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History of Los Gigantes and Tenerife

30,000,000 BC
Image of Teide (Tenerife) Taken from the space shuttleThe Canary islands are estimated to be around 30 million years old, relatively young by geological standards. The volcanoes that form the islands backbone saw the light of day at about the time the Atlas Mountains were formed. The highest volcano, Tenerife's Teide at 3718m (12,195ft) is Spain's tallest peak and the third tallest volcano in the world after the two in Hawaii. Where Tenerife now stands today, it is believed that there were 3 islands (what are now) the Anaga, Teno (where Santiago del Teide is now) and Valle San Lorenzo mountain ranges. In a tremendous volcanic process the old central volcano and the great mountain range (Cumbre Dorsal) melted together into what we know today as Tenerife. Presumably the top of the volcano did not explode but collapsed in it's own crater and is now one of the greatest collapsed craters of the world (Las Cañadas). This oval crater is at it's longest distance about 17Km long.

500,000 BC
500.000 years ago the last stage of volcanic activity in Tenerife took place. The 'Pico Viejo' (old peak) erupted first and some time later the higher 'Pico del Teide'.

427-347 BC
The existence of the islands was known, or at least postulated, in ancient times, and Plato spoke of Atlantis, a continent that had sunk beneath the ocean floor in a great cataclysm that left only the peaks of its highest mountains above the water. The islands gained an almost mythic reputation, passed down from one classical writer to the next, as a Garden of Eden. This also fits in with the islands' latter day nickname, the Fortunate Islands.

200 BC
Guanche mummy remainsCarbon dating has placed the earliest settlement at around 200 BC, although earlier settlement is possible. One clue, apart from the ancient skulls of the original inhabitants, are the conquering Europeans' 15th century descriptions of locals on Tenerife. According to the tales of the European conquerors, the Guanches were a "highly beautiful white race, tall, muscular, and with a great many blondes amongst their numbers" Their great height must be understood in relation to the average height of Europeans at that time. Guanche was the name by which the natives of Tenerife called themselves. Guan Chenech meant "Man from Chenech", or man from Tenerife. With the passage of time, the term Guanche became identified with all the native peoples of the Canaries. It would seem that the natives of La Palma, seeing the snow-covered peak of the Teide on the horizon, called that island Ten-er-efez, "White Mountain" (from Ten, teno, dun, duna= mountain, and er-efez= white). Suggestions for the origins of the Guanches have ranged from Celtic immigrants from mainland Spain or Portugal, to Norse invaders, supplying a possible explanation for the blonde hair and blue eyes. Berber immigrants from nearby Saharan Africa almost certainly inhabited some of the eastern islands, and place names bear a striking resemblance to Berber tribal languages. Occasionally blue eyes and fair hair crop up among the Berbers as well, so the Guanches' origin is still open to question. The Guanches relied on limited farming, herding, hunting and gathering, and the majority of them lived in caves.

77 AD
The name "Canarias" was mentioned by Plutarque and Pline the elder, before the islands disappear from western minds until the 13th century, when they were rediscovered by european navigators.

120 AD
GeographiaAround 120 AD, Marinus of Tyre wrote that the habitable world was bounded on the west by the Fortunate Islands. The status of the Fortunate Islands as the western edge of the known world was more formally established when Claudius Ptolemy (AD 90 - 168), following Marinus, adopted the Fortunate Islands as the prime meridian for his Geographia. This was the most famous classical map of the world, unsurpassed for almost 1500 years.

13th Century AD
The 9 Menceyatos of Tenerife Guimar, Anaga, Tegueste, Tacoronte, Taoro, Icode, Daute, Adeje, AbonaBy the time the Europeans began looking towards Tenerife it was divided into no fewer than nine tiny fiefdoms or Menceys. In Candelaria, the memory of the last nine Kings was kept alive by lava made statues at the beach in front of the Basílica, but the passage of time and erosion corroded and partially destroyed these statues. A few years ago the native artist 'José Abad' from 'La Laguna' made 7 bronze statues with royal scepters, stone weapons, wood spears, slings and other symbolic objects. The Canaries were rediscovered by a Genovese fleet under Lancelot Malocello.

A detailed survey was made by Nicoloso de Recco of Genoa in 1341.

