Tag Archives: Fernán Peraza

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 Ganigo of Guadajume (1/2): A colactation pact on La Gomera?

Idealized statue of Pedro Hautacuperche located at Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera, by sculptor Luis Arencibia. He is holding in his right hand the Ganigo of Guadajume, already broken, and in his left hand the weapon with which he killed Fernán Peraza the Younger, giving rise to the uprising of La Gomera in 1488 (source: Erik Baas / Wikimedia Commons).

To the Gomeran people, brave and beautiful, with love and respect.

November 1488. A man dressed as a woman falls murdered in the vicinity of a cave. Soon after, on the wings of an ancestral whistling language, the echo of the deep ravines on La Gomera carried a war cry: “The Ganigo of Guadajume is broken now”.

The victim was Fernán Peraza the Younger, Castilian lord of the Island and Doña Inés Peraza’s favorite son, who a few months before had constituted in the second of her male offspring the entail of the Seigneury of the Isles of Canaria, which had been de facto extinct for more than ten years before. The executioner, Pedro Hautacuperche, a pastor who shepherded his flock on Plan de Asisel, in front of the imposing massive Agando Rock.

Tradition among Gomeran natives states that theirs was the only one of the Canary Islands that was never conquered by Europeans. But the truth is that the death of the Castilian chief was met by one of the most cruel retaliations carried out on the Archipelago ever.

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The death of Guillén Peraza

Possible remains of Guillén Peraza, marked number 4, discovered during archaeological excavations conducted by Professors Bertila Galván Santos and Juan Francisco Navarrro Mederos in the Church of the Assumption, San Sebastián de La Gomera (source: PÉREZ (2005), p. 294).

Between 1979 and 1980, a team of archaeologists led by Professors Bertila Galván Santos and Juan Francisco Navarro Mederos executed an excavation of urgency in the Church of the Assumption (San Sebastián de La Gomera), a building that would be subjected to a major reform. At the deepest level of the burials located in the former Main Chapel, beneath the remains of other dead, the experts discovered the skeleton of a young man who had a lateral skull fracture and who was lying in an oblique orientation relative to that of the temple’s nave. The presence of a blanca –a Castilian coin minted during the reign of Enrique IV– at a level just above that of the remains allowed to date the burial as possible before 1471. Fragments of Andalusian tiles and stone-and-mud rubble ventured the existence of an ancient chapel, oriented differently from the current church, which would explain the unusual position of the body.[1]NAVARRO (1984), pp. 588-590, 593-594.

Even without the modern techniques of genetic identification, evidence suggested a name in an almost incontestable way: that young man was likely to be Guillén Peraza, only legitimate son of Fernán Peraza the Elder.

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