Brites de Almeida, the baker of Aljubarrota, was a legendary figure and Portuguese heroine, whose name has been associated with the victory of the Portuguese, against Castilian forces, in the battle of Aljubarrota (1385). With her baker’s shovel, she would have killed seven Castilians she had found hidden in an oven.
Brites de Almeida was said to have been born in Faro, in 1350, to poor and humble parents, who owned a small tavern.
Legend has it that since she was a little girl, Brites revealed herself to be a burly, bony and ugly woman, with a hooked nose, a very ripped mouth and curly hair. She would have six fingers in her hands, which would have cheered the parents, as they thought they would have a very hard-working future woman at home. However, this would not have happened, as Brites would have embittered the lives of his parents, who would die early.
At the age of 26 she was already an orphan, a fact that is said not to have afflicted her very much. She sold the meager possessions she owned, resolving to lead an errant life, negotiating from fair to fair. There are many adventures that she supposedly lived, from the death of a suitor on the edge of her own sword, to the flight to Spain on board a boat assaulted by pirates who sold her as a slave to a powerful man from Mauritania.
She would end up, amidst a legendary little virtuous and confused life, by settling in Aljubarrota, where she would become a bakery owner and take a more honest life. She would find herself in this village when the battle between Portuguese and Castilians took place.
Defeated the Castilians, seven of them fled the battlefield to live nearby. They found shelter at Brites’ house, which was empty because Brites would have gone out. When Brites returned, having found the door closed, she soon became suspicious of the presence of enemies and entered bustling in search of Castilians. She would have found the seven men in her oven, hiding. Summoning them to leave and surrender, and seeing that they did not respond because they pretended to sleep or did not understand, she hit them with her shovel, killing them.
It is also said that, after the event, Brites would have gathered a group of women and formed a kind of militia that pursued the enemies, killing them without mercy.