Canary Islands: "Return of the Guanches"

Tue 23rd Apr, 2024

Image copyright @Perfect Accident Creative Services GmbH"Paradise for some, misery for others. Understand this, we must." (Lady Yoda)

We all know the "sol de Canarias" - the sun-drenched haven of the Canary Islands, where endless summers beckon and where one can easily escape the harsh European winters.

But amid the allure of unique nature and Atlantic waters, there lies a history and present often overlooked by the transient gaze of tourism.

Often overlooked as well, the damage, ill-managed tourism is causing.

Behind the scenes of our idyllic getaways, there are the people who make our beds, pour our beer, serve our lunches, and construct the very infrastructure of our holidays. These are the Canarians, a resilient and proud nation, who are now rising to reclaim their identity and voice in the a world that seems to have lost all common sense, respect and justice.

But - who were the Canarians before the influx of tourists and the dominance of external interests?

Each of the Canary Islands was once inhabited by indigenous peoples with distinct cultures and ways of life. The ,,Guanches" in Tenerife, ,,Bimbaches" in El Hierrro, ,, Canarios" in Gran Canaria, ,,Gomeros" in La Gomera, ,,Majos"in Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, and ,,Benahoaritas" in La Palma- often generalized as ,,Guanches".

The Guanches were a fascinating people, believed to have migrated to the islands around 1000 BC. They lived in small, tribal communities, practicing agriculture, livestock farming, and fishing. Their unique cultures flourished across the archipelago, with each island boasting its own customs and social structures.

The arrival of the Spanish in the 15th century marked a tumultuous period for this self-suficient, close to nature, proud and strong aborigenes. Their resistance against conquest was formidable, spanning decades of conflict before succumbing to the might of the Spanish crown. It took the Spanish nearly a century to fully conquer the islands, with fierce battles and protracted sieges characterizing the conquest. The Guanches' resilience and tenacity left an indelible mark on Canarian history, shaping the collective consciousness of the islands' inhabitants for generations to come.

Subsequently, centuries of oppression followed, as Spanish landowners exploited the indigenous population, subjecting them to virtual slavery, finally merging with with those that were left after the massacres.

Nowadays, between 40% and 60% of the native population of the Canary Islands still carries Guanche genes.

It wasn't until the emergence of tourism in the 20th century that the Canary Islands witnessed significant economic growth. However, this newfound prosperity came at a steep price. Local communities found themselves marginalized as mass tourism burgeoned, driven by avaricious investors more concerned with profit margins than environmental conservation or social justice.

The statistics are stark. In their insatiable quest for development, foreign and mainland investors ravaged the natural landscape, while a complicit government turned a blind eye to the exploitation of both land and people.

Who has visited the Islands has seen the result. But what they see, is only the tip of the eisberg. The true storys and calamities are well- hidden by those in power.

The tipping point came when the strain on infrastructure became untenable, with traffic congestion and environmental degradation reaching critical levels. Yet, even in the face of impending collapse, the Canarian government remains entrenched in corruption, prioritizing the interests of the elite few over the welfare of the populace.

But now, a seismic shift is underway. The Canarians are reclaiming their narrative, asserting their rights, and demanding accountability from those in power. The spirit of the Guanches lives on as a new generation rises to challenge the status quo, determined to rebuild their society on principles of justice, sustainability, and dignity.

As we speak, activists on the Canary Islands are staging hunger strikes, their bodies weakened but their spirits undeterred. They wait for the government to come to the table, to engage in meaningful dialogue and enact the changes that are so desperately needed.

Now more than ever, the Canary Islands need the support of the international press to pressure authorities to abandon their autocratic positions and listen to the voices of the people.

It's time for accountability, transparency, and genuine collaboration in shaping a future that honors the heritage of the Canarian people and safeguards the natural wonders of these breathtaking islands.

In the face of adversity, let us stand in solidarity with the Canarians as they reclaim their pride, their identity, and their rightful place on Mother Earth.

The time for change is now, and together, we can help pave the way for a brighter, more equitable future for the Canary Islands and all who call them home.

"Misery turned to justice, paradise it can be. Greed's opposite, this path is."


If anyone is interested in receiving more Information about the current develooment from reliable sources of people on the ground, please get in touch with Caterina Egger via

Image copyright @Perfect Accident Creative Services GmbH

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