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History - Inés Peraza de las Casas (1424-1503)
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Diario:

Inés Peraza de las Casas (1424-1503), also known as the Lady of the Canary Islands, was the last owner of the great lordship of the entire Canary Islands, when Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, El Hierro and La Gomera were already conquered, something that did not happen with La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria, although her rights did belong to her. As a second daughter, Inés Peraza was not going to be the heiress, but, after the death of her father and brother, she became the head of the lineage and not only tried to conquer the rest of the islands, but had to face pressures from powerful enemies of the European nobility and internal problems of all kinds.
Married to Diego García de Herrera y Ayala (Seville, 1417 - Fuerteventura, 1485), Inés Peraza was a woman of character and power in an era of strong male dominance of the public scene. An especially key figure for Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, where he lived, but of which not much information has been achieved so far. To understand this lack, we must remember that knowledge of the past of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura faces a very high obstacle due to the loss of historical documentation that would be key to better understand the future of these islands. This problem with the sources of information, inescapable pieces of the historical puzzle, becomes more and more acute as we enter its most remote past, being the long phase of the first settlers of the Canary Islands, together with the centuries immediate to the European conquest, the stages with more gaps.
After the definitive installation of Normans and Castilians from 1402 in Lanzarote and 1404 in Fuerteventura, there were no quiet centuries, but the islands were, among other aspects, the terrain of pyratic attacks that caused the destruction of important notarial, ecclesiastical and council texts, while there were serious losses, such as that of the marquisate archive. In addition, a large part of the documents that have survived are in archives located outside Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, or the Canary Islands. To alleviate these deficits, historians and archaeologists investigate and disseminate new pieces not previously treated and thanks to that we get advances, such as a book that will be presented this coming June and that is entitled Inés Peraza, Lady of the Canary Islands, signed by Víctor M. Bello Jiménez and Enrique Pérez Herrero.
One of the strengths of this publication is that it has started from the visit of the authors to outstanding documentary collections such as those of the Provincial Historical Archive of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the Diocesan Archive of La Laguna, the Provincial Historical Archive of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Canary Museum, the Acialcázar Archive, the Ducal Archive of Medina Sidonia, the Provincial Historical Archive of Seville, the Municipal Archive of Seville, the Archive of the Archbishopric of Seville, the General Archive of the Indies, the National Historical Archive and the General Archive of Simancas.

Lords and kings
To understand Inés Peraza you have to locate yourself in the late medieval world, with its complex socio-political structure, halfway between the Middle Ages and the Modern. The power struggles within the aristocracy were combined with the acquisition of more land, something that could only be achieved through the conquest of new territories (that was one of the causes of the arrival of Europeans in the Canary Islands) or by the fusion of lineages through marriages between their heirs, as happened with the great movement of that century with the marriage in 1469 of Isabel I of Castile with Ferdinand II of Aragon, the Catholic Monarchs, who, in a way, can be considered the germ of the future kingdom of Spain.
The Canary Islands, or rather Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and El Hierro, were conquered in the first decades of the fifteenth century with the permission of the Castilian crown, although their rights passed through various hands, through inheritances and changes, until they reached the family of the Houses, an outstanding dynasty of Seville, a city of great commercial and naval power at that time. Inés de las Casas, mother of Ines Peraza, inherited part of the lordship of the Canary Islands from Juan de las Casas, while most of it remained in the hands of another relative, Guillén de las Casas.
Quote:Peraza was a woman of power in an era of strong male dominance
At that time, the lords were like "representatives of the Crown through the application of the general laws of the kingdom." Although the monarch reserved certain important prerogatives, the lords had powerful powers: such as designating public offices, owning the land, receiving a fifth of the export products and exploiting "the pastures or by the monopolies", as happened during this stage with the coveted orchilla. In return, the lords had to defend those territories and invest in them, which made the Canary Islands a large and desired lordship, but difficult to manage.
Inés de las Casas married Fernán Peraza, also from a Sevillian family with interests in the Canary Islands, which reveals, again, "the importance of marriage unions in the society of the time to achieve common goals". As a result of this marriage, in 1424 she was born in Seville, as the second daughter of the marriage, Inés Peraza de las Casas. In 1445 she married Diego García de Herrera, from another prominent Sevillian lineage. Fate brought several surprises to Inés Peraza. The same year of his wedding, 1445, Guillén de las Casas transferred, through other Sevillian lands, his rights over the Canary Islands to Fernán Peraza, father of Inés, but with little time of difference his brother, Guillén, died both during a battle in La Palma (giving rise to the famous endechas of Guillén Peraza, foundational piece of Canarian literature), and then his own father, Fernán Peraza. Orphaned and without a brother, Inés Peraza, together with her husband, Diego García de Herrera, became the Lady of the Canary Islands with less than 30 years, facing multiple challenges.
Problems and divisions

Inés Peraza de las Casas and her husband, Diego García Herrera, had to face diverse and powerful opponents that made it difficult to control their Atlantic island territories. To begin with, we must not forget that several islands lacked basic natural resources, especially Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, while ocean navigation was still not an easy and dominated field in the fifteenth century. The Herrera-Peraza couple was the first of the lords of the islands to settle in the Canary Islands in 1455, alternating with stays in Andalusia, where they had important properties, and with trips to the court, to defend their interests.