In 1402, Jean de Béthencourt, from Normandy, occupied, the islands of Lanzarote, Castilla. Fuerteventura, Gomera and Hierro, on behalf of King Henri III Spain but Tenerife, La Palma and Gran Canaria resisted occupation.

A papal bull of 1433 awarded rights over the Canaries to Henry the Navigator of Portugal, but this decision was reversed in 1436, when another papal bull awarded these rights to the crown of Castile. In the Alcovas treaty of 1479, Portugal recognised the rights of the Castilians to the Canaries, in return for Castilian recognition of Portugese sovereignty over Fez and Guinea.

Under the patronage of Isabelle of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon. Christopher Columbus would stop 4 times in these islands on his way to America, between 1492 and 1502, mainly in La Gomera where his mistress lived.

3rd May 1494
Founding of Santa CruzAlonso Fernández de Lugo arrived from occupied Gran Canaria and landed at Añaza Beach (today's harbour of Santa Cruz), on the boundary between the kingdoms of Anaga and Güimar. He arrived with Spanish troops, but also with a considerable number of natives of Gran Canaria who had been converted to Christianity. Their island had been part of the Kingdom of Castile for the last 20 years. On the 3 May 1494 a solemn mass was said on the beach, and the "Adelantado" or military governor (official title of Fernández de Lugo), by erecting in a wooden cross, founded the Royal city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Holy Cross of Tenerife. His orders were to subdue the last bastion of resistance of the Canary natives - Tenerife. Prior to the landing, the Spaniards had established an agreement with four of the nine Menceys of the island: Güimar, Anaga, Abona and Adeje (which included where Los Gigantes now stands today). These four "kingdoms" submitted peaceably , not just because they had had contact with Spanish missionaries for some time; but more so , because there was no sense of 'common Nation' among the Guanches. There had always been frequent wars or skirmishes between the different tribes or "kingdoms". However, the Great Mencey of Taoro and Island's Main King, Bencomo, the king of Raoro (today La Orotava) refused to accept the occupation and allied with the kingdoms of Daute, Icod, Tacoronte and Tegueste, faced the invaders. Together they formed a plan to ambush the invader. Alonso Fernández de Lugo and his forces unsuspectingly pressed forward into the interior of the island, crossed the Aguere Valley and arrived at the North shore. The area was deserted. The indigenous population had "vanished". Still arrogantly believing there would be no resistance from these ignorant savages he pressed on to Taoro. (Picture=The foundation of Santa Cruz de Tenerife,Painting by Manuel González Méndez, Plenary Session Room, Parliament of the Canary Islands)

31 May 1494
On the 31st of May of 1494 the Spaniards walked blindly into the ravine of Acentejo ("Pouring waters") and there they met disaster. Guanches attacked them from the slopes. Using stones and spears against the Spanish blunderbusses and canon, and they fought naked while the conquerors wore armour and shields. In spite of their overwhelming advantage , the Spaniards suffered a terrible defeat. Four out of five Spanish soldiers were killed. Fernández de Lugo, was wounded and surviving only by a miracle, retreated, harried by the Guanches until he was forced to re-embark and sail back to Gran Canaria. The Guanches had won - for the moment. To this day the town built on the site where the massacre occurred is called La Matanza (the slaughter) de Acentejo Today besides the motorway there is a huge stone wall painting with a Guanche blowing the victory signal through a horn to commemorate the event.

Guanche LifeHumiliated, Alonso Fernández de Lugo sold all his properties in order to fund a new expedition to Tenerife. In 1495 he landed again in Añaza, where he rebuilt the destroyed fort of Santa Cruz. More cautious after the previous experience, he advanced gradually and he built another fort on the way to the interior of the island: the fort of Gracia (Grace). The Guanches and Castilians met on the plain of Aguere. At the place where the University of La Laguna now stands a terrible battle took place. The Guanches were decimated. Their mistake had been to fight on the plain, where the cavalry - terrible and unknown to them, destroyed them. The Mencey Bencomo and Sigoñe -Military Chief- Tinguaro were killed. The Spaniards advanced along the North shore and the Guanches faced them again in Acentejo, near the place of the Slaughter - La Matanza. This time -thanks to past experience - the Spaniards won, and they founded there the town of "La Victoria de Acentejo" -The Victory of Acentejo. The conquerors finally arrived at the rich Arautava Valley (La Orotava), heartland of Taoro and here they met the real hardcore of resistance. Bencomo's son, Bentor, had been proclaimed Mencey. But the situation among the Guanches was catastrophic. An epidemic, called by the Spaniards "Guanche Drowsiness", broke out and decimated the population killing them in their hundreds in just a few weeks. It was probably a European sickness against which the immune system of the Guanches was unprepared, as the illness didn't affect the Spaniards.

