Tenerife History – Early Civilisation
March 8, 2009 Leave a comment
Early Tenerife history is very similar to the other Canary Islands, it goes back to the legendary lost civilisation of Atlantis. This and other legends envelop the origin of a number of Islands known as the Fortunate Isles, of which the classical Romans wrote.
What is known is that the first inhabitants of Tenerife, of whom there is historical evidence, were the Guanches, until the end of the 15th Century when the Island was conquered by the Kingdom of Spain which was then Castillian.
Apart from the abundant archaeological remains, from Guanche times, there are still a number of customs and traditions which have survived such as the popular Canarian wrestling. There are also a few place names and expressions in Canarian dialect which come from ancient pre-Hispanic language. The Gomeran whistling language originated from Guanche culture.
The conquest of Tenerife was not an easy on for the Spanish, despite vastly different levels of technology between the two civilisations, the Guanches defended the Island with great courage and might against the greater military potential of the invading Europeans. For the Spanish it was an important conquest. The geographical location of Tenerife made it an important port of call for shipping between Europe and the Americas.
The Museum of Nature and Mankind in Santa Cruz offers excellent displays depicting the early Guanche lifestyle. The Archaeological Museum in Puerto de La Cruz also displays early Guanche objects used in daily life from their natural environment. These Tenerife Museums are well worth a visit if you enjoy cultural history.