The city that embraced the Republic


Exhibition on the Second Republic in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

An unpublished painting by Rafael Guerra del Río, a native of the capital of Gran Canaria and a member of the Radical Republican Party, presides over the exhibition This is how the Second Republic was received in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. A sample that will remain in the Town Hall until April 24. Old photographs and documents kept by the Provincial Historical Archive make up this short tour of the city that embraced the Republic just today 90 years ago.

“The idea is to glimpse what the city was like at the time,” he explains. Juan Jose Laforet, official chronicler of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. A way to “contextualize”, he says, the cycle of conferences that the Capital City Council has programmed throughout the week in the main courtyard of the Town Hall on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the proclamation of the Second Republic. In addition, in front of the noble building in the Plaza de Santa Ana, the Town Hall has organized another exhibition; Under the name The Republic has a woman’s name, it aims to enhance the role of women during the democratic regime that reigned in Spain between 1931 and 1939.

At first, the portrait of Rafael Guerra del Rio It was destined for the offices of the Island Council, but since the 1930s it has really been guarded by the family of the Republican lawyer and politician; a work that has been temporarily transferred to the City Council, says Adrián Santana, historian. On the left he is guarded by a photograph of his brother, Domingo Guerra del Río, the first mayor of the capital during the Second Republic, although he remained in office for just a month, as he died suddenly on May 31. Right is the portrait of Nicolás Díaz Saavedra, who would succeed the deceased until 1932.

“Rafael Guerra del Río and Bernardino Valle were in charge of proclaiming the Republic in the city”, highlights Laforet. After receiving confirmation of the change of government by telegram, the first of this duo of politicians went to the Plaza de Santa Ana with the intention of appointing the members of the new City Council. The minute book of that constituent session is exhibited in the exhibition and has been provided by the Secretary General of the Plenary.

A document, the latter, which shows the appointment of the new mayor, Republican Domingo Guerra del Río, and his nine deputy mayors, all from the Republican Socialist coalition. In addition, they approved to modify the name of two squares in the city: Santa Ana would be called “de la República”, and San Bernardo “de Pablo Iglesias”.

The sample also has copies of the three main newspapers of the time: LA PROVINCIA, The Liberal Y The country -Don’t confuse the latter with the current Madrid headend-. “There were other newspapers at the time, of a partisan nature especially, but these were the main ones, where most of the people were informed of the arrival of the new regime,” says Laforet. And it is that the three newspapers are exposed by the chronicle of that April 14. In addition, the public can see on one of the pages the results of the municipal elections of April 12, 1931, where the monarchists won in almost all the districts of the capital, with the exception of La Isleta and Santa Catalina, where the Republican Socialists did.

The full constituent of the City Council renamed Santa Ana as Plaza de la Libertad


A series of photographs complete the exhibition. On the one hand, the populous beach of Las Canteras, next to it, an image of the old Campo España, a rudimentary soccer field where Guerra del Río delivered that memorable rally in 1931, says Laforet. They also exhibit an image of a school in La Isleta, “to highlight the desire to build schools in the Republic,” says Adrián Santana; and a photo of the in-laws at the doors of the Casa del Pueblo in this same port neighborhood, with the deputy Franchy Roca at the helm.

The Plaza de Santa Ana has also been dressed for the occasion and has an exhibition of 10 panels on the role of women in the Republic. An exhibition that highlights figures such as those of Clara Campoamor, Federica Monteseny or Blanca Ascanio Moreno. The latter, a native of Vallehermoso, was known as “the red teacher of La Gomera”; A teacher in her town and a trade unionist, she spread the culture, specially educated the workers, and participated in the 1937 uprising against General Franco in Vallehermoso. She was sentenced to death and after being pardoned, she went into exile in Venezuela.


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