Coronado, Carolina (1820–1911)

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Coronado, Carolina (1820–1911)

Spanish writer of the 19th century. Name variations: Victoria Carolina Coronado Romero; Carolina Coronado de Perry. Born on December 12, 1820, in Almendralejo, near Badajoz, Spain; died on January 15, 1911; daughter of Nicolás Coronado Gallardo and María Antonia Romero; married Horatio Justus Perry (an American diplomat), in 1852; children: Carlos Horacio (b. 1853); Carolina (b. 1857); Matilde (b. 1861).

Carolina Coronado was born into a solidly middle-class family on December 12, 1820, in Almendralejo, near Badajoz, Spain. She showed an early predilection for poetry, composing and memorizing verses before she had even learned to write. Her first published poem appeared in 1839, in the magazine El Piloto of Madrid. Other poems and articles quickly followed, to widespread praise. Coronado's fame grew with the publication of her first volume of poetry in 1843. A year later, however, a sudden illness nearly took her life, and her family was ready to bury her when a doctor detected catalepsy. Though her health remained somewhat fragile, she wrote profusely for periodicals throughout the Hispanic world and the United States.

The person with whom she had a long romance, identified only as Alberto, died in 1847. Coronado then moved to Madrid and, in 1848, received from the Artistic and Literary Lyceum a crown of gold and laurel at the hands of Queen Isabella II . In 1851, Coronado met an American diplomat, Horatio Justus Perry. They quietly married in a Protestant ceremony in Gibraltar on April 10 of the following year. Her desire to have her marriage confirmed by public Catholic rites was frustrated, however, by a relative who announced that Carolina had taken a vow of perpetual chastity in 1848. To the dismay of Spanish conservatives, she and her husband went to France where a Catholic ceremony was celebrated. Perry's position gave her access to wider social circles in Madrid, and Coronado became a fixture in the city's literary circles.

Domestic responsibilities and the birth in 1853 of her first child, Carlos Horacio, cut her literary output. She also accompanied her husband on diplomatic assignments. When the United States attempted to buy or forcibly annex Cuba, she and her husband worked to decrease tensions. Pro-slavery American senators called for Perry's resignation, and the couple decided to remain in Spain as private citizens. He turned to the business of laying trans-Atlantic underwater cables and later rejoined the U.S. diplomatic corps. She devoted more time to her family, while continuing to write lyrical poetry noted for its liberalism and love of nature. In 1857, her first daughter, Carolina, was born, followed four years later by a second, Matilde. Her home remained a gathering place for Madrid's literary figures.

Coronado spent her later life in Portugal. Her eldest daughter died in 1873, causing the poet's emotional collapse. After her recovery, the family moved to Lisbon. Perry's cable business failed during a financial panic, ruining him. He died in 1891. Carolina Coronado lived until January 15, 1911, and her remains, along with her husband's, were interred in Badajoz. In addition to romantic poetry, Coronado left a legacy of plays and novels.


Castilla, Alberto. Carolina Coronado de Perry: biografía, poesía e historia en la España del siglo XIX. Madrid: Ediciones Beramar, 1987.

Kendall W. Brown , Chair, Department of History, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

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Coronado, Carolina (1820–1911)

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