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La Matanza de Acentejo

In 1496, Lugo's troops were advancing up the Acentejo ravine. They had disembarked in Añaza the year before, after conquering La Palma. Bencomo, the Guanche chief, had summonsed all the Guanche leaders of the Island to a meeting in Araotava, in an attempt to stop the invaders. The chiefs of Tacoronte, Tegueste, Anaga and Zebenzui all put themselves under his command. Bencomo decided to send his brother Tinguaro to meet the foreign troops.

The two armies met in a place called Acentejo. Many reports of this bloody battle have survived. Many died on both sides, giving rise to the name of the place (Matanza de Acentejo means the Acentejo Slaughter) and signifying a major defeat for the conquerors.

After the conquest, a settlement started to grow up around the church of El Salvador, promoted to parish church in 1615 by Bishop Antonio Carrionero. There used to be a Franciscan Hospice, with three friars, but this was closed by royal decree in the 17th century.

Several other churches were built: San Antonio, near the site of the battle, San Diego nearer the coast, and the church of La Cruz del Camino.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the town was awarded the title of "Villa Historica" (Historic Town), as it is the birthplace of several famous people, such as Lieutenant General Antonio Benavides, born in December 1678, who undertook many important military missions in the Americas.

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La Matanza de Acentejo
La Matanza de Acentejo