Category Archives: Historias

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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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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The Ganigo of Guadajume (2/2): reprisal

A map of San Sebastián de La Gomera town at the end of 16th century, by engineer Leonardo Torriani (source: Biblioteca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra, catalogue number Ms. 314, fol.83v.).

[…] old Chupulapu[…] told them crying, and repentant, I shall die soon so there you stay, who will pay well Lord Peraza’s death, woe to your children, and families, woe to you miserable ones, and soon after he died;[1]This translation by PROYECTO TARHA.

Tomás Arias Marín de Cubas (Historia de las siete islas de Canaria –1694–, Book II, Chapter XII)

The dramatized end of Pablo Hupalapu, or Chupulapu, in the story shared by both Abreu Galindo and Marín de Cubas, preludes the atrocious reprisal that Gomeran people would suffer at the end of 1488 or the beginning of 1489 after the death of Fernán Peraza the Younger at the hands of his own vassals.

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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.:

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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 (VI): History of Our Lady of Candelaria

Front cover of History of Our Lady of Candelaria (source: Memoria Digital de Canarias).

This is what on the customs of the natives, with great difficulty and labor, I have could acquire and understand; for them old guanches are so shortsighted and crouched that if they know them, they do not want to tell about them, thinking that divulging them is to lessen their nation.

Brother Alonso de Espinosa (On the origin and miracles of the Holy Statue of Our Lady of Candelaria […] (1594), Book I, Chapter IX – This translation by PROYECTO TARHA) 

In the absence of a chronicle specific to the conquest of Tenerife, the work of the Dominican friar Alonso de Espinosa (Alcalá de Henares, 1543 – c. 1600)  can be regarded as the first written history on the island of Mount Teide, as well as the second book went to press devoted to the Canary Islands.[1]The first printed book dealing with the Archipelago dates back to 1583 and is titled A Pleasant Description of the Fortunate Ilandes, being its author the English merchantman Thomas Nichols.

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