• Menceyes: Kings of Tenerife


    Before Castile conquered the Canary Islands in 1496, the Guanches of Tenerife were led by their menceyes, the real kings of Tenerife. The leaders of this Canarian village, connected with Berber tribes, kept all the religious, military and civilian power, becoming their selves in absolute owners of chicharreras land.

    At present day it is possible to contemplate the sculptural representation of the past nine menceyes of Tenerife. We only must move to the south of the island, specifically to the town of Candelaria, whose Main Square has the statues of the last nine kings of Tenerife proudly standing with his back to the sea.

    When the Spanish arrived in Tenerife, in the late fifteenth century, the Canary Island was divided into nine regions or menceyatos, each of one headed by a mencey. They were the sons of Tinerfe the Great, who after his death left a part of the island to each one of them, also naming the island.

    This kings of the Guanche people, like some great hierarchical civilizations, maintained the utmost purity of blood, marrying among themselves and, as in Egypt, coming to marriage between siblings, in order to not ‘tarnish’ their dynasty.

    Such was their influence that many of the current Tenerife populations are named for one of those great kings. Even they really existed; they have come to our time surrounded by legends and mythology.

    The truth is that tour stay in Tenerife should include a visit to the Plaza de Candelaria, to contemplate the great giants Guanches, whose figures offer a stunning visual spectacle.

    Creative Commons or Public Domain Image: Flickr/Mataparda

    Mar Santiago
    Mar Santiago
    She is a journalist and traveler, specialized in other cultures and countries in conflict. Mar has worked for major media networks as RNE, Diario16 Malaga and EFE.

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