The first craftspeople

Origins

Gran Canaria’s first settlers came from North Africa. They arrived on the island intending to colonise it, bringing domestic animals, seeds and plant cuttings. It was probably a small, but sufficiently large, population group, with its own cultural baggage of clear Amazigh (Berber) origin. The dates currently estimated for their arrival range from around 2500 BP (Before Present) to the 2nd or 3rd centuries of the present era. We don’t know the reasons for the initial colonisation. Some hypotheses associate it with protohistoric contacts from the Mediterranean, or with the Roman Empire using the Islands for a trading settlement to take advantage of their resources, or as a place of exile for tribes from North Africa. Known as the Canarii, the population was most likely isolated for around a thousand years and developed its own culture adapted to the island context of Gran Canaria, based on its origins in North Africa.

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