Beatriz de Padilla
Beatriz was a woman of mixed races dubbed “Mulatta.”
In 1650 Beatriz was accused of being responsible for the death of the priest Diego Ortiz who
had been serving as commissioner of the holy office of the Inquisition in Lagos, the village
from which Beatriz was from. She was also accused of driving the Lord Mayor of Juchipila
crazy through the use of magic.
The accusations came from the royal agent don Juan Sanchez de Viduarre.
Beatriz was summoned by the Tribunal of the Inquisition in Mexico City.
A “Mulatta” woman Tribunal of the Spanish Inquisition
Beatriz’s story is a familiar one.
At the Tribunal it was revealed that Beatriz had been the lover
of the priest Diego Ortiz and had been living with him for
years. They found that he had intended to leave his estate to
Beatriz and that his family; after questioning and torture, had
made up all the accusations to deny Beatriz receiving the estate
of the priest.
Beatriz was sent home free of any charges, but the tribunal
made an example of the priests family by having a servant
woman they had sent to Mexico city to represent their case
returned to Lagos and whipped 200 times in public as a
reminder to the people that gossip is evil.
Beatriz’s story is important because it shows how in this time, it
was very important for women of mixed races such as Beatriz
to find a way to link themselves to white men of power. They
would become their mistresses and or try to become pregnant
with their child. They did this to better themselves and the lives
of their children. It was very hard for mulatta women or
women of any color to live anything better than the life of a Mixed race families of
servant. Colonial New Spain.