Carmen de Burgos Segui was born in Almeria, Spain, a daughter of the Portugese consul. She lived a sheltered and comfortable childhood. In 1883, at age 16, she married Arturo Álvarez Bustos, a journalist and poet 14 years her senior. He proved to be an abusive alcoholic, and Carmen divorced him and moved to Madrid with her child. She worked as a school teacher, and became a pioneering journalist, writing hundreds of articles for numerous magazines and newspapers. She became the first known female war correspondent in 1909. Sometimes using the pen name Colombine, she wrote more than 50 short stories, a dozen full-length novels, and 57 short novels, including Los inadaptados (1909), La Rampa (1917) and El ultimo contrabandista (1920). She was one of the most widely-read writers of her time. She was an ardent feminist activist and gave public speeches in support of civil rights -- including the vote -- for women. She was elected president of the International League of Iberian and Hispanoamerican Women.