Mencey kings

In 1494 when Alonso Fernandez de Lugo set out to conquer Tenerife, the Island was split into nine kingdoms governed by Menceys. These rulers were the highest civil, religious and military authority of the region they governed. Today, standing proudly in the municipality of Candelaria, by Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias, are nine bronze statues representing each of these Menceys.

  • Acaymo, Mencey of Tacoronte: Acaymo was the ruler of the Tacoronte region, in the north of Tenerife, which covers what are now the municipalities of Tacoronte, La Matanza de Acentejo and El Sauzal. According to historian Antonio de Viana, Acaymo had been at war with Mencey Bencomo, but they had made peace shortly before the arrival of the conquistadors.
  • Adjona, Mencey of Abona: The region that came under Adjona's reign was the vast area of Abona, located in the south of Tenerife. It spanned the territories that now house the municipalities of Fasnia, Arico, Granadilla de Abona, San Miguel and Vilaflor, covering an expanse of roughly 420 km2 (162 sq. miles). Adjona was one of the Menceys who made a pact with Alonso Fernández de Lugo when he first disembarked.
  • Añaterve, Mencey of Güímar: Añaterve was the first ruler to reach an agreement with the conquerors through the governor of Gran Canaria, Pedro de Vera. His land covered what are now the municipalities of El Rosario, Candelaria, Arafo and Güímar, as well as part of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and La Laguna.
  • Bencomo, Mencey of Taoro: During the conquest, the region of Taoro was ruled by Bencomo. His domains were what is now Villa de La Orotava, La Victoria de Acentejo, Santa Úrsula, Puerto de la Cruz, Los Realejos and San Juan de la Rambla. Bencomo took the lead of the aboriginal resistance against the Castilian invasion, which earned him the alias of Great King. He died in the Battle of La Laguna fighting Alonso Fernández de Lugo's troops. His son, Bentor, succeeded him as Mencey and the tragic story that ensued illustrates the fate that the conquest entailed for the Guanche people. Foreseeing his defeat by the Spaniards after the battle of La Victoria de Acentejo, he leapt to his death from the edge of Tigaiga ravine, in the municipality of Los Realejos. Today, he is remembered by a sculpture that stands at the El Lance lookout point. In contrast, one of Bencomo's daughters, princess Dácil, fell in love with the Spanish captain Fernán García del Castillo, who she eventually married. After a Guanche man reported that she had met with the Castilian alone, Bencomo sentenced his own daughter to be killed by immurement. Dácil managed to avoid this penalty by proving that there were witnesses to the encounter, after which she got married and was christened Mencías del Castillo.
  • Beneharo, Mencey of Anaga: Mencey Beneharo reached a pact with Alonso Fernández de Lugo and remained impartial during the years of the conquest of Tenerife. His lands covered much of the Anaga mountain range.
  • Pelicar, Mencey of Icod: Icod's realm covered the current municipalities of La Guancha, Icod de los Vinos and El Tanque, as well as part of Garachico. His men were part of the resistance until they surrendered in 1496 after the battle of La Victoria de Acentejo.
  • Pelinor, Mencey of Adeje: Pelinor struck an agreement with Alonso Fernández de Lugo at the beginning of the conquest, which led him to be rewarded later on with lands in Masca and Santiago del Teide. His domains covered 180 km2 (70 sq. miles) spanning what is now Adeje, Guía de Isora, Santiago del Teide and part of Arona.
  • Romen, Mencey of Daute: The territory of Daute in the 15th century comprised the municipalities of Buenavista del Norte, Los Silos and part of Garachico. Romen was among the Menceys who fought off the invader's forces during the conquest.
  • Tegueste, Mencey of Tegueste: This realm covered the current area of Tegueste and much of San Cristóbal de La Laguna. The Mencey who gave the area its name governed it valiantly, fiercely resisting the Castilian invasion, and was involved in the Battle of La Laguna.