The Info List - Mencey

were the aboriginal Berber inhabitants of the Canary Islands.[1] It is believed that they migrated to the archipelago around 1000 BC or perhaps earlier. The Guanches
were the only native people known to have lived in the Macaronesian region before the arrival of Europeans, as there is no evidence that the other Macaronesian archipelagos (Azores, Cape Verde, Madeira) were inhabited before Europeans arrived. After the Spanish conquest of the Canaries they were ethnically and culturally absorbed by Spanish settlers,[1] although elements of their culture survive to this day, intermixed within Canarian customs and traditions such as Silbo
(the whistled language of La Gomera
La Gomera


1 Etymology 2 Historical background

2.1 Pre-conquest exploration 2.2 Castilian Conquest

3 Origins

3.1 Population genetics

3.1.1 Links with Anatolia

4 Language 5 System of beliefs

5.1 Religion and mythology 5.2 Aboriginal priests 5.3 Guatimac 5.4 Festivities 5.5 Funerals and mummies 5.6 Sacrifices

6 Political system

6.1 Kings (Menceys) of Tenerife

7 Clothes and weapons 8 Museums 9 New religious movement 10 Guanche people 11 See also 12 References 13 Bibliography and further reading 14 External links

Etymology[edit] The native term guanchinet literally translated means "person of Tenerife" (from Guan = person and Chinet = Tenerife).[1] It was modified, according to Juan Núñez de la Peña, by the Castilians into "Guanchos".[2] Though etymologically being an ancient, Tenerife-specific, term, the word Guanche is now mostly used to refer to the pre-Hispanic aboriginal inhabitants of the entire archipelago.[3] Historical background[edit]

Guanche rock carvings in La Palma

Roman author and military officer Pliny the Elder, drawing upon the accounts of Juba II, king of Mauretania, stated that a Mauretanian expedition to the islands around 50 BC found the ruins of great buildings, but otherwise no population to speak of.[4] If this account is accurate, it may suggest that the Guanches
were not the only inhabitants, or the first ones;[1] or that the expedition simply did not explore the islands thoroughly.[citation needed] Tenerife, specifically the archaeological site of the Cave of the Guanches
Cave of the Guanches
in Icod de los Vinos, has provided habitation dates dating back to the 6th century BC, according to analysis carried out on ceramics that were found inside the cave.[5] Strictly speaking, the Guanches
were the indigenous peoples of Tenerife. The population seems to have lived in relative isolation up to the time of the Castilian conquest, around the 14th century (though Genoese, Portuguese, and Castilians may have visited there from the second half of the 8th century onwards). The name came to be applied to the indigenous populations of all the seven Canary Islands,[1] those of Tenerife
being the most important or powerful. What remains of their language, Guanche – a few expressions, vocabulary words and the proper names of ancient chieftains still borne by certain families[1] – exhibits positive similarities with the Berber languages.[6][7] The first reliable account of the Guanche language was provided by the Genoese explorer Nicoloso da Recco in 1341, with a translation of numbers used by the islanders. According to European chroniclers, the Guanches
did not possess a system of writing at the time of conquest; the writing system may have fallen into disuse or aspects of it were simply overlooked by the colonizers. Inscriptions, glyphs and rock paintings and carvings are quite abundant throughout the islands. Petroglyphs attributed to various Mediterranean
civilizations have been found on some of the islands. In 1752, Domingo Vandewalle, a military governor of Las Palmas,[1] attempted to investigate them, and Aquilino Padron, a priest at Las Palmas, catalogued inscriptions at El Julan, La Candía and La Caleta on El Hierro. In 1878 Dr. René Verneau discovered rock carvings in the ravines of Las Balos that resemble Libyan[1] or Numidian writing dating from the time of Roman occupation or earlier. In other locations, Libyco-Berber script has been identified. Pre-conquest exploration[edit] Main article: Canary Islands
Canary Islands
in pre-colonial times The geographic accounts of Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
and of Strabo
mention the Fortunate Isles
Fortunate Isles
but do not report anything about their populations. An account of the Guanche population may have been made around AD 1150 by the Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi
Muhammad al-Idrisi
in the Nuzhatul Mushtaq, a book he wrote for King Roger II
Roger II
of Sicily, in which al-Idrisi reports a journey in the Atlantic Ocean made by the Mugharrarin ("the adventurers"), a family of Andalusian seafarers from Lisbon. The only surviving version of this book, kept at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and first translated by Pierre Amédée Jaubert, reports that, after having reached an area of "sticky and stinking waters", the Mugharrarin moved back and first reached an uninhabited Island ( Madeira
or Hierro), where they found "a huge quantity of sheep, which its meat was bitter and inedible" and, then, "continued southward" and reached another island where they were soon surrounded by barks and brought to "a village whose inhabitants were often fair haired with long and flaxen hair and the women of a rare beauty". Among the villagers, one did speak Arabic and asked them where they came from. Then the king of the village ordered them to bring them back to the continent where they were surprised to be welcomed by Berbers.[8] Apart from the marvelous and fanciful content of this history, this account would suggest that Guanches
had sporadic contacts with populations from the mainland. Al-Idrisi also described the Guanche men as tall and of a reddish-brown complexion.[9] During the 14th century, the Guanches
are presumed to have had other contacts with Balearic seafarers from Spain, suggested by the presence of Balearic artifacts found on several of the Canary Islands.[citation needed] Castilian Conquest[edit] Main articles: Conquest of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
and Kingdom of the Canary Islands

