PoWs families: «Anonymous protagonists in old wars: women and children between 1700 and 1815» CITCEM Sessions, Porto 2021/22

The Napoleonic prisoners were the focus of this encounter on 15th November 2021 at Research Centre CITCEM in Porto, Portugal.  European women and their child s from England to Spain and Portugal werePrograma_ZozayaII-CITCEM_OIC_3 the protagonists of incredible adventures from 1807 to 1816 in England, Russia, and France. The session has been coordinated by Evaristo Martínez-Radío at CITCEM under the title «Anonymous protagonists in old wars: women and children between 1700 and 1815». This International Seminar joined several experts to speak about the renewed Social History of Prisoners of War, POWS, revisited from the perspective of the women and children that lived those processes.

Manuela Malasaña by Eugenio Álvarez Dumont, Public domain online source.


KATHERINE ASTBURY (Warwick University) and

ABIGAIL COPPINS (Warwick University)

 Women and children as prisoners of war in Britain during the French Revolution



A study from the alterity: women and children between the War of Independence and prison (1780-1816)



The fundamental role of women played in view of the captivity of men. The case of Ignacia Llobera in the Peninsular War (Videos Comming soon )


Utilizados y a la vez perseguidos: Vicisitudes of the Gitana minority during the modern wars in Spain (Videos Comming soon at CITCEM´s )


(source: CITCEM)

ABIGAIL COPPINS -Warwick University

KATHERINE ASTBURY-Warwick University

Women and children as prisoners of war in Britain during the
French Revolution

In 1796 over 2000 prisoners of war from the Caribbean arrived in Britain. Most were Black or mixed race and the entry registers at Portchester Castle give us a precious insight into their lives. There were a significant number of women and children whose story has largely been ignored but the archival records allow us to widen our understanding of the treatment of prisoners of war by looking beyond the usual focus on military history.

By uncovering their story, we can get a glimpse into lives that otherwise would be forgotten. Lives like that of Daniel Chanouette, an ‘Infant of coulor’ who was 3 months old when he died inside Forton’s prison in March 1797. His mother would have been heavily pregnant during the Atlantic crossing. The document that records his death gives few details about his brief life besides his name and the date and cause of his death. His parents’ names are not recorded, but they were from amongst the African-Caribbean prisoners. Daniel’s brief life and the lives of other African-Caribbean women and children prisoners at Forton and Portchester Castle point us towards new ways of looking at historical and archaeological evidence.



A study from alterity: women and children between Napoleonic
Peninsular War and Prison (1780-1816)

This study analyses women and children in times of conflict and prison during the Napoleonic Peninsular Wars. It applies the perspective of Gayatri Spivack’s otherness, according to which these subjects are always rescued from other sources that relate to them and never are written by themselves. Therefore, those sources offer a relate of descriptions filtrated by previous preconceptions, which we will explore. Various sources are shown in which these subjects are portrayed, either as individuals or as groups.

The emotional facet is discussed, the profile of childhood itself is sought, and the gender associations to which women may appear. We will use several sources:
Firstly, official records: some letters from the General Military Archive of Madrid and some files from the General Military Archive of Segovia and the Municipal Archive of Saragossa.

Secondly, various first-hand accounts such as military or engineers’ diaries. We focus on the personal Diary of José María Román, where multiple references are made to women and children from an affective perspective. In the scholar’s eyes, this engineer portrayed childhood-ruled education and various rites of passage typical of the French Napoleonic State.


The fundamental role of women played in view of the captivity of men. The case of Ignacia Llobera in the Peninsular War
When referring to prisoners of war, the parallel female role is not usually considered, which could be really important from different points of view. Moral support, consolation, hope, work of cohesion and management of the family economy are aspects to be considered. For captives, these ones were not trivial and, with this, the lack of freedom would be more bearable.

On the other hand, it is to vindicate the great value of the role of women in the social history of war. There are examples of all this in the protagonist of this work, Ignacia Llobera, wife of a Spanish brigadier, was held captive in France during the Napoleonic era.



Utilizados y a la vez perseguidos: Vicisitudes de la minoría gitana
durante las guerras modernas en España

La investigación indaga en la evolución de la población gitana dentro del ciclo demográfico moderno en España. La historiografía poco dice al respeto y son mínimas las contribuciones que brindan una consecución de su número entre los siglos XVI-XVIII. Esta minoría no fue visible en las estadísticas generales del periodo y tampoco se acogió de manera voluntaria a los registros que los reyes se orientaron realizar de manera específica para ellos, hasta que llegó el censo ordenado por Carlos III en 1783, que fue el más efectivo. Sin embargo, los gitanos no pasaron inadvertidos para el resto de la sociedad española y de esto son muestras las tantas legislaciones que se dictaron para hacerles sedentarios y así mejor controlarles, más los miles y miles de documentos en que se mencionan. Hay períodos en los que no se alude a ellos cuantitativamente, pero donde las repeticiones de las mismas
pragmáticas durante años inducen a pensar en su rápida e incontrolable masificación. En esta ponencia se interrelacionan todos los datos y se realiza una radiografía de la geografía gitana en la España Moderna.

Scientific Committee: CITCEM Executive Committee

Organizing Committee: Carla Sequeira & Joana Lencart

Organization: CITCEM

Session proposer: Evaristo C. Martínez-Radío Garrido (Transaction Values/Values in Transition)

The session will be held via the Zoom platform, with live broadcast on CITCEM’s YouTube channel.

OIC Webpage: https://oiccitcem.wixsite.com/oficinascitcem


Please check out the program at CITCEM and here:



QUOTE SUGGESTION of this entrance. Sugerencia de cita:

POWs families: «Anonymous protagonists in old wars: women and children between 1700 and 1815» CITCEM sessions, Porto 2021/22,  Ingenieros prisioneros, ISSN 2444-8060, 15/ 05/ 2023, https://ingenieros.hypotheses.org/1335

Citar este post
Maria Zozaya (2023, 15 mayo). PoWs families: «Anonymous protagonists in old wars: women and children between 1700 and 1815» CITCEM Sessions, Porto 2021/22. INGENIEROS PRISIONEROS. ISSN 2444-8060. Recuperado 21 de junio de 2024, de https://doi.org/10.58079/qcnd

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