Tag Archives: Seigneury of the Isles of Canaria

The Essentials (VII): The Cabitos' Inquiry

Impactos: 346

Teguise

A view of Teguise town (Lanzarote) in 2016 from Mount Guanapay. Named Gran Aldea (Great Village) by Europeans in the fifteenth century, it was the capital of the Seigneury of the Isles of Canaria and the scene of residents insurrection against Inés Peraza and Diego de Herrera’s rule that gave rise to Cabitos’ Inquiry (source: PROYECTO TARHA)..

[…] and we as people few and poor, miserable, ignorant, living on this island, poor having nothing to provide us or feed us but the skies and goat herds, and we have no other property or income to live on. For, Lord, if we pick bread one year, two years we do not pick it, and so we are living on this land, in our misery and poverty, and they take the above said tax from us […]. And about that all, the above said Lords Diego de Herrera and Doña Inés, his wife, are not contented […] every day they do us more harm, taking us out of our homes, making us abandon our wives and children, taking us by force against our wills to other islands of infidels where many of us died and still die and make us keep towers and fortresses […] not wanting neither to give nor to pay us any wage […] and we dare neither to tell them nor to repeat to the above said Lords nothing of such grievances they do to us because of the great fear of them we have until make it known to Your Highness, to whom we plead with loud voices, as very miserable and aggrieved people, that Your Highness remedy us with justice, for, Lord, we are isolated on the islands, on the said island of Lanzarote, which is far apart from the kingdoms of Spain, westwards in the sea. [1]Aznar Vallejo (1990, pp. 173-174) –adapted from old Castilian by PROYECTO TARHA–.

Promoters of this plead never imagined that their requests would give rise to the most important public file kept on the conquest of the Canaries.

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Diego García de Herrera's signature

Impactos: 365

Signature by Diego García de Herrera, consort Lord of the Isles of Canaria, in 1457 (source: Archivo Municipal de Burgos, catalogue number C3-3-16-27, fol. 5v.).

Studying public documentation is extremely useful when reconstructing historical events, since it provides us with an officially attested vision thereof. Unlike chronicles and histories, being these accounts written from the subjectivity of either an observer or, at most, a remote-in-time inquirer, public documents, being drafted by such a group of professionals in writing data down –scribes and notaries–, offer a direct testimony by those events’ main persons or at least by firsthand informants.

This is why in the course of our research we try to locate a larger quantity of public deeds, and although some of them are not directly related to the history of the Canary Islands, the possibility that these end up providing unknown, unnoticed or at least curious data always does exist. This is the case of the testament of Pedro García de Herrera, Marshal of Castile and father of the last consort Lord of the Isles of Canaria, Diego García de Herrera.

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The Guanil herds

Impactos: 363

Gathering goats (apañada) at San Juan de Sisetoto, Fuerteventura (source: Revista BienMeSabe).

Still hot in the media and social networks the controversial measure adopted by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria consisting of exterminating the guanil goats living in a number of protected natural areas on the Island, we deal here with the origin of such an autochthonous term.

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