Alonso Fernández de Lugo
Alonso Fernández de Lugo
presenting the captured Guanche kings of Tenerife
to Ferdinand and Isabella.

The Castilian conquest of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
began in 1402, with the expedition of Jean de Béthencourt
Jean de Béthencourt
and Gadifer de la Salle
Gadifer de la Salle
to the island of Lanzarote. Gadifer would invade Lanzarote and Fuerteventura with ease since many of the aboriginals, faced with issues of starvation and poor agriculture, would surrender to Spanish rule. The other five islands fought back. El Hierro
and the Bimbache population were the next to fall, then La Gomera, Gran Canaria, La Palma and in 1496, Tenerife. In the First Battle of Acentejo
First Battle of Acentejo
(31 May 1494), called La Matanza (the slaughter), Guanches
ambushed the Castilians in a valley and killed many. Only one in five of the Castilians survived, including the leader of the expedition, Alonso Fernandez de Lugo. Lugo would return later to the island with the alliance of the kings of the southern part of the island, and defeated the Guanches
in the Battle of Aguere. The northern Menceyatos or provinces fell after the Second Battle of Acentejo
Second Battle of Acentejo
with the defeat of the successor of Bencomo, Bentor, Mencey
of Taoro
– what is now the Orotava Valley – in 1496. Origins[edit]

Guanche pottery (Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre, Tenerife).