25th December 1495
In the place now known as the town of Los Realejos (Little "Reales" or military camps) the Guanches surrendered and Tenerife was annexed to the Crown of Castile. The three-times repeated protocolary proclamation, "Tenerife for their Highnesses the Catholic Queen and King doña Isabel and don Fernando" marked the historic moment. However, some sources of resistance still remained. Skirmishes continued spasmodically for several more years. Mencey Bentor retreated to the cliffs of Tigaiga, at the foot of Teide volcano and above his former kingdom of Taoro. He threw himself to his death, unable to deal with the loss of his freedom and the Guañac, Country.

After the victory over the Guanches, de Lugo constructed the metropolis of 'San Cristobal de La Laguna' in 1496, beside a lake which was about seven kilometres away from the bay of 'Añaza'. The next century saw massacres, warfare and Guanches sold off wholesale into slavery, their language had all but disappeared, the survivors had intermarried with the invaders, converted to Christianity and taken Spanish names.

16th Century
Most surviving Guanches were baptized. They took christian names and the family names of their conqueror godfathers and godmothers. These baptisms en masse accounted for the disappearance -literally overnight -of Guanche names among the island's population. Just a few Guanche family names are still present centuries later. One is the surname of the direct descendants of the Great Mencey of Taoro, Bencomo. There are others, like Guanche, Ibaute or Baute, and Oramas still to be found in the local telephone directories today! Conversely the names of places, towns, valleys, rocks and mountains are still mostly of Guanche origin: Teide, Ucanca, Tejina, Tegueste, Tacoronte, Orotava, Chimiche, Arico, Adeje, Isora, Arona. Guanche rebels were enslaved and were sold on European auction blocks, but many of them, after having been baptized, appealed to the Crown, and in many cases they were freed and allowed to return to the islands, against the wishes of the colonists who tried constantly to convince the Crown that the Guanches were dangerous, fearing a revolt. Some Guanches refused to live in the towns and villages which were by now built all over the island and preferred to live free as shepherds in the mountains following their traditional ways of life. They were called "rebellious Guanches" (Guanches alzados) by the colonists, although their actions were in no way rebellious at all - they just wanted to be left alone. The conquistadors distributed land and founded towns and villages. Some estates were given to Guanche aristocrats of the tribes which had been friendly to the Spaniards. The natives of Gran Canaria and other islands who helped to the conquest also received homesteading rights. Alonso Fernández de Lugo's crown jewel was the town of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, built in the delightful Aguere Valley. The seat of the Island's Cabildo (Council) was established in the brand-new capital, and in time also the first Island's university and Tenerife's cathedral and bishop's palace. The population of Tenerife became mixed after a short period of time, with a large influx of European immigrants from several countries. The 16th century, was the time of the Great Spanish World Empire. Flemish, Germans, Italians and Portuguese established themselves in Tenerife.

Santiago de Teide StatueThe area where Los Gigantes now stands had been part of the Kingdom of the Mencey (King) of Adeje, and of the "Archmencyato" (high chieftainship) of Tamaimo but after the Spanish conquest it came under the jurisdiction of don Alonso Fernández of Lugo who had been made military governor of the island, during the first subdivisions of the conquered territory. There is a record dated 1503 showing that 100 fanegas (an agricultural measurement roughly equivalent to an acre) of arable land in the valley of Santiago was conceded to Diego Mencey who came from Adeje. It is thought that before his conversion to Christianity Diego had been called Pelinor - and was likely one of the guanche kings who had co-operated with the invaders. A statue of his son Cherfe stands in Santiago del Teide town today.

A deed to the territory of the Valley of Santiago was conceded to Juan Cabeza of Extremadura, who had been granted land rights in the area in 1508. He became the first "Lord of the manor" for the area.

