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The Guanche warriors

The Cichiciquitzos or the warriors (destined for the handling of weapons) obeyed a Sigoñe (military chief) and were armed with a banot (a wooden lance), and with very polished stones so that the edges were razor sharp.

They were true masters in the throwing of these projectiles, and they also wielded teniques, which were stones wrapped in skins and held by straps, that were used as dangerous maces. Pursuing the enemy did not figure in their war strategies, since the enemy was considered vanquished if they fled and they did not give chase to exterminate them.

They demonstrated their strength and valour during the colonisation struggles, surprising even the Spanish military men. In Tenerife, in 1494 a group of only three hundred Guanche warriors pertaining to the Tabores de Taoro led by the Sigoñe Chimenchia Tinguaro, stood up to eight hundred well armed soldiers, defeating and destroying almost the entire army. The village where this stand off took place is known today as the Slaughter of Acentejo (La Matanza de Acentejo).

Another of their great battles was the Battle of Las Peñuelas in Tegueste where the mencey Tegueste and the archimencey Zebensui with one thousand two hundred men took part in this fight against the Spanish Army. It is known that many vanquished warriors threw themselves from the summit of the sacred cliffs in order to avoid being captured as prisoners of war.

One of the most famous events is known as the massacre of Aguere, that took place among the Anaga cliffs, where the Spanish surrounded the Guanche warriors and their mencey Behenaro, who threw themselves into the abyss right before the aghast eyes of the Spanish, who named him the crazy king.

During the years of struggle, the nine kingdoms (menceyatos) of Tenerife were divided into war menceyatos (Tegueste, Tacaronte, Taoro, Acoden y Daute) and into peace menceyatos (Anaga, Guimar, Abona y Adeje) which did not fight the conquerors.

In 1496 the conquest of the Island of Tenerife was over, and the final surrender of the courageous Guanche war menceyatos took place in Los Realejos.


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