Genetic evidence shows that northern African peoples (possibly descendants of the Capsian culture) made a significant contribution to the aboriginal population of the Canaries following desertification of the Sahara
at some point after 6000 BC. Linguistic evidence suggests ties between the Guanche language and the Berber languages
Berber languages
of North Africa, particularly when comparing numeral systems.[7][10] Research into the genetics of the Guanche population have led to the conclusion that they share an ancestry with Berber peoples.[11][12] The islands were visited by a number of peoples within recorded history. The Numidians, Phoenicians, and Carthaginians
knew of the islands and made frequent visits,[13] including expeditions dispatched from Mogador
by Juba.[14] The Romans occupied northern Africa and visited the Canaries between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, judging from Roman artifacts found on and near the island of Lanzarote. These show that Romans did trade with the Canaries, though there is no evidence of their ever settling there.[15] Archaeology of the Canaries seems to reflect diverse levels of technology, some differing from the Neolithic
culture that was encountered at the time of conquest. It is thought that the arrival of the aborigines to the archipelago led to the extinction of some big reptiles and insular mammals, for example, the giant lizard Gallotia goliath
Gallotia goliath
(which managed to reach up to a meter in length) and Canariomys bravoi, the giant rat of Tenerife. Population genetics[edit] A 2003 genetics research article by Nicole Maca-Meyer et al. published in the European Journal of Human Genetics compared aboriginal Guanche mtDNA (collected from Canarian archaeological sites) to that of today's Canarians and concluded that, "despite the continuous changes suffered by the population (Spanish colonisation, slave trade), aboriginal mtDNA (direct maternal) lineages constitute a considerable proportion (42 – 73%) of the Canarian gene pool. Although the Berbers
are the closest identifiable relatives of the Guanches, it is deduced that important human movements (e.g., the Islamic-Arabic conquest of the Berbers) have reshaped Northwest Africa after the migratory wave to the Canary Islands" and the "results support, from a maternal perspective, the supposition that since the end of the 16th century, at least, two-thirds of the Canarian population had an indigenous substrate, as was previously inferred from historical and anthropological data."[11] mtDNA haplogroup U subclade U6b1 is Canarian-specific[16] and is the most common mtDNA haplogroup found in aboriginal Guanche archaeological burial sites.[11] Both the study done by Maca-Meyer et al. (2003) on Tenerife
aborigines and the study done by Fregel et al. (2009) on La Palma aborigines found the majority of mt-DNA haplogroups belonging to the Eurasian clades such as H/HV/U*/R. The study done by Maca-Meyer et al. (2003) on Tenerife
Aborigines used a total sample of 71 aborigines and found that the frequency of the Cambridge Reference Sequence
Cambridge Reference Sequence
Cambridge Reference Sequence (CRS) which belongs to the European haplogroup H2a2 was 21.12% of the total sample. Meanwhile, the same study Maca-Meyer et al.(2003) found out that frequencies of haplogroups H/HV/U*/R(-CRS) at 30.98% of the total; also mtDNA haplogroup V was observed at frequencies of 4.23% of the total sample."[11] Y-DNA, or Y-chromosomal, (direct paternal) lineages were not analyzed in this study; however, an earlier study giving the aboriginal y-DNA contribution at 6% was cited by Maca-Meyer et al., but the results were criticized as possibly flawed due to the widespread phylogeography of y-DNA haplogroup E1b1b1b, which may skew determination of the aboriginality versus coloniality of contemporary y-DNA lineages in the Canaries. Regardless, Maca-Meyer et al. states that historical evidence does support the explanation of "strong sexual asymmetry...as a result of a strong bias favoring matings between European males and aboriginal females, and to the important aboriginal male mortality during the Conquest."[11] The genetics thus suggests the native men were sharply reduced in numbers due to the war, large numbers of Spaniard men stayed in the islands and married the local women, the Canarians adopted Spanish names, language, and religion, and in this way, the Canarians were Hispanicized. According to a recent study by Fregel et al. 2009, in spite of the geographic nearness between the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
and Morocco, the genetic heritage of the Canary islands male lineages, is mainly from European origin. Indeed, nearly 67% of the haplogroups resulting from are Euro–Eurasian (R1a (2.76%), R1b (50.62%), I (9.66%) and G (3.99%)). Unsurprisingly the Spanish conquest brought the genetic base of the current male population of the Canary Islands. Nevertheless, the second most important haplogroup family is from Northern Africa, Near and Middle East. E1b1b (14% including 8.30% of the typical Berber haplogroup E-M81), E1b1a and E1a (1.50%), J (14%) and T (3%) Haplogroups are present at a rate of 33%. Even if a part of these "eastern" haplogroups were introduced by the Spanish too, we can suppose that a good portion of this rate was already there at the time of the conquest.[17][18] According to this same study the presence of autochthonous North African E-M81 lineages, and also other relatively abundant markers (E-M78 and J-M267) from the same region in the indigenous Guanche population, "strongly points to that area [North Africa] as the most probable origin of the Guanche ancestors". In this study, Fregel et al. estimated that, based on Y-chromosome and mtDNA haplogroup frequencies, the relative female and male indigenous Guanche contributions to the present-day Canary Islands populations was respectively of 41.8% and 16.1%.[17]

Autochthonous (E-M81) and prominent (E-M78 and J-M267) Berber Y-chromosome lineages were detected in the indigenous remains, confirming a North West African origin for their ancestors which confirms previous mitochondrial DNA results. — Fregel et al 2009

An autosomal study in 2011 found an average Northwest African influence of about 17% in Canary Islanders with a wide interindividual variation ranging from 0% to 96%. According to the authors, the substantial Northwest African ancestry found for Canary Islanders supports that, despite the aggressive conquest by the Spanish in the 15th century and the subsequent immigration, genetic footprints of the first settlers of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
persist in the current inhabitants. Paralleling mtDNA findings, the largest average Northwest African contribution was found for the samples from La Gomera.[19]

