Hola From Tenerife

Subscribe to our free newsletter to get an (ir)regular ray of Tenerife sunshine in your inbox. Just enter your email address below.

Delivered by FeedBurner



Festivals in Tenerife and other large gatherings are still not able to be held with social distancing and other restrictions still in force. Events listed here, therefore, are subject to cancellation or change without notice. Such circumstances are beyond our control.

Please like and follow our facebook page for more updates >>

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Travellers Chronicles Reveal Invisible History of Canary Islands Women

The chronicles of the travellers who visited the Canary Islands in the centuries XVIII and XIX have been helping investigators to uncover details of the daily life the women of the archipelago, who had surprised the foreigners with their beauty, but also by their ignorance, poverty and superstitions.

University professor and investigator in History of Education at the University of La Laguna, Teresa González, has investigated texts written by Elizabeth Murray, Piazzi Smyth, Olivia Stone, Verneau, Berthelot, Humboldt and others, to publish a book, "Las mujeres canarias en las crónicas de viajeros" (Canary Islands women in chronicles of travellers).

Outsiders' accounts have been an essential source of information about Canary Islands women in centuries past, about whom there are scarcely any historical accounts, because the past of the women of the islands is invisible: hidden.

González says it was interesting to observe how the travellers analysed Canarians from their European viewpoint. They value but also underestimate and, in some cases, ridicule the behavior of the islanders.

These travellers were mostly British, German and French and were of a "cultured class", with money, which made them look from a "position of superiority", analysing the island population as living in extreme poverty and intellectual misery.

The chroniclers described people who were rough, but because they had been kept far away from knowledge. They particularly noticed that better off women were kept inside, infrequently going out into the street, unless accompanied.

Many of the travellers visiting La Laguna, La Orotava and Garachico in Tenerife, as well as Gran Canaria and Lanzaorte, spoke of empty streets and silence.

They also described scenes with peasant women laden with fruit and milk who went to market in groups, engaged in animated conversations, accompanied by children.

English chronicler, Whitford's attention was drawn by the belief in witches, ghosts, apparitions and even curses, superstitions, which until recently pervaded among country women.

(From my personal experience, I'd counter that these beliefs and rituals still exist in various, mostly, rural pockets.)

Many also spoke of the moral order and in this respect, Brown confirmed that the morality of Canarian women was quite elevated, for instance if they were married they were almost always faithful, even when their husbands emigrated and they were left alone for a number of years. Single girls rarely had more than one boyfriend.

For Pegot-Ogier, the women of the Canary Islands were "uncultured, ignorant, had much less knowledge of the outside world than the men and were incapable of being the center of attention, despite their beauty".

Some travellers also spoke of how misery drove many island women to prostitute themselves in exchange for a few coins, mainly those who did not have a man to look after them. And there are stories of how women offered themselves to sailors or a group of thirty girls, accompanied by their old mothers, who begged insistently for "the favour of an intimate conversation".

La belleza y la miseria de las canarias sorprendía a los viajeros del siglo XVIII y XIX

No comments:

Tenerife Topics

Adeje Almond Flower Route April in Tenerife Arafo Arico Arona Ash Wednesday Auditorio de Tenerife August in Tenerife Brexit Buenavista del Norte Burial of the Sardine Canarian Cuisine Canaries Day Candelaria Candelmas Carnaval de Día Carnival 1987 Carnival 1988 Carnival 1989 Carnival 1990 Carnival 1991 Carnival 1992 Carnival 1993 Carnival 1994 Carnival 1995 Carnival 1996 Carnival 1997 Carnival 1998 Carnival 1999 Carnival 2000 Carnival 2001 Carnival 2002 Carnival 2003 Carnival 2004 Carnival 2005 Carnival 2006 Carnival 2007 Carnival 2008 Carnival 2009 Carnival 2010 Carnival 2011 Carnival 2012 Carnival 2013 Carnival 2014 Carnival 2015 Carnival 2016 Carnival 2017 Carnival 2018 Carnival 2019 Carnival 2020 Carnival 2021 Carnival 2022 Carnival 2023 Carnival Foods Carnival History Carnival Main Parade Carnival Queen Santa Cruz Carnival Queens 2001-2020 Carnivals of the World Children's Carnaval Parade Chinyero Christmas Day Concert Christmas in Tenerife Christopher Columbus Comparsas Corazones de Tejina Corpus Christi COVID-19 Craft Fairs Daytime Carnival December in Tenerife Día de la Cruz Día de San José Easter in Tenerife El Gordo Christmas Lottery El Rosario El Sauzal El Tanque Epidemics in Tenerife Farmers Markets Fasnia February in Tenerife Fiesta Nacional de España Fiestas de San Juan Fiestas El Palmar Flavours of Christmas Free Tour Garachico Granadilla de Abona Guía de Isora Güímar History of Tenerife Icod de los Vinos Innocent Saints January in Tenerife Jardín Botánico July in Tenerife June in Tenerife Junior Carnival Queen La Gomera La Guancha La Matanza de Acentejo La Orotava La Palma Eruption La Siervita La Victoria de Acentejo Las Burras de Güímar Las Celias de Tenerife Los Cristianos Los Cristianos Carnival Los Gigantes Los Gigantes Carnival Los Indianos Los Realejos Los Reyes Los Silos March in Tenerife Masca Mascarita Ponte Tacón May in Tenerife Monuments and Sculptures in Santa Cruz Municipal Holidays Municipalities Fiestas Nelson's Attack on Santa Cruz 25 Jul 1797 New Year in Tenerife Nochebuena November in Tenerife October in Tenerife Opening Parade Parade of Vintage Cars Public Holidays Puerto de la Cruz Puerto de la Cruz Carnival Rally Calendar Recipes for All Saints Day Rhythm and Harmony Comparsas Romería de San Roque Romerías San Andrés San Antonio Abad San Cristóbal de La Laguna San Juan de la Rambla San Miguel de Abona San Sebastián Santa Cruz de Tenerife Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Themes Santa Úrsula Santiago del Teide Senior Carnival Queen September in Tenerife Shrove Tuesday Simón Bolívar Summer Carnival Tacoronte Tegueste Tenerife Carnival Dates Tenerife Disaster Tenerife Fire Tenerife Month by Month Tenerife Museums Tenerife Rally Tenerife Walking Festival Tenerife Weather Tenerife Wines Teno Rural Park This Is Tenerife (TIT) Town Halls in Tenerife Traditional Fiestas Tropical Storm Delta Vilaflor de Chasna