From the beginning, the Herrera-Peraza had to placate internal problems, which gave rise both to the uprisings of the inhabitants of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, and to various anti-seigneurial movements by their vassals.

Quote:Her husband, Diego García de Herrera y Ayala, died in Fuerteventura in 1485.

On the other hand, several European crowns did not hide their desire for the Canary Islands, highlighting the Portuguese, with the Infante Don Enrique, better known as Enrique the Navigator, at the head, who even managed to dominate some island temporarily (Lanzarote and La Gomera). With Inés already as a great figure of the lordship, the Portuguese also showed interest in taking over the islands of their property, but that had not yet been conquered: La Palma, Gran Canaria and Tenerife. There resided another of the great battlefields faced by the Peraza de las Casas family, the domain of the primitive settlers of the unconquered islands, where very large groups of aborigines resided (there are estimates that raise the figure to several tens of thousands in Tenerife and Gran Canaria).
Although they had technological superiority, the Herrera-Peraza did not have an army so powerful as to take over those islands and they did not achieve the desired success through the tactic of trying to reach agreements with those local communities. In addition, the appearance of the Catholic Monarchs and their position of strength forced inés Peraza to negotiate, who finally sold her rights over La Palma, Gran Canaria and Tenerife to the monarchs Isabel and Fernando in 1477. This first great division of the lordship of the Canary Islands was key in the history of the Archipelago, since it meant that centuries of great differences followed between the islands of realengo (La Palma, Gran Canaria and Tenerife) and those of lordship (Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Gomera and El Hierro), which suffered a greater tax burden and a stricter and more outdated system of government.

Problems and divisions

Inés Peraza de las Casas and her husband, Diego García Herrera, had to face diverse and powerful opponents that made it difficult to control their Atlantic island territories. To begin with, we must not forget that several islands lacked basic natural resources, especially Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, while ocean navigation was still not an easy and dominated field in the fifteenth century. The Herrera-Peraza couple was the first of the lords of the islands to settle in the Canary Islands in 1455, alternating with stays in Andalusia, where they had important properties, and with trips to the court, to defend their interests.

From the beginning, the Herrera-Peraza had to placate internal problems, which gave rise both to the uprisings of the inhabitants of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, and to various anti-seigneurial movements by their vassals.

Quote:Her husband, Diego García de Herrera y Ayala, died in Fuerteventura in 1485.

On the other hand, several European crowns did not hide their desire for the Canary Islands, highlighting the Portuguese, with the Infante Don Enrique, better known as Enrique the Navigator, at the head, who even managed to dominate some island temporarily (Lanzarote and La Gomera). With Inés already as a great figure of the lordship, the Portuguese also showed interest in taking over the islands of their property, but that had not yet been conquered: La Palma, Gran Canaria and Tenerife. There resided another of the great battlefields faced by the Peraza de las Casas family, the domain of the primitive settlers of the unconquered islands, where very large groups of aborigines resided (there are estimates that raise the figure to several tens of thousands in Tenerife and Gran Canaria).
Although they had technological superiority, the Herrera-Peraza did not have an army so powerful as to take over those islands and they did not achieve the desired success through the tactic of trying to reach agreements with those local communities. In addition, the appearance of the Catholic Monarchs and their position of strength forced inés Peraza to negotiate, who finally sold her rights over La Palma, Gran Canaria and Tenerife to the monarchs Isabel and Fernando in 1477. This first great division of the lordship of the Canary Islands was key in the history of the Archipelago, since it meant that centuries of great differences followed between the islands of realengo (La Palma, Gran Canaria and Tenerife) and those of lordship (Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Gomera and El Hierro), which suffered a greater tax burden and a stricter and more outdated system of government.

Woman of character

The profile that Inés Peraza de las Casas showed during her life alludes to a woman of strong character who assumed the role that she had to defend the interests of her lineage after the death of her father and brother. He always kept his father's surname first and tried to follow his dream, even though the Atlantic lordship revealed that it did not give great rents and that the unconquered islands were impossible to control.

Although Diego García de Herrera was key, especially in the frequent military expeditions, Inés Peraza did not take refuge in her husband, in fact, many times she had to make hard and severe decisions being alone, because her husband was in the Canary Islands or in the Peninsula, during the continuous trips that the marriage had to take to maintain their territories.

Diego García de Herrera died in 1485, the date on which the problems of marriage with his heirs had already begun and which were aggravated with Inés Peraza already a widow. Their eldest son, Pedro, to whom El Hierro had been donated, turned against them, litigating against his parents. On the other hand, relations were good with his second son, Fernán Peraza II, who had married Beatriz de Bobadilla, by imposition of Queen Isabella the Catholic. But again, fate turned awry for Inés Peraza, who, after losing her father and brother, again suffered the murder of a close relative, her son Fernán Peraza II, in the Canary Islands.
Following the path of her life, in which she always defended her businesses and properties with determination, the last years of Inés Peraza were marked by lawsuits to prevent Beatriz de Bobadilla from keeping land bequeathed to her son, trying to benefit her other sons and daughters. The lordship suffered new divisions between the western and eastern parts, while the conflicts between his heirs lasted beyond his death, almost 80 years old, in 1503. His complicated will was subject to more legal discussions, so that his will also marked part of the sixteenth century in several Canary Islands.

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