Canary Islands N Average NW African ancestry

La Gomera 7 42.50%

Fuerteventura 10 21.60%

La Palma 7 21.00%

El Hierro 7 19.80%

Lanzarote 13 16.40%

Tenerife 30 14.30%

Gran Canaria 30 12.40%

Total Canary Islanders 104 17.40%

Canary Islands/NW African mtDna N %U6 %L Total Study

La Gomera 46 50.01% 10.86% 60.87% Fregel 2009[20]

El Hierro 32 21.88% 12.49% 34.37% Fregel 2009

Lanzarote 49 20.40% 8.16% 28.56% Fregel 2009

Gran Canaria 80 11.25% 10% 21.25% Fregel 2009

Tenerife 174 12.09% 7.45% 19.54% Fregel 2009

La Palma 68 17.65% 1.47% 19.12% Fregel 2009

Fuerteventura 42 16.66% 2.38% 19.04% Fregel 2009

Links with Anatolia[edit] According to an international investigation whose results were given in 2017 a small part of the Guanches
aborigines had as relatives the first European farmers from Anatolia
(present-day Turkey). This data has been discovered thanks to the analysis of the genome which also confirms that the vast majority of Canarian aborigines come from North Africa but were also related to the first European farmers, whose genetics were introduced into Europe
from Anatolia
through the migrations of farmers during the Neolithic
expansion, around 7,000 years ago.[21] Language[edit] See also: Guanche language The native Guanche language is now only known through a few sentences and individual words, supplemented by several placenames. It has been classified by modern linguists as belonging to the Berber branch of the Afroasiatic languages.[22][23][24] Recognizable Berber words (particularly with regards to agriculture) and numerous Berber grammatical inflections have been identified within the Guanche language; however there is a large stock of vocabulary that does not bear any resemblance to Berber whatsoever.[25] System of beliefs[edit] Religion and mythology[edit]

Guanche idol.

idol in the Archaeological Museum of Puerto de la Cruz (Tenerife).

Little is known of the religion of the Guanches. There was a general belief in a supreme being, called Achamán
in Tenerife, Acoran
in Gran Canaria, Eraoranhan in Hierro, and Abora
in La Palma. The women of Hierro
worshipped a goddess called Moneiba. According to tradition, the male and female gods lived in mountains, from which they descended to hear the prayers of the people. On other islands, the natives venerated the sun, moon, earth and stars. A belief in an evil spirit was general. The demon of Tenerife
was called Guayota
and lived at the peak of Teide
volcano, which was the hell called Echeyde;[1] in Tenerife
and Gran Canaria, the minor demons took the form of wild black woolly dogs called Jucanchas[26] in the first and Tibicenas[27] in the latter, which lived in deep caves of the mountains, emerging at night to attack livestock and human beings. In Tenerife, Magec
(god of the Sun) and Chaxiraxi
(the goddess mother) were also worshipped. In times of drought, the Guanches
drove their flocks to consecrated grounds, where the lambs were separated from their mothers in the belief that their plaintive bleating would melt the heart of the Great Spirit.[1] During the religious feasts, hostilities were held in abeyance, from war to personal quarrels. Idols have been found in the islands, including the Idol of Tara (Museo Canario, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) and The Guatimac
(Museum Archaeological of Puerto de la Cruz
Puerto de la Cruz
in Tenerife). But many more figures have been found in the rest of the archipelago. Most researchers agree that the Guanches
performed their worship in the open, under sacred trees such as pine or drago, or near sacred mountains such as Mount Teide, which was believed to be the abode of the devil Guayota. Mount Teide
was sacred to the aboriginal Guanches and since 2007 is a World Heritage Site. But sometimes the Guanches also performed worship in caves, as in "Cave of Achbinico" in Tenerife. Until the 20th century, there were in the Canary Islands (especially in northern Tenerife) individuals called "Animeros". They were similar to healers and mystics with a syncretic beliefs combining elements of the Guanche religion and Christianity. As in other countries close to the islands (e.g. marabouts from the Maghreb), the Animeros were considered "persons blessed by God".[28]

Mount Teide
on Tenerife.

Principal gods of Tenerife

God Role

Achamán The supreme god of the Guanches
on the island of Tenerife; he is the father god and creator.

Chaxiraxi The native Guanche goddess known as the Sun

Chijoraji A divine child, son of Chaxiraxi.


Magec The god of the Sun
and the light, and also thought to be one of the principal divinities.

Achuguayo God of the moon. It was the duality of the god Magec
(god of the sun).