On the 19 April 1509 Alonso Diaz of the Valley of Santiago, the son of Don Diego (formerly Pelinor) after years of struggles and appeals to the crown, managed to obtain a favourable judgment from Fernando II of Aragón and Isabel I of Castille to whom he had taken his petition: that the Governor Alonso Fernández of Lugo return to him 200 goats that said governor had taken by force. The most important economic activity in the area at the time was based around fishing and the sea. The inhabitants utilized the timber from the mountains of Arguayo and the Valley of Santiago to make boats seaworthy, which then sailed from the ports of Garachico and Adeje en route to Lisbon and Cadiz.

One of the first crops to be grown on a large scale was sugar cane. In addition to the need for large cleared areas, sugar production required large amounts of fuel to boil the cane juice: decimating the pine forests of the island. The primary interest of foreign merchants in Tenerife was the export of the sugar in return for the import of cloth. Hakluyt described the trade by Nicholas Thorne of Bristol in 1526, who exchanged sugar, orchil and goatskins for cloth 'both coarse and fine, broad and narrow, of divers sorts and colours.

The hermitage of Santiago was constructed in "Valle de arriba" just outside where Santiago del Teide town is today.

By the 1560s Tenerife had twelve sugar mills in operation.

The Engineer Leonardo Torriani was sent by King Philip 2nd to fortify the Canary Islands as a precaution against invasion. He Landed at the Port of Santiago in 1587 (little has changed in the old harbour of Puerto Santiago that one can see today)

Spain's control of the Canary islands did not go unchallenged. First Moroccan troops occupied Lanzarote in 1569 and 1586, then Sir Francis Drake tried a little gunboat diplomacy off Las Palmas in 1595. A Dutch fleet reduced Las Palmas to rubble in 1599

April 1657
Admiral Robert BlakeIn April 1657 Admiral Robert Blake got word of a Spanish treasure fleet. He attacked the fleet at Santa Cruz de Tenerife - it was his greatest victory. His captains led the frigates inshore to attack the ships in the harbour. Blake and the larger ships stayed outside and fired upon the guns of the shore forts. The Spanish fleet was destroyed. The English ships were battered, but not one was lost.

The municipality (county) of Santiago del Teide (of which Los Gigantes is part) was known of old as The Valley of Santiago and there had been a hermitage dedicated to Santiago there for for some years. In 1663 don Fernando del Hoyo y Solórzano was made the "Lord of the Manor" of the Valley of Santiago. Formal constitution of the Manor of the Valley of Santiago, was made by the Military Governor Don Fernando del Ovo Solórzano by the Royal concession of 3 july 1663. Said manor was signed over to Fernando del Hoyo after he had donated 3200 silver ducats to the crown. He also measured the extent of the valley in Leagues (1 league equals approx 5.5km) The jurisdiction of his Lordship included the administration of criminal (as opposed to ecclesiastical) law, including the right to incarcerate, hang, spike the heads of, garrotte, whip with a "cat-o-nine-tails", cut off various extremities, or set free (not likely?) any and all miscreants, adjudged by him to be lawbreakers.

Old Canarian Finca HouseBetween 1665 and 1668 the "Casa del Patio", the property of the family of Hoyo Solózano, and perhaps the most historically and architecturally important building in the Valley of Santiago, was built. La Casa del Patio is found to the north of where the town of Santiago del Teide lies today, it stood in a finca (smallholding or farm) that was over 27,000 sq metres in area, which made up the manor of Valle Santiago. In February 2003 Work expected to cost some 5 and half million Euros has been started on restoring this building.

In 1676 Bishop Bartolomé García Jiménez foresaw the need the create a parish in the region so that the local populace did not have to depend on the parish already established in Buenavista for the various administrative and spiritual tasks undertaken by parish priest, and put his proposal to the Crown, who subsequently gave their approval. Don Fernando del Hoyo y Solórzano the "Lord of the Manor" of the Valley of Santiago at that time offered to construct a new church dedicated to San Fernando, which would incorporate the ancient hermitage.

The inauguration of the Church of Saint Fernando in what is today the town of Santiago del Teide on the 9th September of 1679 saw the creation of a parish of the same name. Its jurisdiction extended from Juan Lopez and Masca up to the ravine of Vera de Erques

On the 30 October 1776 the strong-hold or fort of Adeje conceded to Town council of the Valley of Santiago del Teide, territory previously designated as The Wastelands, which were subsequently passed to the local inhabitants, in exchange for paying a tax to the Town council, and this for almost the next 2 centuries was Its principal source of income.

