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31 May 2018

Daniel Burghammer (157?–?) soldier, blacksmith

In 1594 Daniel Burghammer joined the Austrian army, and also married. He served in Hungary and in the Netherlands. He was also a blacksmith.

In 1601, he was serving in the squadron of Captain Laymann zu Liebenau of the Madrucci Regiment, and was posted to Piadena, Italy. In late May he complained to his wife of pains in his belly, as if something was stirring within. An hour later he gave birth to a girl-child. His wife called the Captain. Thereupon he was examined and questioned. He confessed that he had always been half man and half woman, although raised as male. While in the Netherlands he had had sex with a Spaniard, and become pregnant, although he kept this secret.

Burghammer suckled the child, although he was able to do this with the right breast only. The child thrived. The priest christened the child with the name of Elizabeth, and put her out for adoption: several towns competed for the right to adopt her. The child was considered a miracle. The church granted Frau Burghammer a divorce in that Daniel’s ability to give birth was incompatible with the role of husband.
  • Richard Wilmer Rowan. The story of secret service. Literary Guild of America, 1937: 698.
  • George Tennyson Matthews. News and Rumor in Renaissance Europe The Fugger Newsletters.Capricorn Books, 1959: 247-8. Online.
  • Anne Fausto-Sterling. Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. Basic Books, 2000: 35.

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