Achuhucanac Rain
god, identified with the supreme god (Achamán).

Guayota The principal malignant deity and Achamán's adversary.

Mythical beings

Being Role

Maxios Benevolent minor gods or genies; domestic spirits and guardians of specific places.

Tibicenas Demons in the form of black dogs, these were children of Guayota, the malignant deity.

Aboriginal priests[edit] The Guanches
had priests or shamans who were connected with the gods and ordained hierarchically:

Religious authority Jurisdiction Definition

Guadameñe or Guañameñe Tenerife spiritual advisers to the Menceyes (Aboriginal kings), who directed the worship.

Faykan or Faicán Gran Canaria a spiritual and religious person in charge, who directed the worship.

Maguadas or Arimaguadas Tenerife Gran Canaria

women priestesses dedicated to worship. They took part in some rituals.

Kankus Tenerife the priests responsible for the worship of the ancestor spirits and Maxios
(minor gods or genies).

Guatimac[edit] Main article: Guatimac Festivities[edit] Beñesmen or Beñesmer was a festival of the agricultural calendar of the Guanches
(the Guanche new year) to be held after the gathering of crops devoted to Chaxiraxi
(on August 15). In this event the Guanches shared milk, gofio, sheep or goat meat. At the present time, this coincides with the pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Virgin of Candelaria (Patron of Canary Islands). Among the cultural events are significant traces of aboriginal traditions at the holidays and in the current Romería Relief in Güímar
(Tenerife) and the lowering of the Rama, in Agaete (Gran Canaria).[29] Funerals and mummies[edit]

of San Andrés, in the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre (Tenerife, Canary Islands).

Main article: Guanche mummies Mummification
was practiced throughout the islands and was highly developed on Tenerife
in particular. In La Palma, the elderly were left to die alone at their own wish.[citation needed] After bidding their family farewell, they were carried to the sepulchral cave, with nothing but a bowl of milk being left to them. The Guanches
embalmed their dead; many mummies have been found in an extreme state of desiccation, each weighing not more than 6 or 7 pounds. Two almost inaccessible caves in a vertical rock by the shore 3 miles from Santa Cruz on Tenerife
are said still to contain remains. The process of embalming seems to have varied. In Tenerife
and Gran Canaria, the corpse was simply wrapped up in goat and sheep skins, while in other islands a resinous substance was used to preserve the body, which was then placed in a cave difficult to access, or buried under a tumulus. The work of embalming was reserved for a special class, with women tending to female corpses, and men for the male ones. Embalming
seems not to have been universal, and bodies were often simply hidden in caves or buried.[1] In the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre
Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre
(Santa Cruz de Tenerife) mummies of original inhabitants of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
are displayed. In 1933, the largest Guanche necropolis of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
was found, at Uchova in the municipality of San Miguel de Abona
San Miguel de Abona
in the south of the island of Tenerife. This cemetery was almost completely looted; it is estimated to have contained between 60 and 74 mummies.[30] Sacrifices[edit] Although little is known about this practice among the aboriginals, it has been shown that they performed both animal sacrifices and human sacrifices.[31] In Tenerife
during the summer solstice, the Guanches
were accustomed to kill livestock and throw them into a fire as an offering to the gods.[31] Bethencourt Alfonso has claimed that goat kids were tied by the legs, alive, to a stake so that they could be heard bleating by the gods. It is likely that animals were also sacrificed on the other islands.[31] As for human sacrifices, in Tenerife
it was the custom to throw the Punta de Rasca a living child at sunrise at the summer solstice. Sometimes these children came from all parts of the island, even from remote areas of Punta de Rasca. It follows that it was a common custom of the island.[31] On this island sacrificing other human vices associated with the death of the king, where adult men rushed to the sea are also known. Embalmers who produced the Guanche mummies, also had a habit of throwing into the sea one year after the king's death.[31] Bones of children mixed with lambs and kids were found in Gran Canaria, and in Tenerife
amphorae have been found with remains of children inside. This suggests a different kind of ritual infanticide to those who were thrown overboard.[32] These practices, where children are sacrificed, have been seen in other cultures, especially in the Mediterranean- Carthage
(now Tunisia), Ugarit
in the current Syria, Cyprus
and Crete.[32] Political system[edit]

prior to the Castilian invasion.

