General Franco

I’ve been doing a little research into the Franco years, as background for a possible novel. It was worse than I expected. I knew divorce was forbidden under Franco, and that a woman who ran away from a violent husband would be brought back by the police, who, like as not, would tell the husband to give her a good hiding to teach her not to run off again. I…

October 8, 2017
Read More >>

Photos of the Pirate Invasion

August 6, 2017

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but that was fun! I hadn’t expected nearly so many actors in such good costumes, so very well rehearsed. I hadn’t expected so many spectators either. The crowds made for a great atmosphere, but they also made it hard to get good photos, and it didn’t help that I was using my new camera so I had to think about what I was doing….

Read More >>

Pirate’s Day Reenactment

In 1553 French pirates led by François LeClerc (known as Pata de Palo or wooden leg) attacked Santa Cruz de La Palma and took the whole town over. Then they refused to go until they were paid a huge ransom. The island council, in exile in Tazacorte, tried to raise the money and negotiate a lower price. Meanwhile, a group of goat herders from Garafía led by Baltasar Martín, came…

August 3, 2017
Read More >>

A Memorial to the Tazacorte Martyrs

The underwater memorial to the Tazacorte martyrs off the coast of Tazacorte, La Palma. Photo: Christian Carlos Tdo. Rguez
July 13, 2017

The Tazacote martytrs have an unusual memorial – 18m underwater at Malpique, the site where they drowned. There are 40 crosses, one for each of the victims. The memorial was created in 2000, and I’m told that it’s easy to visit even for novice divers. The photo was taken by Christian Carlos Tdo. Rguez who is a local diving instructor and ecologist. He has a blog in Spanish (with excellent photos)…

Read More >>

Local history: The Tazacorte Martyrs

In 1570, a party of Jesuit missionaries were on their way from Portugal to Brazil. They broke their journey in Puerto de Tazacorte. It was an unplanned stop: they’d been heading for Santa Cruz de la Palma, but the winds were against them. On arrival in Tazacorte, Fr. Acevedo was amazed to find that the owner of the estate was an old friend from Oporto, don Melchor de Monteverde y…

July 10, 2017
Read More >>

Where did the benahorita come from?

May 7, 2017

  The people who lived on La Palma before the Spanish arrived in 1493 called the island Benahoare, and themselves Benahorita. (Or according to some people Benawara and Benawaritas. They insist their spelling is correct. I find this odd, because to me the correct spelling would be the one the people themselves used, only they didn’t write.) The Benahorita probably arrived on La Palma somewhere between 1000 BC and 100…

Read More >>