List of child brides

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This is a list of child brides, females of historical significance who married under 18 years of age, which is the general marriageable age and age of majority in most countries in the 21th century; even though it is a historical anachronism to apply 21th century laws back into history.

List[edit]

Some of the child marriages recorded include:

Middle East[edit]

Ancient Egypt[edit]

1st century[edit]

Mary, mother of Jesus, married Joseph at the age of 12.

7th century[edit]

  • Aisha was allegedly 6 years old when the Islamic prophet Muhammad married her and allegedly 9 years old when he (aged 53) consummated the marriage.[1][2]
    The father of Aisha (born in 613/614 C.E.) betrothed her to the Islamic prophet Muhammad (born 570 CE – died 8 June 632 CE) in 623 C.E. and she was allegedly 18 years old when he died.[3][4] The Islamic prophet Muhammad married Aisha in 624 C.E., after Hegira to Medina and the Battle of Badr.[5] Aisha's age at marriage has been a source of controversy and debate, and some historians, scholars, and writers have revisited the previously-accepted timeline of her life.[6] Some writers have calculated Aisha's age based on details found in some biographies, eschewing the traditionally-accepted ahadith. One hadith recorded in the works of some medieval scholars, including al-Dhahabi,[7] states that Aisha's older sister Asma was ten years older than her. This has been combined with information about Asma's age at the time of her death along with descriptions of Aisha to suggest that Aisha was most likely as old as 17 to 19 years old at the time of her marriage.[8]

14th century[edit]

15th century[edit]

18th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

Wives of Abdulmejid I
Wives of Murad V

20th century[edit]

21st century[edit]

  • Nujood Ali (age 10), an arranged marriage by her father to a 30-year-old man[12] in 2008.[13] Coverage of her self-presented application for divorce later that year led to the legal age of marriage in Yemen to be raised to 18.[14]

East Asia[edit]

8th century[edit]

9th century[edit]

10th century[edit]

17th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

  • Rukhmabai (age 11) was married in India to Dadaji Bhikaji (age 19),[15] a cousin of her stepfather, in about 1875. After a lengthy court battle, the marriage was dissolved by an order from Queen Victoria and the publicity helped influence the passage of the Age of Consent Act, 1891, which increased age of consent for girls in India, married or unmarried, from 10 to 12.[16]

20th century[edit]

  • Ushabati Ghosh (age 11) was married to the Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose (aged 20)[18] in 1914. Bose, not keen on marriage so early in life and while still attending college, only did so at his mother's insistence.[19] They had nine children, two of whom died in early childhood.

Europe[edit]

From 380 A.D. to 1983 A.D., the age of majority was 21 years old in the Roman Catholic Church, which was adopted into canon law from Roman law. From 380 A.D. to 1971 A.D. the minimum marriageable age was 12 years for females and 14 years for males in the Roman Catholic Church, which was adopted into canon law from Roman law.

During the Holy Roman Empire (9th–19th centuries), age of majority was 21 years old and minimum marriageable age was 12 years for females and 14 years for males. There were some fathers who arranged marriages for a son or a daughter before he or she reached the age of maturity. Consummation would not take place until the age of maturity. Roman Catholic canon law defines a marriage as consummated when the "spouses have performed between themselves in a human fashion a conjugal act which is suitable in itself for the procreation of offspring, to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh."[20]

In England, the Marriage Act 1753 required a marriage to be covered by a license (requiring parental consent for those under 21) or the publication of banns (which parents of those under 21 could forbid). The Church of England dictated that both the bride and groom must be at least 21 years of age to marry without the consent of their families; in the certificates, the most common age for the brides is 22 years. For the grooms 24 years was the most common age, with average ages of 24 years for the brides and 27 for the grooms.[21] While European noblewomen often married early, they were a small minority of the population,[22] and the marriage certificates from Canterbury show that, in England, even among nobility it was very rare to marry women off at very early ages.[21]

In England, age of majority was lowered to 18 years old in 1971 and minimum marriageable age was raised from 12 for females and 14 for males to 16 years old for both in 1929.

The age of majority is 18 years old since 1983 C.E. and the minimum marriageable age is 14 years old for females and 16 years old for males since in 1917 C.E in the Roman Catholic Church.

9th century[edit]

10th century[edit]

11th century[edit]

12th century[edit]

  • Agnes of Courtenay was no more than 15-years-old when she was married to Reynald of Marash, sometime before 29 June 1149.
  • Berengaria of Castile married Conrad II, Duke of Swabia (aged 13/14), in 1187, when she was about 8-years-old. The marriage was never consummated due to her young age. After Conrad's death in 1196, Berengaria married her first cousin once removed Alfonso IX of León (aged 25/26) in 1197, when she was about 17- or 18-years-old. The marriage was eventually annulled by the Pope in 1204 on the grounds of consanguinity.