The political and social institutions of the Guanches
varied. In some islands like Gran Canaria, hereditary autocracy by matrilineality prevailed,[33] in others the government was elective. In Tenerife
all the land belonged to the kings who leased it to their subjects.[1] In Gran Canaria, suicide was regarded as honourable, and whenever a new king was installed, one of his subjects willingly honoured the occasion by throwing himself over a precipice.[1][34] In some islands, polyandry was practised;[1] in others they were monogamous. Insult of a woman by an armed man was allegedly a capital offense.[1] Anyone who had been accused of a crime, had to attend a public trial in Tagoror, a public court where those being prosecuted were sentenced after a trial. The island of Tenerife
was divided into nine small kingdoms (menceyatos), each ruled by a king or Mencey. The Mencey
was the ultimate ruler of the kingdom, and at times, meetings were held between the various kings. When the Castilians invaded the Canary Islands, the southern kingdoms joined the Castilian invaders on the promise of the richer lands of the north; the Castilians betrayed them after ultimately securing victory at the Battles of Aguere and Acentejo. Kings (Menceys) of Tenerife[edit]

or Acaymo of Menceyato de Tacoronte Adjona
of Menceyato de Abona Añaterve
of Menceyato de Güímar Bencomo
of Menceyato de Taoro Beneharo
of Menceyato de Anaga Pelicar of Menceyato de Adeje Pelinor of Menceyato de Icode Romen of Menceyato de Daute Tegueste of Menceyato de Tegueste

In Tenerife
the grand Mencey
and his father Sunta governed the unified island, which afterwards was divided into nine kingdoms by the children of Tinerfe. Clothes and weapons[edit]

A statue of the Guanche mencey Añaterve. Candelaria, Tenerife.

wore garments made from goat skins or woven from plant fibers called Tamarcos, which have been found in the tombs of Tenerife. They had a taste for ornaments and necklaces of wood, bone and shells, worked in different designs. Beads of baked earth, cylindrical and of all shapes, with smooth or polished surfaces, mostly colored black and red, were fairly common. Dr. René Verneau suggested that the objects the Castilians referred to as pintaderas, baked clay seal-shaped objects, were used as vessels for painting the body in various colours. They manufactured rough pottery, mostly without decorations, or ornamented by making fingernail indentations. Guanche weapons adapted to the insular environment (using wood, bone, obsidian and stone as primary materials), with later influences from medieval European weaponry. Basic armaments in several of the islands included javelins of 1 to 2 m in length (known as Banot on Tenerife); round, polished stones; spears; maces (common in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria
and Tenerife, and known as Magado and Sunta, respectively); and shields (small in Tenerife
and human-sized in Gran Canaria, where they were known as Tarja, made of Drago wood and painted with geometric shapes). After the arrival of the Europeans, Guanche nobility from Gran Canaria were known to wield large wooden swords (larger than the European two-handed type) called Magido, which were said to be very effective against both infantrymen and cavalry. Weaponry made of wood was hardened with fire. These armaments were commonly complemented with an obsidian knife known as Tabona.

Reconstruction of a Guanche settlement of Tenerife.

Dwellings were situated in natural or artificial caves in the mountains. In areas where cave dwellings were not feasible, they built small round houses and, according to the Castilians, practiced crude fortification.

The Guanches
on Tenerife.


Presumed Guanche names of the Canary Islands

Spanish Guanche

Tenerife Achinech



La Gomera Gomera


La Palma Benahoare

El Hierro Eseró


Gran Canaria Tamaran

Lanzarote Titerogakaet


Fuerteventura Maxorata



Museums[edit] Many of the islands' museums possess collections of archaeological material and human remains from the prehistory and history of the archipelago of the Canaries. Some of the most important are:

Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre
Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre
(Santa Cruz de Tenerife). Museo Canario (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria). Museum of History and Anthropology of Tenerife
(Casa Lercaro, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife). Archaeological Museum of Puerto de la Cruz
Archaeological Museum of Puerto de la Cruz
(Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife).

