Category Archives: Historias

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;[2]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.[3]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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The Essentials (V): History of the Seven Islands of Canaria

marin_de_cubas-1694

The 1986 edition of Tomás Arias Marín de Cubas’ History of the Seven Islands of Canaria (source: Memoria Digital de Canarias).

[…] History by Marín de Cubas, critically read, therefore constitutes a solid foundation for the knowledge of the prehispanic past of the Canary Islands.

Preface by Professor Juan Régulo Pérez for the 1986 edition of Historia de las siete islas de Canaria[4]ARIAS (1986), p. 28.. This translation by PROYECTO TARHA.

Despite its limited spreading, we are facing what is probably the most important surviving work on the world of the ancient Canarians, right after the work by Brother Juan de Abreu Galindo, even surpassing this in some key aspects.

Written by Dr. Tomás Arias Marín de Cubas –or Marín y Cubas– (Telde, Gran Canaria, 1643 – Las Palmas, 1704), who also holds the merit of being the collator of the oldest known transcripts of the accounts by Antonio Sedeño and Gómez Escudero, History of the Seven Islands of Canaria is a work that never ceases to amaze researchers approaching themselves to its pages because, apart from several historiographical mistakes committed by the author, this opus provides us with interesting, previously unpublished data on the indigenes and some vivid accounts of known episodes of the Conquest showing that the author had access to information outside that in other surviving writings dealing with the topic.

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The Essentials (IV): Description and History of the Kingdom of the Canary Islands

mapa-canarias-cancer

The notorious map of the Canary Islands related to the zodiacal sign of Cancer, by Engineer Leonardo Torriani in the late sixteenth century (source: Biblioteca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra, catalogue number Ms. 314, folio 8r.)

In 1584, King Philip II of Spain commissioned one of his trusted technicians, Engineer Leonardo Torriani (Cremona, Duchy of Milan, c 1560 -. Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal, 1628), to design and build a keep and a dock on the island of La Palma. This mission, which lasted about two years, was extended by re-hiring the Cremonese in 1587 to carry out a more ambitious project: the inspection of all defensive infrastructure of the Archipelago with the drafting of a comprehensive report on them including expansion and reform proposals.

His stay in the Archipelago lasted about twelve years, until 1596, during which he was provided with the opportunity to acquire a deeper insight on various aspects of its culture and history. Fortunately, in line with the prevailing Baroque style in Italian culture, Torriani decided that a simple technical report would be too arid for the monarch’s taste:

Having been ordered by Your Majesty, in past years, to make the description of the Canary Islands, I felt such small lands, detached from Africa and so lonely, by the smallness of the case, could not be more than scarcely welcomed by You. And so, finding in the monuments of letters how to embellish them, I determined myself to add the story and events that happened on them, until our times, with the views and drawings of their strongholds.[5]TORRIANI (1959), p. 1. This translation by PROYECTO TARHA.

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The Essentials (III): History of the Conquest of the Seven Islands of Gran Canaria

Front cover of the 1848 edition of the History of the Conquest of the Seven Islands of Gran Canaria, by Brother Juan de Abreu Galindo (source: Memoria Digital de Canarias).

It is true that many have claimed telling something about these islands; but they chose whatever suited their matter, and some of them, not having full news about, went brief and although what they said was very little, […] it has been a great argument to mean that not so low karats was the renown of the Isles of Canaria […].

Brother Juan de Abreu Galindo (Prologue to the History of the Conquest of the Seven Islands of Gran Canaria) –1848 Edition–

Leaving little room for doubt, this is perhaps the best known and influential work of the Canarian historiography.

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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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