Author Archives: Proyecto Tarha

From Guise's side. From Ayose's side

The idealised statues of Guise and Ayose, a work by Lanzarote-born sculptor Emiliano Hernández García, standing on the namesake viewpoint in the municipality of Betancuria in Fuerteventura (source: Luc. T / Wikimedia Commons).

In honor of my father’s family: my great-grandfather Matías Casanova “El Charco”, my grandmother, Susana Casanova Darias, and my great-aunt Manolita. From Vega de Tetir. “From Guise’s side.”

That Guise and Ayose were the names of the two maho chieftains who ruled Fuerteventura island at the time of the conquest by Jehan de Béthencourt and Gadifer de La Salle is something well known in Canarian popular culture. Such is so that the latter has been a relatively frequent anthroponym imposed among males born in the Canary Islands since the mid-1970s, a time when recognition and homage to precolonial cultural and historical roots began to be claimed with some force after being silenced for a long time.

But a much less known fact is that both names survived the European conquest for four centuries without losing an iota of their everyday nature. And even more surprising is that they did not do it in the field of toponymy, a common refuge for forgotten words, but in a very unusual way: the administrative field.

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"The said Canarians could not live": Return to the Pact of Calatayud

A fragment of folio 1v. of the RGS-1515-01-32 manuscript containing a copy of the so-called Letter of Calatayud (source: Archivo General de Simancas)

[…] the said Canarians could not live without coming to our reigns of Castile and Leon to trade […]

(Letter of Calatayud, 30th May 1481)

INVITED AUTHORESS: CECILIA CÁCERES JUAN

This 30th of May, “Day of the Canaries”, we celebrate the fact that Canarians did indeed live and thrive without trading with Castile. They live and will live.

In a single sentence from the so-called Pact or Letter of Calatayud, signed by the Catholic Monarchs and an anonymous guanarteme –Grandcanarian chieftain– the 30th of May 1481, the downfall of autarchy and dismantling of the polities that sustained the life and society of the ancient Canarians is laid bare.

This short article will examine the effects of the pact on Canarian identity through a subjective analysis of relevant documents and in relation to the theme and ethos of the above quoted sentence. To contextualize this extract, we should consider certain misconceptions regarding the pact, such as the belief that this pact gave origin to the Day of the Canaries, or “Día de Canarias”.

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Tanausu: Benahoare's Hero

“Tanausú, Tierra y Nobleza” (Tanausu, Land & Nobility) (2016), an idealized picture embellishing the facade of Casa de la Cultura Braulio Martín Hernández in El Paso (La Palma), a work by Lanzarote-born muralist Matías Mata, nicknamed Sabotaje al Montaje (source: PROYECTO TARHA).

For La Palma, our Benahoare, nowadays in such a need of strength and courage.

In the traditional historical memory of the Canaries, individuals belonging to the precolonial island societies who faced the European Conquest with the technological and numerical disadvantage inherent to their way of life, environment, material resources and demographics who sometimes chose to sacrifice their own lives rather than surrender are bestowed the role of true people’s heroes regardless of whether the referred subjects enjoyed any sort of privileged social status.

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Conquest of the Seven Ysles of Canaria (1687) : Tomás Marín de Cubas : A Critical Edition by Antonio M. López Alonso

PLEASE FIND BELOW SOME LINKS TO MEDIA INTERVIEWS ON THIS BOOK.

EXPLANATORY NOTE: Due to some incoming enquiries, we must stress as indicated in this post that ours is not a reissue of the 1694 copy-manuscript by Marín de Cubas, but the first edition of his 1687 unpublished manuscript.

We are very pleased to announce the publication in LeCanarien Ediciones of our second printed work; the first and long-awaited edition of one of the fundamental works for the knowledge of the ancient history of our Archipelago: CONQUEST OF THE SEVEN YSLES OF CANARIA by Canarian physician and historian Tomás Marín de Cubas.

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Confined Quiz (II): Tanausu's last spoken words

The sea of clouds upon the inner cliffs surrounding Caldera de Taburiente on La Palma island. Benahoare’s last indigenous defenders took shelter on them under Tanausu’s command against Castilian invaders (photo: Government of the Canaries).

WHICH WERE THE LAST WORDS SPOKEN BY TANAUSU, LA PALMA’S LAST INDIGENOUS CHIEFTAIN, BEFORE LETTING HIMSELF DIE WHILST HE WAS BEING TAKEN TO CASTILE AS A PRISONER IN 1493?