New religious movement[edit] In 2001, the Church of the Guanche People
Church of the Guanche People
(Iglesia del Pueblo Guanche), a Neopagan
movement with several hundred followers, was founded in San Cristóbal de La Laguna
San Cristóbal de La Laguna
(Tenerife).[35][36] Guanche people[edit]

Dacil; princess and daughter of mencey Bencomo. She is known as the Pocahontas
of the Canary Islands; she was presented to king of Spain with her father and was married to the first Spanish settler. Taoro Beneharo
(Guanche King in Tenerife). Tinguaro Bencomo Tanausu Maninidra Acaimo Zanata

See also[edit]


Guanche language Hamitic Silbo
Gomero – a Guanche whistling language, still alive Isleños First Battle of Acentejo Battle of Aguere Second Battle of Acentejo Teide Achinet Animero Beñesmen


^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Guanches". Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 650–651.  ^ Conquista y antigüedades de las islas de la Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria
y su descripción, con muchas advertencias de sus privilegios, conquistadores, pobladores y otras particularidades en la muy poderosa isla de Tenerife, dirigido a la milagrosa imagen de Nuestra Señora de Candelaria (in Spanish).  ^ "Guanche meaning following the RAE Dictionary" (in Spanish). [permanent dead link] ^ Pliny, "Natural History" Bk 6 ch 37 ^ Protohistoria de Tenerife ^ Andrew Dalby, Dictionary of Languages, 1998, p. 88 "Guanche, indigenous language of the Canary Islands, is generally thought to have been a Berber language." ^ a b Bynon J., "The contribution of linguistics to history in the field of Berber studies." In: Dalby D, (editor) Language and history in Africa New York: Africana Publishing Corporation, 1970, p 64–77. ^ Idrisi, La première géographie de l'Occident, NEF, Paris 1999 ^ Hodgkin, Thomas (1848). On the Ancient Inhabitants of the Canary Islands (PDF). Journal of the Ethnological Society. p. 173. Retrieved 16 May 2016.  ^ Andrew Dalby, Dictionary of Languages, 1998, p. 88 ^ a b c d e Maca-Meyer, Nicole; Arnay, Matilde; Rando, Juan Carlos; Flores, Carlos; González, Ana M; Cabrera, Vicente M; Larruga, José M (2003). "Ancient mtDNA analysis and the origin of the Guanches". European Journal of Human Genetics. 12 (2): 155–62. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201075. PMID 14508507.  ^ "Genomic Analyses of Pre-European Conquest Human Remains from the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
Reveal Close Affinity to Modern North Africans", Rodriguez-Varela et al, Cell Biology, Published Online October 26, 2017 ^ Galindo, Juan de Abreu. "VII". The History of the Discovery and Conquest of the Canary Islands. Adamant Media Corporation. p. 173. ISBN 1-4021-7269-9.  ^ C.Michael Hogan, Mogador: promontory fort, The Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham, Nov. 2, 2007 [1] ^ Andrew L. Slayman, "Roman Trade With the Canary Islands", Archeology Newsbriefs, A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America, Volume 50 Number 3, May/June 1997 [2] ^ Pereira, L; MacAulay, V; Prata, M.J; Amorim, A (2003). "Phylogeny of the mtDNA haplogroup U6. Analysis of the sequences observed in North Africa and Iberia". International Congress Series. 1239: 491. doi:10.1016/S0531-5131(02)00553-8.  ^ a b Fregel, Rosa; Gomes, Verónica; Gusmão, Leonor; González, Ana M; Cabrera, Vicente M; Amorim, António; Larruga, Jose M (2009). "Demographic history of Canary Islands
Canary Islands
male gene-pool: Replacement of native lineages by European". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 9: 181. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-9-181. PMC 2728732 . PMID 19650893.  ^ Zurita AI, Hernandez A, Sanchez JJ, Cuellas JA (March 2005). "Y-chromosome STR haplotypes in the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
population (Spain)". Forensic Science International. 148 (2–3): 233–8. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2004.05.004. PMID 15639620.  ^ Pino-Yanes, María; Corrales, Almudena; Basaldúa, Santiago; Hernández, Alexis; Guerra, Luisa; Villar, Jesús; Flores, Carlos (2011). O'Rourke, Dennis, ed. "North African Influences and Potential Bias in Case-Control Association Studies in the Spanish Population". PLoS ONE. 6 (3): e18389. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018389. PMC 3068190 . PMID 21479138.  ^ Fregel, Rosa; Pestano, Jose; Arnay, Matilde; Cabrera, Vicente M; Larruga, Jose M; González, Ana M (2009). "The maternal aborigine colonization of La Palma (Canary Islands)". European Journal of Human Genetics. 17 (10): 1314–24. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2009.46. PMC 2986650 . PMID 19337312.  ^ Una pequeña parte de los guanches eran parientes de agricultores de Turquía ^ Richard Hayward, 2000, "Afroasiatic", in Heine & Nurse eds, African Languages, Cambridge University Press ^ Andrew Dalby, Dictionary of Languages, 1998, p. 88 "Guanche, indigenous language of the Canary Islands, is generally thought to have been a Berber language." ^ Bynon J., "The contribution of linguistics to history in the field of Berber studies." In: Dalby D, (editor) Language and history in Africa New York: Africana Publishing Corporation, 1970, p 64-77. ^ Maarten Kossmann, Berber subclassification (preliminary version), Leiden (2011) ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2013-10-21.  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2013-10-21.  ^ Animeros en Canarias - in Spanish[permanent dead link] ^ 1 ^ Un estudio recuerda el expolio de la mayor necrópolis guanche jamás hallada ^ a b c d e Sacrificios entre los Aborígenes canarios ^ a b Aparición de sacrificios de niños entre los Aborígenes Canarios ^ Jose Farrujia de la Rosa, Augusto (2014). An Archaeology of the Margins: Colonialism, Amazighity and Heritage Management in the Canary Islands. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 8. ISBN 9781461493969.  ^ Aliño, López-Ibor; Carmen Leal Cercós; Carlos Carbonell Masiá; Janssen-Cilag. Images of Spanish Psychiatry. World Psychiatric Association. Editorial Glosa, S.L. p. 574. ISBN 84-7429-200-X.  ^ Minorías religiosas en Canarias (in Spanish) ^ La Opinión de Tenerife
on religious minorities in the Canaries (in Spanish)

