Guanches: the aborigines of the Canary Islands.

Blog Hotel El Duque

28 June 2021

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Guanches: the aborigines of the Canary Islands.

In our new blog, we would like to tell you a little about the aborigines of the Canary Islands. Los Guanches is the name given to the ancient aborigines of the island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. They inhabited the islands before the Spanish conquest in 1496. The Guanches were genetically and culturally related to the Berbers of North Africa.

Guanches: the aborigines of the Canary Islands.

The Canary Islands were the only ones inhabited before the arrival of the Europeans, back in the early 15th century. Although the term Guanche ends up being awarded to all natives in general, the truth is that in reality, these were the natives of Tenerife: in El Hierro the bimbaches lived, in La Palma the benahoritas, in La Gomera the gomeritas, in Gran Canaria the canaries and in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote the majos.


Although there are no exact figures for the number of Guanches that populated the island before the conquest, research in this regard points to a possible total population of between 15,000 and 20,000 inhabitants by the end of the aboriginal culture. Tenerife was, together with Gran Canaria, the most populated island at the arrival of the conquerors in the 15th century.

Guanches: the aborigines of the Canary Islands.

There are many connections between the Guanches and the Egyptians because the mummification process was very common in Tenerife, which has allowed many mummies to arrive almost intact that are currently exhibited in the Museum of Nature and Man of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.


In Granadilla de Abona, on the island of Tenerife, an archaeological site is located in the El Desierto area known as ‘the measures of the Guanches’ in which what looks like a pair of Guanches is outlined on the bed of volcanic tuff, with literally gigantic measures. The male reaches almost three meters in height and the female 2.67 meters.

Guanches: the aborigines of the Canary Islands.

If you want to know more about the ancient inhabitants of our islands, do not hesitate to visit the Guanche Museum in Icod de los Vinos. A few minutes from the Drago Milenario, in the La Magalona Shopping Center, this Ethnographic Museum is located, conceived to publicize the Guanche culture. Through recreations of the daily life of the indigenous Canaries, and through careful reproductions of life-size figures, they offer the visitor the opportunity to get closer to the history of the ancient inhabitants of the Canaries.

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