13th century[edit]

14th century[edit]

  • Joan of Kent (aged 12) secretly married Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent (aged 26), in 1340. Holland went to war overseas, and her family arranged for the 13-year-old Joan to marry William Montagu (aged 12) in either late 1340 or early 1341. When Holland returned, the marriage was revealed, and Holland petitioned the Pope to have Holland's wife returned to him. Following the ruling in Holland's favor in 1349, Pope Clement VI annulled the marriage to Montagu and ordered Joan and Holland to be married in the Church.
  • Anna von Schweidnitz (aged 14) was married to Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor (aged 37), in 1353. She had originally been betrothed at age 11 to Charles's newborn son and heir, Wencelaus, but after the death of both Wenceslaus and his mother, Charles asked to marry Anna himself.
  • Anne Mauny (aged 13) was married to John Hastings, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (aged 20), in 1368, following the death of his first wife, Margaret, in 1361.
  • Joan of Navarre (aged about 17/18) was married to John IV, Duke of Brittany (aged 46/47), in 1386.

15th century[edit]

  • Caterina Sforza was betrothed at age 10 to Girolamo Riario (aged 29/30) in 1473. Some sources state that they married in that year, but that the marriage was not consummated until 1477, when Caterina turned 14, the legal age at the time.

16th century[edit]

  • Lady Mary Brandon was at most 17-years-old when she was married to Thomas Stanley, 2nd Baron Monteagle, sometime before 1527.
  • Christina of Denmark (aged 11) was married by proxy to Francis II, Duke of Milan (aged 38), in September 1533. They were married in person in May 1534, when she was 12 and he was 39. After her first husband's death in 1535, she was considered as a possible fourth wife for Henry VIII, who at the time was 46, while she was only 16. However, the match was opposed by both Christina and her aunt Mary of Hungary, and so it never materialized. Christina eventually married Francis, Duke of Bar (aged 23), in July 1541, when she was 19.
  • Lucrezia de' Medici (aged 12) was married to Alfonso II d'Este, Duke of Modena (aged 24), in 1558. As Alfonso was fighting in France at the time, she did not move to his home in Ferrara until two years later. She died at the age of 16, and is believed to have been poisoned by her husband.
  • Bianca Cappello (aged 15) fell in love with Pietro Bonaventuri and, in November 1563, eloped with him to Florence, where they were married.
  • Margherita Farnese (aged 13) was married to Vincenzo Gonzaga (aged 18), the future Duke of Mantua, in March 1581. The marriage was annulled in May 1583 on grounds of non-consummation, Vincenzo claiming Margherita had been unable to do so due to a deformity[27] and Margherita accusing Vincenzo of impotence.

17th century[edit]

  • Jane Needham (aged about 14/15) was married to Charles Myddelton (aged 24/25) in 1660.
  • Henrietta Howard (aged about 17) was married to Henry Horatio O'Brien, Lord Ibrackan, in June 1686.

18th century[edit]

  • Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst (later known as Catherine the Great) was 16-years-old when she married her 17-year-old second cousin Peter of Holstein-Gottorp (later Peter III of Russia) in 1745.

19th century[edit]

  • Elizabeth Medora Leigh was, as a young teenager, seduced by her brother-in-law, Henry Trevanion, by whom she fell pregnant twice. After the second pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, she eloped with him to France in 1831, at age 16/17.
  • Isabella II of Spain (aged 16) was married to her double first cousin Francis, Duke of Cádiz (aged 24), in October 1846. The ceremony was held on Isabella's 16th birthday, and was a double wedding with Isabella's younger sister, Infanta Luisa Fernanda, marrying the Duke of Montpensier.

20th century[edit]

North America[edit]

17th century[edit]

18th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

  • A number of the numerous plural wives of Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, were under the age of 18. They included:
    • Fanny Alger (aged 16), who was married to Smith in early 1833.
    • Sarah Ann Whitney (aged 17), who was married with her parents' consent to Smith in July 1842. Nine months after this, she was married to Joseph C. Kingsbury.
    • Helen Mar Kimball (aged 14), who was sealed in marriage to Joseph Smith (aged 37) in May 1843. Following Smith's death when she was 16, Kimball married Horace Whitney (aged 22) "for time", in February 1846. Whitney was a brother of another of Smith's wives.
  • Harriet Howe (aged 15/16) married Henry Wilson (aged 28) in October 1840. Wilson later served as Vice President of the United States during the Grant administration.

20th century[edit]