Bibliography and further reading[edit]

Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900–1900, 1993 John Mercer, The Canary Islanders: Their History, Conquest & Survival, 1980 Maca-Meyer, Nicole; González, Ana M; Pestano, José; Flores, Carlos; Larruga, José M; Cabrera, Vicente M (2003). "Mitochondrial DNA transit between West Asia and North Africa
North Africa
inferred from U6 phylogeography". BMC Genetics. 4: 15. doi:10.1186/1471-2156-4-15. PMC 270091 . PMID 14563219.  Roman Trade with the Canary Islands, Archaeology 50.3 (1997) The Voyages of Christopher Columbus E. G. Bourne, ed., The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot (New York, 1906) Canarias.com - Guanches

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Guanche.

Canary Islands
Canary Islands
- Los Guanches
at Rare Plants Museums of Tenerife.

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Cultural domain of Canary Islands


Guanches Pre-colonial times Conquest Treaty of Alcáçovas First Battle of Acentejo Kingdom of the Canary Islands Battle of Aguere Second Battle of Acentejo Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
(1657) Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
(1797) Spanish transition Autonomous community Canarian Parliament


Guanche† Canarian (Spanish) Gomeran Whistle


Gara and Jonay Achamán Achuguayo Achuhucanac Chaxiraxi Chijoraji Guayota Magec Maxios Tibicena


Bola canaria Canarian wrestling Juego del Palo Salto del pastor Open Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria
Island Open Lanzarote Island Open Costa Adeje


Almogrote Canarian arepa Canarian wrinkly potatoes Gofio Malvasia Majorero Miel de palma Mojo Pasteles Ropa vieja Sancocho Sangria Tropical beer Wines

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Chácaras Timple


Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival of Las Palmas Bajada (festival) Cavalcade of Magi Holy Week Virgin of Candelaria Cristo de La Laguna Akelarre

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Teide Auditorio de Tenerife Garajonay Caldera de Taburiente


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Berber peoples


Psylli Banioubae Gaetuli Garamantes Leuathae Libu Macae Marmaridae Mauri

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Meshwesh Musulamii Nasamones Numidae

Masaesyli Massylii



Adjissa Awerba Awregha Azdeja Bahlula Barghawata Fazaz Fendelawa Ghumara Gazoula Ghiatta Godala Guanches Haskura Houara Kutama Lamtuna Luwata Madyuna Masmuda Matmata Nafzawa Sanhaja Zanata

Banu Ifran Jarawa Maghrawa


Brabers Chaouis Chenouas Ghomaras Jerbis Kabyles Matmatas Mozabites Nafusis Riffians Sanhajas de Srayr Shilha Siwis Teknas Toshavim Tuaregs

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