Light to the first coin minted for the entire Canary Islands

Santiago Medina Gil poses with a copy of 'Canarias. Coins and stamps. Centuries XIV-XVIII', in the headquarters of CANARIAS7. / ARCADIO SUAREZ

Santiago Medina identifies this numismatic landmark that appears in the book that he presents this Thursday in the Cueva Pintada de Gáldar

Victoriano Suarez Alamo

The four that the Museum and Archaeological Park of the Cueva Pintada de Gáldar has in its collections were poorly cataloged and were thought to be
“false pieces of half a real”. This was also believed by the Gran Canarian Santiago Medina Gil with those that he himself treasured in his house. But
26 long years of research have allowed him to provide light in the dark to affirm that they are several copies of the
first coin minted for the entire Canary archipelagothe result of a royal concession to the Cabildo Real de Las Palmas, dated May 1513.

"This is something unprecedented," explains Santiago Medina, who
This Thursday, starting at 7:00 p.m., he presents at the Cueva Pintada, the book 'Canaries. Coins and stamps. Centuries XIV-XVIII' (ImprimeLibes SL, Madrid). They accompany you in the act
Maria del Cristo Gonzalez MarreroPhD in History from the University of La Laguna and professor of Medieval History at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and
Jesus Manuel Lorenzo Arrochauniversity diploma in Labor Relations and in Genealogy, Heraldry and Nobility.


“There are previous licenses to mint coins on the islands,
from the early days of the Conquest. But there is no numismatic evidence. In any case, they were local broadcasts, but this is the first for all the islands. And it was the only one, although there was another project from 1759, by Machado Fiesco”, says the author of the book and responsible for this numismatic milestone.

He admits that since he has "use of reason" he has been passionate about coins. «I remember going with my father to the Pueblo Canario as a child, with
just 9 years old, because he was going to listen to the folk performances. There were some philately and numismatic stalls, where I began to mess around and discover a world that seemed interesting to me.
I have always liked history», he recalls.

major attraction

«Contrary to the numismatic canon that speaks of going for the best piece, I
I went for the ones that were more knackered. They attracted me, I don't know why. It is also true that they were the cheapest and my resources were not many. Also, always
I was attracted to the stampswhich are coins to which a mark was applied, to raise or lower their value, or they were foreign coins that thus became their own, "he points out.

«I have grown up with a mass of unclassifiable coins, authentic pieces of history.
Over time, I got deeper and I saw that I had great challenges before me, many enigmas. Now I no longer have hypotheses, but evidence, after crossing the documentary sources with the preserved coins », he points out.

It was key in his investigation «
some files from the fifteenth centuryI, where they talked about the maraverí of the Canary Islands». It was believed to be "a
bills currencywhich was not physical, which was used for transactions”, similar to the current million euros, which is not minted but is used as a unit of accounts.

Santiago Medina Gil with a copy of his book during the interview. /

arcadio suarez

key details

«I kept pulling the thread and in a book published in the 80s there was talk about the pragmatics and the orders of the Kings and the Canarian records were included. No one had realized that
in May 1513 appeared the
granting of the license to the Cabildo Real de Las Palmas to mint three million maraveríes, at the request of Gran Canaria and for them to circulate throughout the islands. In principle, a quarter of a
maraveri, half maraverí and maraverí. The best thing is that the part is also described. On one side it would carry the ace of saetas typical of the Catholic Monarchs and on the other the yoke that identified Fernando », he points out.

The license act also mentioned that they would be minted in
fleece. This mixture of silver and copper is the one detected in the spectrometry carried out at the four that the Museo de la Cueva Pintada has, for example.

During his investigations,
Santiago Medina he also located a petition from the year 1579 in which "a license to mint coins was requested and argued that the situation was identical to that of 1513".

One of the coins identified on a map of the Canary Islands from the early 17th century. /

arcadio suarez

"The Canary Islands always had
shortage of coins, for a thousand reasons. All humble coins have marks and since there were no fractions, they were divided into two and even four pieces. Those are the ones
to pamper and rescue, because they are the ones that we know are unequivocally Canarian”, he emphasizes. Medina Gil.

The first rock

Santiago Medina Gil believes that the book presented in Gáldar and the web page that complements it are the foundations on which
will develop numismatics on the islands.

"The book is dynamic. It was finished in December and went to press in January” and since then new coins have been discovered on the islands that shed light on the past. «
In a few years the book will have to be enriched, because the investigations do not end here. Numismatics, as an auxiliary science, is almost in its infancy in the Canary Islands.
The speculations are over. It is a matter of continuing to investigate, because we have documentary sources that cannot be contrasted with numismatic evidence, and the opposite also happens », he acknowledges.

“It is an exciting subject and
surprises won't stop coming. There are several hypotheses that are about to come together, ”advances without going into more details who calls for the start-up of a numismatic cabinet in the Canary Islands.

"The coins
they belong to everyone and they have to be exposed to be enjoyed”, he defends.

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