Category Archives: Crónicas

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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The Pact of Calatayud (1/3)

Façade of the church of San Pedro de los Francos, seat of the Aragonese courts in Calatayud. Probably, the Catholic Monarchs received in this temple the delegation of Grandcanarian indigenes that rendered them obedience in May of 1481 (source: Diego Delso – Wikimedia Commons).

The proximity of May 30th, official date of the so-called Day of the Canaries, awakens among lovers of the ancient history of the Archipelago the memory of a controversial event wrapped in the unknowns of the scarcity of documentary records: we speak of what has been known either as the Letter, Peace or Pact of Calatayud.

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Tarha: new database on the Ancient History of the Canary Islands

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QOX4balxGE&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

On the verge of celebrating PROYECTO TARHA‘s first anniversary, we could not but celebrate publishing the first prototype of which we announced as one of …

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The Essentials (II): Le Canarien - French Chronicles on the Conquest of the Canaries

Front cover of the first volume of Le Canarien 1959 edition by Professors Elías Serra Ràfols and Alejandro Cioranescu (source: Biblioteca Virtual Viera y Clavijo).

Le Canarien (The Canarian) is the oldest of the known Canarian chronicles. Originally written over six-hundred years ago, it is the first specific account almost entirely devoted to the European conquest of the Archipelago. Its initial authors, two French priests: Jehan Le Verrier and Pierre Boutier, chaplains to the conquest expedition assembled in 1402 by Norman Baron Jehan IV de Béthencourt and his partner, Pictavin Knight Gadifer de La Salle, as both of them admit:

[…] Gadifer de La Sale and Jehan de Béthencourt, knights born in the Kingdom of France, have undertaken this voyage to honor God and for maintenance and increasement of our holy faith, to parts of the South, to certain islands that are on the side thereof, which they call islands of Canaria inhabited by infidels people with different laws and different languages, […] with the intention of turning them and attract them to our faith; That is why this book is called the Canarian. And we, Brother Pierre Boutier, monk of Saint-Juoin-des-Marnes and Mr. Jehan Le Verrier, priests and chaplains and servants of the knights named above, have begun to write down all the things that happened to them from the beginning and the whole form of their government, of which we could have had true knowledge, since they left the Kingdom of France until […] Béthencourt arrived here at the islands; and thereafter came the writing in other hands, that will resume it with all the truth until the end of their conquest.

Le Canarien (text G) –SERRA (1964), pp. 14-16– (this translation by PROYECTO TARHA).

Truth is that those other hands were not as accurate as the original authors expected. In fact, having either the original or originals dissappeared, the two oldest known copies of this account are perfect examples of hagiographic manipulation.

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The Essentials: Chronicles, histories, public documents and studies

 

Act of Bufadero

An example of a public document relevant to the ancient history of the Canary Islands: a fragment of the only-known copy of the so-called Treaty of Bufadero (source: Archivo Histórico Provincial de Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Historical Section of Notarial Protocols , 1178 , fol . 55r )

Under The Essentials epigraph we intend to widespread a series of documents we consider to be cornerstones in understanding the ancient history of the Canary Islands.

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The Essentials (I): Canarias: Crónicas de su conquista

 

Canarias-Cronicas de su conquista-Portada

Cover of the 1978 edition of the work Canarias: Crónicas de su conquista, by Professor Francisco Morales Padrón —source: Memoria Digital de Canarias – Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria—.

As in the New World, the Chronicle is the story of a drama. Because it is the story of the dissappearance of a people. This people has not left us its account on the Conquest. We miss the other side. Who tells is the winner.

[…]

The contents of the Canarian chronicle are similar to those of the Indian’s and the events (relations among conquerors and indigenes, curiosity about the latter’s world, etc.) are a sort of preannouncement of the American affair.

Francisco Morales Padrón –Canarias: Crónicas de su conquista (1978), pp. 14, 54.– (this translation by PROYECTO TARHA)

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