Two Canarian monarchs

Fragment of folio 134v. of Juan de Carasa y Zapico’s Nobiliario in which interesting data on the conquest of Gran Canaria do appear (source: Biblioteca Digital Hispánica – Biblioteca Nacional de España, catalogue number Mss. 11633).

While we were preparing our essay Los pactos indígenas de Gran Canaria y Tenerife, we ordered from the Biblioteca Nacional de España a digital copy of a genealogical book –Nobiliario– written in the middle of the sixteenth century, being the only known work by Cordoban genealogist Juan de Carasa Zapico. Request was motivated by the intention to firsthand check a piece of information referred to in the latter nineteenth century by Spanish zoologist, explorer and scholar Marcos Jiménez de la Espada (Cartagena, 1831 – Madrid, 1898) in an interesting article entitled La guerra del moro a fines del siglo XV (The Moor War at the End of the Fifteenth Century), we recommend reading.

The manuscript we refer to, a 1630’s late copy, it is kept at the BNE with catalogue number Mss. 11633 and the digitalization we requested it is now available for public, free downloading via Biblioteca Digital Hispánica.

As we say, this work contains some interesting data not appearing in any other source.  The text in question is as follows, as it appears in folio 134v.:

PEDRO DE VERA, knight of good effort and warfare experienced, this they called the Lefty, was governor and conqueror of Gran Canaria by command of the Catholic Monarchs Don Fernando and Doña Ysabel and won it by force of arms, and captivated two Canarian Monarchs, and brought them presented before the Catholic Monarchs.

Aside from the nickname with which Carasa Zapico attests the conqueror and governor of Gran Canaria was known –probably, according to Jiménez de la Espada, more descriptive of this character’s scarce morality rather than of his presumed left-handedness–, the mention to the capture of two Canarian monarchs is the only documentary testimony in this respect, because the other known sources only mention explicitly the surrender, either voluntary or not, of who would be baptized as Fernando Guanarteme.

Prior to this event, the primitive chronicles and Abreu Galindo attest to the death by illness of the guanartemes of Telde and Gáldar, in dates imprecise although near each other and near the beginning of the conquest realenga of Gran Canaria. In the case of the death of the leader of Gáldar, called by the Europeans Guanarteme the Good, we are told that during his agony, since his only legitimate daughter was a minor, he ordered to be replaced in the functions of the position to a nephew who We can identify almost unequivocally with Fernando Guanarteme.

Prior to this event, the primitive chronicles and Abreu Galindo attest to the death by illness of the Guanartemes of Telde y Gáldar in some imprecise dates but close to each other and also close to the beginning of the royal conquest of Gran Canaria. In the case of the death of Gáldar’s leader, known to the Europeans as Guanarteme the Good, we are told that during his agony, since his only legitimate daughter was a minor, he ordered to be replaced in his position’s functions to a nephew who we can identify almost unequivocally with Fernando Guanarteme.

Unfortunately, identity of the second guanarteme, presumably that of Telde, persists as unknown, but we will try to shed some light on this issue in an upcoming post we will devote to the so-called Pact of Calatayud.

Two kings? A king and a queen?

In our previous article we pointed out that in 1482 an anonymous queen of Canaria was delivered to Bishop Juan de Frías. Therefore, it is possible to object an objection to all the exposed thing: were necessarily the two kings captured by Pedro de Vera? Why not a king-Fernando Guanarteme-and a queen-his wife?

In our previous post we pointed out that in 1482 an anonymous Queen of Canaria was delivered to Governor Juan de Frías. Therefore, it is possible to bring an objection to all we have exposed: were necessarily two men the monarchs captured by Pedro de Vera? Why not one king –Fernando Guanarteme– and one queen –his wife–?

By now, only possible answer is merely probabilistic, although not without some documentary basis: on the one hand, we know that an anonymous guanarteme paid homage to the Catholic Monarchs in Calatayud on 1481, a date probably prior to Fernando Guanarteme’s capture. On the other hand, distinction between sexes was common practice in the late medieval documents. For instance, in the public documentation relating to the Catholic Monarchs, notaries sign as scribe of the King and Queen, and not as scribe of the Monarchs.

Antonio M. López Alonso

References

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