  1. ATIS TIRMA (or any variant)
  2. VACAGUARE (or any variant)
  3. BENAHOARE (or any variant)
  4. IT IS UNKNOWN
  5. NONE OF THE PREVIOUS

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Confined Quiz (I): The oldest recorded name of Teguise village (Lanzarote)

Teguise – Lanzarote: Plaza de la Constitución (source: PROYECTO TARHA)

Inspired by the current situation of confinement due to the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, and under the heading Confined Quiz, we begin a new series of short posts with which we intend to clarify certain aspects of the history of the Canary Islands; in particular, those not well known or, on the contrary, widely disseminated but fundamentally erroneous ideas. We will present each topic with a small test under which you might want to find the correct answer -or more correct, should be the case- with the relevant documentary justification. Without further ado, let’s begin:

WHICH IS THE OLDEST RECORDED NAME OF TEGUISE VILLAGE (LANZAROTE)?

  1. TEGUISE
  2. ACATIFE
  3. GRAN ALDEA
  4. FAMAGÜI

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The Essentials (XIII): Alfonso de Palencia's Fourth Decade and his lost work on Canarian customs and religions

An excerpt from folio 548v. of the Universal Vocabulary in Latin and in Romance (1490) by Alfonso de Palencia where he declares having written a work on the customs and religions of the Canarian people (source: Biblioteca Virtual de Andalucía / PROYECTO TARHA -boxes-).

Unfortunately all this does not make up for the lack of Alonso de Palencia’s work, a loss that we will always deplore due to the the first-hand Canarian news it would provide and for being the first Castilian information on Gran Canaria’s indigenous customs.

Prof. Juan Álvarez Delgado (1963) –Alonso de Palencia (1423-1492) y la historia de Canarias, p. 77–[1]This translation by PROYECTO TARHA.

He negotiated in the name of the Catholic Monarchs the capitulations preceding the royal invasion of Gran Canaria, supervised and coordinated the logistics of the conquest expeditions put under the command of Juan Rejón in 1478 and 1479, and shortly thereafter personally proposed Pedro de Vera as the most qualified man to end the war of Canaria, entrenched from the beginning by the interpersonal quarrels of the Castilian captains and the strong indigenous resistance.

With this background, no one would suspect that Alonso or Alfonso de Palencia (Palencia, 1423 – Seville, 1492) was the author of the first monographic study devoted entirely to the culture and religion of the ancient Canarians. And it is true that a brief analysis of this character and his extensive literary production makes it hard to find in the Castile of his time a better connected and prepared individual to face a work of this kind.

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Taxanicuvidagua: The Pass of the Staff

Risco Faneque, in Agaete (Gran Canaria), one of the highest sea cliffs in the world (source: PROYECTO TARHA).

Fortunately, the project […] that aimed to turn the valley into a tourist exploitation has been paralyzed for the time being. However this threat, anti-ecological and made of irrational modernization, looms over what is called to be an archaeological-natural park, and not one of those horrifying tourist condensation spots.

Celso Martín de Guzmán (The ethnohistorical sources and their relationship with the archaeological surroundings of the Guayedra Valley and Tower of Agaete (Gran Canaria), 1977)[1]This translation by PROYECTO TARHA. 

To the people of Agaete, Artenara and La Aldea (Gran Canaria) in support of their advocacy of their natural, cultural and historical heritage.

One of the most important legacies the ancient Canarians left to us is the rich indigenous toponymy treasured by the Islands. The cause of this survival would have to be found in the innocuousness of these place names from the perspective of the European invaders, to whom only the customs related mainly to the islanders’ religious cults and rituals would be intolerable, being obviously incompatible with the imposition of Christianity.

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The conquest of the Canary Islands in TV historical fiction: the cases of "Isabel" and "Conquistadores Adventum"

An idealization of a Canarian indigene according to lithographer A. de Saint-Aulaire, created to illustrate the first volume of the Histoire Naturelle des Iles Canaries, published in 1842 by botanist Philip Barker-Webb and ethnologist Sabin Berthelot (source: Archive.org).

The ancient history of the Canary Islands and, especially as best documented, the period that comprises the European conquest of the Archipelago have had little treatment in both historical novel genre as in cinematography, and almost invariably by the hand of either local authors or foreigners who have maintained some kind of relationship with the Islands, whether residential, sentimental or family.

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The Essentials (XII): The Gomerans sold by Pedro de Vera and Doña Beatriz de Bobadilla

Indigenes of La Gomera, depicted by Leonardo Torriani in 1590 (source: Biblioteca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra, catalogue number Ms. 314, fol. 81r.).

To fully clarify the content of these 120 documents has been an immense job. And since an illustrious Canaryman has described me as a typical German, with a file, I must confess frankly that I own an immense one, […][1]This translation by PROYECTO TARHA.

Dominik Josef Wölfel (The Gomerans sold by Pedro de Vera and Doña Beatriz de Bobadilla, p. 23)

Present year 2018 began with very good news for Canarian historiography: the acquisition by El Museo Canario of the personal file of Professor Dominik Josef Wölfel (Vienna, 1888-1963), kept at the Institutum Canarium in Vienna. Making the most, in addition, of the recent publication of our last two posts on the Gomeran rebellion of 1488, now we issue another of our recommended essentials, which we owe to the prestigious author of the Monumenta Linguae Canariae.

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