There was by now frequent interaction between the port of Santiago and the neighbouring Island of La Gomera. In 1778 denizens of Puerto de Santiago earnt 1334 Reals (1000 Reals = 1.5 euros approx) for exporting honey to La Gomera.

5 October 1796
Spain declared war on England

25 May 1797
The attack on Santa Cruz of the 25th May 1797 by the British Navy was not really in response to an invasion strategy on behalf of the British Crown. More likely the Sailors were following the mores of the time, seeking the fabulous riches, which they believed were in the colonists coffers and if circumstances permitted would ransom the good citizens of the town as well.

5 September 1797
On the 5th September 1797, the British Navy attempted a landing in the region of Puerto Santiago. They were repelled by the stones launched at them by the inhabitants of the Valley of Santiago thrown from the heights of the cliffs of Los Gigantes.

25 July 1797
Admiral Sir Horatio NelsonAdmiral Sir Horatio Nelson attacked Santa Cruz, the capital town of Tenerife and headquarters of the Capitan General (Military Commander and sort of Viceroy of the islands) on 25 July 1797 The battle took place in the harbour and in the town streets. Nelson was hit by gunfire during an attempt to disembark at Santa Cruz shore. He was defeated and lost his right arm. The declaration of Santa Cruz as an incorporated town was a direct consequence of the victory over the British in their attempts to occupy the site.

2nd half 18th century
Alexander VonHumboltDutch maps of the period used the peak of El Teide on Tenerife as their prime meridian. Large areas of pine and laurel forest had been lost to the sugar industry by the 18th century. and when George Glas visited Orotava in 1764 he noted that few mature pines remained. In 1799, the famous German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (who founded the University at La Laguna) stayed in Tenerife and spoke enthusiastically of the beauty of the area, especially the Orotava valley. Was he the father of Tourism? (Picture=Alexander von Humboldt 1769-1859)

Maps TenerifeThe Municipality of the Valley of Santiago del Teide was Created in 1812, when the Parliament of Cadiz (forerunner to the modern day Spanish constitution) over-rode the feudal law of the "Lords of the manor". Its boundaries extended to the west of the island over an area of 2,25 km2. and including the areas of Casco (El Valle), Valle de Arriba, Las Manchas, Arguayo, El Molledo, El Retamar, Tamaimo, Puerto de Santiago and Los Gigantes, bordered on the North by the municipalities of Icod de Los Vinos, Garachico, el Tanque and Los Silos, to the East by Buenavista del Norte and to the south by Guía de Isora.

The Canaries were declared a province of Spain in 1821. Santa Cruz de Tenerife was declared the official capital, adding fuel to the already low-level bickering between Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

The formal constitution of the Town Council of Valley of Santiago del Teide took place around 1835

Mid 19th Century
The inhabitants of Gran Canaria demanded that the province be split into two, which it was for a short and unsuccessful period in the 1840s. Several agricultural commodities followed boom-bust cycles on the islands: sugar cane, wine and then cochineal for making dyes all had their day, followed by bananas and to a lesser extent tomatoes and potatoes.

The Town Council started the first school in the Valley of Santiago del Teide in 1884.

Tourists (mainly well-to-do British) began coming to Tenerife in significant numbers towards the end of the last century. At that time tourism was centred around the northern resort town of Puerto de la Cruz and, to a lesser extent, the island's capital Santa Cruz. Both towns boasted a handful of grandiose hotels, the most popular being the Grand Hotel Taoro in Puerto de la Cruz. Built in 1892,

The Medal of Charity, was awarded to Santa Cruz de Tenerife by Queen Regent María Cristina in 1893 during the cholera epidemic, in which the citizens behaved bravely

Maps TenerifeUntil the end of the 19th century the Valley of Santiago enjoyed great prestige from the bull fights which were put on in honour of San Pedro.

Maps TenerifeThe last volcano eruption in Tenerife happened near the village of Santiago del Teide at Chinyero on the 18th November 1909. The traditional Romería of the volcano is still celebrated to the present day in May when the statues of Christ and the Virgin are transported from the church of San Fernando to the place where the lava flow from the last volcanic eruption was diverted away from harming the populace. Photo courtesy of Colectivo Arguayo shows some farmers watching the eruption from quite close by.

