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The Berbers of the Canary Islands

     Actually, the origin of the inhabitants of Canary Islands has many mysteries .Many believe that the inhabitants of the Canary Islands are nothing but Berbers. Many arguments attest that these Islands were occupied, for over 1,000 years, by Berbers from North Africa. The Berber king Juba II had visited these Islands and decided to occupy them and include them in his Kingdom. He populated them with Berbers from different regions of North Africa.

    When the first French navigators landed in the Canary Islands in 1406, for the first time, they found themselves in the presence of tall fair skinned with black or blonde hair natives, who called themselves the Guanches "Igwanciyen , in Tamazight" which means in their language, close to the Tamazight" men of Tenerife" .This last word comes from "Tin Irifi", which means "place of thirst". Thus, the Guanches are Amazighs who came from North Africa. Jean de Bethencourt conquered the land and he became the "King of the Canary Islands", after that, he bequeathed his conquest to his nephew, who finally offered his kingdom to the King of Castile in 1418. Sixty years later, after having evangelized, deported or forcibly assimilated the populations under their control, the Spaniards decide to submit the entire archipelago. In 1483, they colonized Gran Canaria, then La Palma, but the Island of Tenerife, very populated, still resists under the orders of King Benchomo and inflicts even a terrible defeat to the famous conquistador Alonzo Fernandez de Lugo, in 1494 in La Matanza of Acentejo ("The Massacre of Acentejo"). This African victory over the Europeans, fallen into oblivion of history, is without doubt one of the most important and unexpected. The  Guanches showed a fierce resistance against any occupation ,that’s why, most of them perished in resisting the Spanish and French conquest, most of the survivors were sold as slaves, many also embraced the Catholic faith by force and married the Spaniards and their now Spanish names soon became confused with those of the conquerors. .

    Therefore, the inhabitants of this archipelago are  the result of a European-Berber interbreeding .All the Canarians are proudly display it, despite being most often mixed with another but the Amazigh fiber or DNA is much stronger than all the rest ; the Berber blood flows in their veins. The Igwancyins of the Canaries (Gran Canaria) would like to come to North Africa to meet Amazighs with whom they shared the same roots a long time ago in order to find traces of their most distant ancestors.

    Today, most of the Canarians claim this inheritance. They formed a lot of organizations to demand their rights and recognition .Among those organizations "Inekaren" , a Canarian revolutionary organization that wishes to make known to all the Imazighen its point of view, from the Canary Islands, that they are Amazighs and they enjoy their Amazighity and that the Canary Islands are only Amazigh territory. 

Written by ARAB Sabrina

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