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Short Biography

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Birth

Agustina de Carmen Otero, in the village Puente Valga of the province of Galicia, Spain, on 20 December 1868

Her mother was Carmen Otero Iglesias, born 18 February 1846 in Puente Valga, nicknamed La Xurumela (the small one) or La Cordeirana (from the nearby village Santa Comba de Cordeiro)

She never married but had many relationships with various men. She lived in a small, humid and dark house, between two taverns: La Paloma and Cuscubela

Died in 1903

Caroline claimed that her father was a Greek army officer.

Her maternal grandparents were Isidoro Otero and his wife Dolores Iglesias, both from Puente Valga. Her godmother was Josefa Valentina Vicente, also from Puente Valga.

 

Brothers and sisters

She had four brothers and one sister

Gumercindo

Valentin

Adolfo Otero Iglesias, who took part in the Boers War of South Africa

Francisco

Francisca

Raped at 11

She was eleven years old when she was violated by Venancio Romero, nicknamed Conainas, a cobbler from the same village. It was on 6 August 1879 in the afternoon on the path of the slope of Terroeira crossing the pine woods surrounding her village. Agustina or Tina was returning from school like very day. The school was in Pontecesures, four kilometers from Valga, her village.

 

The girl was taken to the house of Gina, a villager of Valga, where two doctors examined her, they were José Benito Vàzquez and José Francisco Vàsquez. She was delirious from the heavy shock and bleeding. Her mother was touring other villages to sell pots and hardware, so her godmother was called. The doctors agreed with the village women that she should not be moved in order for the bleeding to stop. After two days her situation had not improved, so she was taken on muleback to the royal hospital of Saint Jacques de Compostelle. For several more days it was not sure if she would live, but then she recovered and was taken to a house of the town, upon recommendation by Carrandan, the priest of her village. It was the first time she lived in a normal house.

 

Her aggressor, Venancio Romero or Conainas was 27 years old then. Like her, he was child of a single mother. He had violated another girl two months ago, in Santiago de Padron. Once more he escaped justice; some say he emigrated to Argentina, some others that he was killed in a brawl in Asturias.

 

In the eyes of the villagers Agustina Otero was soiled for ever, without honor or decency; no man would marry her, no one would give her a decent work to do. She had to go.

 

Lisbon, 1880

Agustina left Valga six months after her traumatic experience. She was almost twelve years old, it was in the beginning of 1880. She followed a young man named Paco, of galician origin like her, a few years older than she. They roamed around dancing and entertaining at village fairs. Agustina became pregnant and hed to return to Valga, where her mother, blinded by the disrepute of her daughter, sent her away. She continued her erring around Lisbon with Paco, singing and dancing with him as itinerant artists. An abortion done by a midwife left her sterile for ever.

 

Barcelona, 1882

Agustina leaves Lisbon in the summer of 1882 to settle in Barcelona with Paco. It is possible that it is another Paco, since it is a very common name in Spain. She already calls herself Caroline. This Paco is a regular pimp who exploits her openly. His nickname in the mob is El Boniato (sweet potato) and his real name Francisco Coll y Leon. She describes him as a professional seducer, a conqueror by trade, for whom any means was good to gain money. She dances at café-concerts and night joints. At one time she is sick with typhoid and rests in hospital for three months.

Curiously enough, Paco is the only man that Carolina remembered fondly at her old age.

 

Barcelona, 1886

The time has come for Carolina and Paco to pass from the entertainment of workers at ill-famed places to an upper-class establishment. Crystal Palace was a casino, a restaurant and a music-hall. After dancing or singing on stage, the girls mixed with clients under the watchful eye of their pimps, ready to interfere with a pocket knife. They were rewarded by banknotes which the happy patron slid into their decolleté or their jarretière.

 

Paco collects the money and spends it on the gambling table. He is a incurable card player, his favourable game is monte, resembling baccara.

 

The first piece where Caroline appeared is Voyage to Switzerland, where a young bride is abducted by bandits who attack the train where she travels.

 

 

Died 12 April 1965

Wednesday the 18th
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