1914 TenerifeWolfgang Köhler assumed the directorship of the Anthropoid Research Station on the island of Tenerife. The station was financed by the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Kóhler was confined to the island for the duration of World War I because the British Navy controlled the seas around Tenerife and he carried out his famous studies of insightful problem solving in chimpanzees during this time. The WWI British maritime blockade also destroyed the banana trade, and after the war the Canarios voted with their feet and fled the poverty at home in droves for a new life in Latin America

2 July 1916
On the 2 July 1916 the official title of the region of the Valley of Santiago was changed to Santiago del Teide. The reason for this was because of several mistakes which had been made when (mainly Cuban) Immigrants were trying to mail letters home, and these were directed by the postal service to Playa Santiago (Santiago Beach) in La Gomera instead of to the Valley of Santiago in Tenerife.

circa 1928
First Ever Car in Santiago del Teide TenerifeThe First car arrives in Santiago del Teide! There had been cars as near as Icod since 1887 but it took over 40 years for one to arrive in Santiago del Teide town. Antonio Modesto de los Silos (centre: probably the owner of the car) was visiting on a hunting trip photo courtesy of Colectivo Arguayo

Fernando del Hoyoy Solorzano DecendantsOutside the Casa del Patio (the family seat of the Lord's of the Manor of the Valley of Santiago) Their Lordships were not often in attendance, but this photo captures a family reunion in 1930. Present were María Teresa and Fernando del Hoyo Machado, Laura Salazar de Frias with Benítez de Lugo, Blanca del Hoyo y Machado, José Rodríguez de Azero y Salazar, Alberto del Hoyo y Machado, María Monteverde and Cullen and Margarita del Hoyo y Machado. Photo courtesy of Colectivo Arguayo

Bus 1930 Santiago del Teide TenerifeIn the early 1930s the area of Santiago del Teide had experienced the beginning of an economic upswing with the arrival of a proper road. But the short period of hope that followed WWI was dashed when Spain fell into the chaos of civil war in 1936.

Franco and his trucksA major factor in the development of 20th Century Tenerife was the Spanish Civil War and the rise to power of General Francisco Franco. Franco had been a very high ranking soldier in the Spanish Army but the Republican government, wary of Franco's right-wing political leanings, posted him (in effect a kind of exile) to Tenerife in March of1936. It was from there that the political coup was secretly planned and the Canaries were consequently first to fall to Franco's forces in July and the first to suffer mass executions of writers, trade unionists, socialists, anyone whom Franco's militia considered a threat, before Franco and his forces moved on to Morocco. The right-wing military uprising against the Spanish government was declared in Spanish Morocco from where the army was airlifted to the Spanish mainland by German planes. On the one hand, it's true to say that Franco did bring a new prosperity to Spain and to the Canaries, but local feeling is that the regime also imposed too many restrictions on Canarian autonomy, a feeling which many still express today.

immigrantsThe fifties were marked by a wave of emigration towards latin america, already started in the early years of the century with the trade and work in the Cuban plantations, now turned towards the economic rise of Venezuela. The Canaries suffered from the same post-war misery as Spain 16,000 fled the Canaries, and a third of those who attempted the journey perished in leaky boats.

1950 - 1957
Electric lighting and piped water systems were introduced to the Santiago del Teide area. The driving force behind this was irrigation to enable the growth of the tomato export trade, which was centered around Tamaimo. Santiago del Teide had 2,101 inhabitants at this time.

First Taxi arrives in Tamaimo in 1960The first Taxi in the area, driven by Teodosio González Navarro of Tamaimo and registered in 1952.

Los Gigantes Tenerife in 1960By the early 60s, Franco decided to throw the country's doors open to sun-starved tourists. The latest and greatest boom - and the one that transformed the economy so miraculously and parts of the islands, well, less so - began. Millions of sun-seeking hedonists now flock to the islands annually. In August of 1960 Juan Manuel Capdevielle from Navarro in NE Spain discovered the potential for tourism in the Los Gigantes area. Central Los Gigantes in the early sixties, the foundations are laid for the cobbled courtyards which lead off from the then un built Plaza Bouganville.