  • Marilyn Monroe (aged 16) was married to James Dougherty (aged 21) in June 1942.
  • Janet Leigh (aged 15) married John Carlisle (aged 18) in August 1942.
  • Jill St. John (aged 16) married Neil Dubin (aged 22) in May 1957.
  • Lana Wood (aged 16) married Jack Wrather Jr. (aged 18) in December 1962.
  • Sherry Johnson (aged 11) was compelled by her mother to marry Alfonsa Tolbert (a deacon in their church and the man who had raped and impregnated Sherry) in March 1971.
  • Rena Chynoweth (aged 16) was married to Ervil LeBaron (aged about 49) circa 1974. Chynoweth was among at least thirteen plural wives LeBaron married, many of whom were underage at the time of their marriages.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "67Wedlock, Marriage (Nikaah)". sunnah.com.
  2. ^ "Aisha's Age of Consummation". wikiislam.net.
  3. ^ Campo, Juan Eduardo (2009-01-01). Encyclopedia of Islam. Infobase Publishing. pp. 25–. ISBN 9781438126968. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  4. ^ Reid, Donald Malcolm (2002-07-04). Cairo University and the Making of Modern Egypt. Cambridge University Press. pp. 66–. ISBN 9780521894333. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  5. ^ Esposito, John. "A'ishah: 614–678: Third wife of Muhammad". oxfordislamicstudies.com. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2019. Extracted from Esposito, John (2004). The Islamic World: Past and Present. ISBN 978-0397512164.
  6. ^ Ali, Kecia (2016). Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence. OneWorld. pp. 173–186. ISBN 978-1780743813.
  7. ^ al-Dhahabi. "Siyar a'lam al-nubala'". IslamWeb. Retrieved 3 September 2018. قال عبد الرحمن بن أبي الزناد : كانت أسماء أكبر من عائشة بعشر . (Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi al-Zunad said: Asma was older than Aisha by ten years
  8. ^ Barlas, Asma (2012). "Believing Women" in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur'an. University of Texas Press. p. 126. On the other hand, however, Muslims who calculate 'Ayesha's age based on details of her sister Asma's age, about whom more is known, as well as on details of the Hijra (the Prophet's migration from Mecca to Madina), maintain that she was over thirteen and perhaps between seventeen and nineteen when she got married. Such views cohere with those Ahadith that claim that at her marriage Ayesha had "good knowledge of Ancient Arabic poetry and genealogy" and "pronounced the fundamental rules of Arabic Islamic ethics.
  9. ^ "Princess Fawzia of Egypt Married". The Meriden Daily Journal. Cairo. AP. 15 March 1939. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  10. ^ Ghazal, Rym (8 July 2013). "A forgotten Egyptian Princess remembered". The National. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Hayrünnisa marriage". November 22, 2002. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  12. ^ Farrell, Courtney (2010-01-01). Children's Rights. ABDO. pp. 58–. ISBN 9781616133405. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  13. ^ Borzou Daragahi (June 11, 2008). "Yemeni bride, 10, says I won't - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  14. ^ Vivienne Walt (Feb 3, 2009). "A 10-Year-Old Divorcee Takes Paris - TIME". Time. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  15. ^ Lahiri, Shompa (2013-10-18). Indians in Britain: Anglo-Indian Encounters, Race and Identity, 1880-1930. Routledge. pp. 13–. ISBN 9781135264468. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  16. ^ Rappaport, Helen (2003). Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion. ABC-CLIO. pp. 429–. ISBN 9781851093557. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  17. ^ Ramanujan’s wife: Janakiammal (Janaki). Profile at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc)
  18. ^ Chatterjee, Santimay; Chatterjee, Enakshi (2002). Satyendra Nath Bose (PDF). National Book Trust. ISBN 9788123704920.
  19. ^ Wali, Kameshwar (2009). Satyendra Nath Bose, His Life and Times. World Scientific. pp. xviii–. ISBN 9789814518277.
  20. ^ canon 1061 §1
  21. ^ a b Laslett, Peter. 1965. The World We Have Lost. New York, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p 82
  22. ^ Coontz, Stephanie. 2005. Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage. New York, New York: Viking Press, Penguin Group Inc. p 125-129.
  23. ^ Jones, Michael K. (1993-04-22). The King's Mother: Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521447942. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  24. ^ Ralph A. Griffiths, King and Country: England and Wales in the Fifteenth Century, (Hambledon Press, 1991), 91.
  25. ^ Butler, Alban; Burns, Paul (January 1998). Butler's Lives of the Saints. Continuum. pp. 48–. ISBN 9780860122517. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  26. ^ Tunis, David L. (2005-01-01). Fast Facts on the Kings and Queens of England. Author House. pp. 125–. ISBN 9781467065238. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  27. ^ Matthews-Grieco, SaraF (2017-07-05). Cuckoldry, Impotence and Adultery in Europe (15th-17th century). Routledge. p. 38. ISBN 9781351570466.
  28. ^ "I'm A Celebrity: Bev Callard's tumultuous first marriage at 16 before baby heartbreak".
  29. ^ a b Dukakis, Andrea (4 April 2017). "Child Marriage, Common In The Past, Persists Today". Colorado Public Radio. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  30. ^ Little, Becky (6 June 2018). "When a Millionaire Married a Teen And Sparked Opposition to U.S. Child Marriage". HISTORY. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  31. ^ Tauke, M.S. (May 18, 1973). "Karen Fibbed on Weddings, Investigation Here Reveals". Journal & Courier.
  32. ^ Kenyatta 2002, p. 25
  33. ^ Duncan, Amy (July 18, 2017). "The story of R Kelly and Aaliyah – from their secret teenage marriage to those pregnancy rumours". Metro. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  34. ^ "R. Kelly: Indecent Proposal". Vibe. September 18, 2008. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
  35. ^ Ogunnaike, Lola (May 2002). "CAUGHT IN THE ACT". Vibe. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  36. ^ McClain, Shonda (July 8, 1995). "Aaliyah: Weathering the storm of controversy". Indianapolis Recorder. Indianapolis. p. 9.