This incredible Criola’s story starts with the meeting of her father António Vicko Pusich and her mother Ana Maria Isabel Nunes at a reception at the Palace of Queluz. Ana Maria Isabel Nunes was the daughter of Manuel Nunes, and important character in the Court of D. Maria I of Portugal. On August 25th, 1791, the parents of Antónia Gertrudes Pusich were married at the Chapel of Paço de Queluz.
António Pusich was accumulating up the distinctions and ranks regularly. In 1798, He is responsible for the brig Dragon [Dragão]. By the following year, already commands a brigantine named Balão that stops in the ports of the islands of Cabo Verde. On March 18th, 1801, António Pusich was appointed quartermaster of Cape Verde Navy and Frigate Captain. António Pusich will later be named Governor of the islands, he was the only Intendant of the Navy of the Cape Verde Islands, a position he held for eight years.
In 1805, on the island of São Nicolau, Antónia Gertrudes Pusich was born. To mark the birth of his daughter, António Pusich erected the chapel of Santo António dos Navegantes [Saint Antony of the Navigators] in Porto Preguiça, São Nicolau. The Pusich family had four other children besides Antónia Gertrudes Pusich and they were João Antonio Pusich; Jerolim/Jeronymo Antonio Pusich; Ana Isabel Pusich and Pedro Antonio Pusich.
While still young Antónia Pusich collaborated with her parents in supporting populations of Cabo Verde, so many times plagued by disease and hardship due to protracted and cyclical droughts. She claims that her father did away in Cabo Verde with barbarous customs, such as corporal punishment in public that the former governor committed against the population, which according to Antónia Pusich, were virtually enslaved.
From an early age, Antonia Gertrudes accompanied her father on his trips throughout the islands of Cabo Verde. She also at times served as his secretary to draft certain documents.
Antónia Gertrudes Pusich married for the first time very young, in 1820 at the age of 15, with Judge João Cardoso de Almeida Amado Viana Coelho, a Delegate to the Parliamentary Courts of 1820, and had six children: João António Pusich Viana Coelho, Antónia Pusich Viana Coelho, Alfredo Pusich Viana Coelho, Maria Pusich Viana Coelho, Ana Pusich Viana Coelho e Ema Pusich Da Costa Freire E Oliveira (Viana Coelho).
The second marriage of Antónia Pusich was in 1830, with Commander Francisco Henriques Teixeira. From this marriage a son is born named Miguel Pusich Henriques Teixeira. Having become a widow for a second time, Antonia Gertrudes Pusich marries for a third time on April 16, 1836, in the Church of Santa Isabel, in Lisbon, with Captain José Roberto de Melo Fernandes e Almeida. They had several children, and their names were António (Melo Pusich), Antónia Gertrudes Andrade E Albuquerque (Pusich de Melo), Ana Isabel Filomena (Pusich de Melo) and Maria Amélia Carvalho (Pusich de Melo).
She was thought to read and write-through the education provided to her by her father and she practiced her reading skills with the many books that surrounded her at her home. She also had knowledge of several languages and began to write at a very early age. But the married life of a 19th century woman and her three marriages, as well as the adversities of life, only allowed her to publish for the first time in 1841. Antónia Gertrudes Pusich best known work is Olinda ou a Abadia de Comnor Place, published in 1848.
Antónia Gertrudes Pusich also wrote about members the royal family, whom always devoted to her family and herself a great friendship, and she was even a close friend of the Infanta Maria Isabel. The longevity of the author allowed her career to span several reigns – from D. Maria I until the reign of King Luís I of Portugal.
Her literary work is extensive and it is known that Antónia Gertrudes Pusch turned to writing in order to provide for her large family. Although many of her books seem relevant only to researchers and scholars, her writing as a journalist and as a founder of three journals [newspapers, periodicals] are to this day read with interest and pleasure. Antónia Pusich founded A Cruzada, A Beneficência and A Assembleia Literária and they stand as testimony of one facet of a pedagogue and a full participant in social and political life. She also had great success at the Teatro Normal, with the presentation of her piece entitled Constança ou o Amor Maternal, which was an autobiographical drama.
At a time when women were confined to the family, to music and embroidery, Antónia Pusich argued that they should also learn to read and write in order to fully participate in the social and political life of the country. Through the newspapers that she founded she aroused in the 19th century Portuguese and Cabo Verdean women the civic sense that would be a reality in the centuries that followed.
Antónia Gertrudes Pusich should be placed in the Cabo Verdean Literary Hall of Fame for her writing and accomplishments alongside the Early Writers [Antonio Januario Leite, Guilherme Ernesto, Custodio Duarte, Jose Lopes, Pedro Cardoso (Afro), Eugenio Tavares] and the Writers of the Claridade Movement [Baltasar Lopes da Silva (Osvaldo Alcântara), Jorge Barbosa, Manuel Lopes, António Aurélio Gonçalves, Jaime Figueiredo, Joao Lopes].
To know her is to admire her.
Faria, Luis António, Suzana Abreu, and Américo C. Araújo. Cabo Verde Terra de Morabeza: Uma Viagem Atraves de Sua Historia e Cultura. Valrico: LAF Enterprises, 2012.