Playa de la Arena Beach 1970The tourist village of Los Gigantes was created in the 1970s, in a previously deserted and barren area, predominately by British Nationals, and one can still see the predominately British influence there today. Los Gigantes is famous for the cliffs of the same same, which rise vertically from the sea to a dizzy 300 metres Playa de La Arena Beach Circa 1970, notice there is only a dirt track, the road had not been built at that time.

King and Queen in Los GigantesTheir majesties the King and Queen of Spain (then still prince and princess) officiate at the official opening ceremony of the Los Gigantes Hotel in 1973 (The hotel had been open to visitors since the late 60s)

The County of Santiago del Teide had 3.261 inhabitants by now.

In 1976, when the ex-Spanish Sahara was retroceded to Morocco and Mauritania, many nationals turned back towards the nearby Canary Islands.

The Canaries became a comunidad autónoma (autonomous region) in 1982

Santiago del Teide CrestThe crest of Santiago del Teide is adopted by Royal decree The nine triangles (nine "Mount Teides") represent the municipality's nine villages

Before Adeje and Santiago del Teide formed volunteer fire brigades in the 1980s, defences against fire were a haphazard affair. Villagers and townsfolk rallied round as best they could to fight the occasional fire in their communities and gathered in a spirit of determination rather than organised skills to tackle forest blazes. The Cruz Roja (Red Cross) organised the fore-runners of the Civil Protection units that still assist firefighters and police at scenes of carnage. Assistance at road accidents was largely catered for by the placement every two kilometres or so along main roads of caches of simple medical supplies, bandages and the like. But it was from this community spirit of self-help that the volunteer firefighting forces sprang. In 1988 Artemio Cabrera Pinto-Martin formed the Santiago del Teide voluntary fire service (Bomberos Voluntarios) Before 1988 Artemio was a volunteer worker with the Red Cross and came to Santiago del Teide to found that organisation's Civil Protection unit. He still remains in charge at age 66 (2004) and dismisses talk of retirement

May 2003
Pancracio SocasPancracio Socas beloved mayor of Santiago del Teide for sixteen years passed away, due to a heart attack that he suffered during a political rally in Puerto Santiago on the eve of the elections that would surely have returned him as Mayor for a further term. He was transferred to the green hospital in Las Americas in the south of the island but they were unable to save him. Don Pancracio was replaced as mayor by Juan Gorrín, deputy candidate for the Coalición Canaria party An act passed by the local council dated 24 of May of 2003, declared Pancracio a "Favoured Son" of Santiago del Teide

Friday 3 October 2003
celebrations of the 500 centenary of Santiago del Teide

Tuesday 5th October 2004
Pancracio Socas Statue
A touching ceremony held in the Plaza at Puerto Santiago - a posthumous tribute paid to ex mayor of Santiago del Teide Pancracio Socas García. The event which coincided with the 501st anniversary of the first recorded date of occupation of the village of Santiago del Teide was attended by Adán Martín, Lorenzo Olarte and other regional and municipal dignitaries as well as Don Pancracio's family and personal friend Pedro Rodriguez Zaragoza, Advisor of Agriculture and Fishing to the Government of the Canary Islands. Don Pancracio who served as Mayor from1988 to 2003 was remembered by the unveiling of a sculpture created by the sculptor Dácil Travieso. The monument consists of four figures made in bronze with the image of Pancracio Socas placed at the top and in the center. Around and below him are fashioned three figures- a woman, a man and a boy, representing the close contact that the mayor maintained with his constituents. After the unveiling of the statue to a huge round of applause, speeches were made by the sculptor Dácil Travieso, Juan Damián Gorrín Ramos, the current Mayor, Lorenzo Olarte, ex-President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Miguel Delgado, councilor for Culture in the Cabildo, and Adán Martín, President of the Government of the Canary Islands, who paid tribute to the personality and generosity of Pancracio Socas and said that he is sorely missed in his community. Oliver Socas, Don Pancracio's son and spokesman for the family, thanked all those that had made the statue possible. Lastly the widow of Pancracio, Josefina Plasencia, was presented with a framed copy of an act passed by the local council dated 24 of May of 2003, which declared Pancracio a "Favoured Son" of Santiago del Teide Adán Martín also took this opportunity to announce that Santiago del Teide had been awarded the title of Villa Histórica "Historical Town" by the Government of the Canary Islands.