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La Palma

Culture

The Guanches

The native Palmeros were called Guanches and descent from emigrated African Berbers. They settled in the Stone Age and conserved their evolutionary level for centuries. The Guanches lived in organized clans and the island was divided into several tribal areas. In these times, La Palma was called "Benahoare". After the Spanish conquest the language of the Guanches became extinct and only few words left in the canary idiom. Although there were still outnumbered after the conquest the native had to take over the Spanish culture by oppression of the new settlers. With their language, most of the Guanche's culture died out too.

Various monuments of the natives are today's attractions: cave dwellings, gravesites, tools and petroglyphs – strange complex stone scratches with unknown meanings. And the old king's routes which connect the various islands' regions are still observable too.

Already known by the Phoenician seamen

While already the Phoenician seamen knew the Canary Islands, their conquest became protracted. The Genoese Lancelotto Malocello came with the first Europeans in the 13th century but the island was still hold for impregnable. In 1447 the Castilian Earl Hernán Peraza with an army of 3 ships and more than 500 men failed again to conquer La Palma. Only to the mission of General Alonso Fernández de Lugo was given more success. Based on Grand Canary, he landed on September 29th in 1492 in the port of Tazacorte with more than 900 men. By using a deception, he made the kings of the Guanches to his allies and they all converted with their subjects to Christianity.

Only the kingdom of the famous Tanausú in the Caldera de Taburiente resisted. De Lugo arrested Tanausú by using a lie and sent him as a prisoner to the Castilian king's court. Before the arrival, Tanausú went to hunger strike and died on the ship – this made him an hero on La Palma. To celebrate his victory, on 3rd May 1493, the day of the uprising of the holy cross, de Lugo founded the city Santa Cruz de la Palma on the territory of the former settlement Apunyon.

While a pontifical directive declared the Canarios to free people and prohibited slavery, most of the natives ended up in chains. Only around 300 families (1200 people) were able to avoid a life in slavery, and after getting full citizen rights in 1514 they mixed with the Spanish conquerors and immigrants from Portugal and France. There are only few fragments of the ancient culture which live further in the traditional ceremonies and celebrations.

Address

Mantenimiento de CONTACTO SL.
Calle General Yagüe 13
E - 38760 Los Llanos de Aridane
Isla de La Palma

Phone +34 922 46 32 04 Phone +49 33201 649803

Fax +34 922 46 12 66

Email: contacto[at]la-palma.de

Website: www.la-palma.de