rector of Students, Employment and Mobility of the University of Extremadura, Rocío Yuste, also attended the opening of the course and affirmed that the seminar tackles a current issue as the vindication of the role of women at global level on behalf of the feminine movements may be or the fight for entire equality of rights among men and women which, in her opinion, “is not completely achieved, at least not for all women”.

In her opinion, one has to turn to history in order to see the role of women in the past “but always from the restraint that makes us contemplate it in a historical and cultural context from the perspective of our role as teachers and researchers, but also with the determination for the equality we are bound to reach as citizens”.

Rocío Yuste has mentioned the group of women Charles V was surrounded by who had a relevant role in politics, and who led the fight in the battle fields, such as María Pita, “one of the great examples of resistance”.

She spoke of the women of Extremadura, who in spite of being crucial in history have failed to be visible and recognised, such as Mencía Calderón, from Medellín, whose journey to Paraguay with other women lasted six years; Catalina de Bustamante, from Llerena, known as one of the first teachers of indigenous girls, and Luisa de Carvajal, from Jaraicejo, who was well known in Extremaduran literature.

The Vice rector believes that the course will offer a vast view of the different areas where the presence of women “should have been more researched and made visible in order to know its impact in the life of the time and be able to project the contributions made here towards our own present time; a time that sorely needs equality, commitment and truths”.

This course is included in the international summer and fall courses offered by the University of Extremadura, which make up a total of 29 courses carried out from June to October. The courses will deal with different subjects, aiming to carry out a “fruitful encounter between the university and society”. Campus Yuste includes five attendance-based and 2 virtual courses.

Forty students from Argentina, Italy, Spain, El Salvador and Venezuela from the universities of: Julius Maximilian Universität Würzburg (Germany); Università Degli Studi di PAdova (Italy); Institut D’Études Politiques de Bordeaux (France), and the universities of Granada; Complutense of Madrid; Rey Juan Carlos; Extremadura; Barcelona; Salamanca; Alcalá de Henares; Carlos III of Madrid; Valladolid; Seville; Autónoma of Madrid, Pablo de Olavide in Seville, attended the course.