Tag Archives: Conquista de Gran Canaria

Esteban de Junqueras at the War of Canaria (1478-1483): an official evidence of his participation

A drawing by Javier García Gómez of Esteban de Junqueras’ cenotaph now preserved in the chapel of Pazo de Oca, Pontevedra province, Galicia –GARCÍA GÓMEZ, (2016, p. 262)–.

Some of the narrative sources dealing with accounts on the so-called Royal Conquest of Gran Canaria witness the participation of captains Pedro de Santisteban, Cristóbal de Medina and Esteban de Junqueras commanding a number of troops sent by the Crown of Castile between 1480-1481 in order to support the invading forces already stablished on the Island. Although some coetaneous public documents do confirm the involvement of the two former no data as strong were known until now to prove the intervention of this third person, an evidence that we present in this post.
Antonio M. López Alonso


Más / More...

On the recruit of delinquents for the War of Canaria

An idealized effigy of Captain Juan Rejón, military commander of the expedition to invade Gran Canaria ordered by the Catholic Monarchs, on a commemorative plaque located in Vegueta neighborhood, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, year 2018. (source: PROYECTO TARHA).

(This post has been extended with a fourth document, 11th December 2022)

By their nature, armed conflicts have always been a destination and a departure point at the same time. A departure point for those who are forced by violence to suffer the physical, cultural and emotional uprooting that fleeing from a war zone entails. A destination for those who see in the chaos of the conflict an opportunity to escape punishment, reprisals and persecution ordered by the established power or at the design of third parties, either for political or personal reasons, or because the fugitive actually exercised criminal violence against people or assets. In the latter case, war dresses the offender with a cloak of impunity that allows him to continue committing, this time with no other restriction than his own will, those or other crimes and felonies.

An especially profitable case of twinning between delinquency and warmongering is the employ of convicts by political power as war troops in order to fulfill its own interests, freeing those been governed from the risk posed by the presence of the criminal and on the other hand channeling towards the war effort at zero cost the latent aggressiveness in the person or alternatively his will to survive a conflict that he may judge as alien to his interests.

On this matter, three out of the four public documents whose transcriptions we are presenting here are not unknown ones[1]We detail the appropriate references in the notes of the respective transcripts.. In fact they were listed in 1981 by Professor Eduardo Aznar Vallejo[2]AZNAR VALLEJO (1981), pp. 19, 26-27, 32., one of them was partially copied earlier by Professor Antonio Rumeu de Armas and at least two of them have subsequently been the subject of discreet publications, although one of them is incomplete. We now intend to make them known in their entirety along with a fourth and to offer at the same time a broader perspective on their context.


Más / More...

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.


Más / More...

The Essentials (XI): The Guanarteme Report

Idealized statue of Tenesor Semidán or Don Fernando Guanarteme by sculptor Juan Borges Linares, located at Gáldar, Gran Canaria (source: PROYECTO TARHA)

[…] He told them things of Castile and the Court and the great power of their Highnesses and that he did not recognize his lordship as worthy, nor those on this Island because that of their Highnesses was true […][1]Witness Alonso Hernández de Arévalo’s answer to the ninth question of the interrogation.

As we indicated in one of our Essentials, only three merit reports related to the conquest of the Canary Islands are preserved. This time we deal with the second of these important public documents: Don Fernando Guanarteme’s merit report, also known as the Guanarteme Report. (more…)

Más / More...

The Essentials (X): The Accounts on the Conquest of Gran Canaria

In 1966, as a result of an investigation encouraged by Professor Antonio Rumeu de Armas, then doctoral student Miguel Ángel Ladero Quesada published in Anuario de Estudios Atlánticos the transcription of some surprising documents that shed new light on the royal conquest of the Canary Islands which at the same time raised new questions. This valuable information appeared in three expense accounts, a kind of document whose arid and routine nature does not invite to presage any interesting data. Nothing further from reality.

The first account, dated between 1481 and 1482, right in the middle of the conquest of Gran Canaria, was signed by Pedro de Arévalo, supplier of the conquering army. The second relation of expenses was signed by Juan de Frías, Governor of the Palace of Córdoba –not to be confused with his namesake Bishop of Rubicón–. Finally, the third account showed the rubric of Antonio de Arévalo, son of the former, designated payer of the Castilian hosts that participated in the War of Canaria after its ending.

Puerto de Las Nieves (Agaete, Gran Canaria) in 2015.  In the distance, Mount Amagro, a sacred place to the ancient Canarians. On the right, Roque de Las Nieves. The Tower of Agaete was built at the foot of this geological landmark between July and September of 1481 (source: PROYECTO TARHA).


Más / More...