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Bentayga "Beyond the Beaches of Gran Canaria"
October 29, 1999


The Bentayga formation seen from Acusa

Bentayga's special location in the center of the basin and its configuration as a natural fortress, reaching 4,632 feet above sea level, offered the native Canarians the perfect conditions for establishing their homes and collective granaries, as well as a means of refuge from attack. Bentayga was the scene of a last stand against the Spaniards during the conquest of the island in the fifteenth century. In his 1602 history of the conquest, Abreu Galindo wrote:

With [the Spaniards'] Royal military headquarters well guarded and under control, they set off on a march up to Bentayga and laid a siege of this stronghold for over fifteen days. As it was evident there were many women and children, and no men, they decided to gain their objective by starving out the occupants. Nevertheless, the Canarians defended themselves very bravely, hurling down boulders and heavy stones, so that they could not gain access. The Canarians killed eight soldiers and caused many casualties.

It is one of the few settlements mentioned in the chronicles of the conquest whose location has been reliably fixed.

Despite fears that increased visitation would damage Bentayga, the archaeological park is now open to the public. An interpretive center has been built at the site to advance tourism, promote local pride in archaeological heritage, and encourage preservation of the site.

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© 1999 by the Archaeological Institute of America