Historical figures of Fuerteventura: Guise and Ayose

Escultura a Guise y Ayose

Today, we start a new section on the FuerteventurActiva blog. In it we will talk about the lives of relevant people, who were born in Fuerteventura, and who, for various reasons, have left their mark on the collective memory of the Majoreros. 

The first in this section will be Guise and Ayose.

Who were Guise and Ayose? 

Guise and Ayose, almost inseparable names, have great relevance in the history of Fuerteventura. They were the last Mahos aboriginal tribal chiefs, and those in charge of the Majorero people paying homage to the Franco-Norman conquerors, Gadifer de la Salle and Jean de Béthencourt. 

Let’s remember that Fuerteventura began to be conquered by the Europeans in 1402. At that time the island was divided into two territorial demarcations, plus a communal reserve area (Jandía). One of the territorial demarcations was governed by Guise, while in the other it was Ayose who ruled. 

In many writings we find that these two territories are called “kingdoms”, and their rulers: kings. However, experts in the field prefer to speak of regions or territorial demarcations, and of tribal chiefs.

Escultura a Guise y Ayose
Escultura a Guise y Ayose

Guise – Guize 

The region governed by Guise occupied much of the north of the island. It went from Corralejo to the Barranco de la Torre, on the east side, and from Corralejo to the Jurado beach on the west coast. It is not known with certainty where the dividing line of the demarcations was in the central zone. What is currently Triquivijate, Antigua, Betancuria, etc, is the place where it is known that there was, in pre-Hispanic times, a wall. As the only witness to this limit, the name of the village of “Diviso” has remained in the toponymy of the island. 

On January 18, 1405, just over two and a half years after starting the conquest of Fuerteventura, Guise surrendered to Jean de Béthencourt. That same day he was baptized with the name of Luis. He was given housing and 400 acres of land.

Ayose – Aioze – Aioçe 

The Ayose fiefdom extended from the Barranco de la Torre to the Wall of Jandía, running through both sides of the island. 

On January 25, 1405 Ayose surrendered to the conquerors. He was baptized under the name Alfonso. 

Like Guise, Ayose was given 400 acres of land for cultivation and housing.

Playa del Jurado
Playa del Jurado

What were Guise and Ayose like? 

There is little historical data on the physiognomy of these two characters. It is only known that they were brave, strong and muscular in complexion. They could have a high average height for the time, of something more than 1.70 meters. There is also no documentary record of where they lived, or where they were buried.

What was the relationship between Guise and Ayose like before the conquest? 

The relationship between the inhabitants of both regions could be said that it was not very cordial. There were struggles caused by the theft of cattle and pastures. They even built small fortresses that had the function of controlling and guarding the territory. 

The territory closest to the Torre ravine, just by the boundary of the demarcations, is where there was the highest index of pre-Hispanic settlements. This not only responds to being a fertile area, but to the possibility of making incursions into the neighboring territory.

Fortaleza aborigen
Fortaleza aborigen

What happened to the Guise and Ayose territories? 

After the conquest and colonization, the island became part of the crown of Castile. However, the limits of the Guise and Ayose regions remained in force, almost unchanged, until well into the 19th century. 

Both the election of all types of public rulers, as well as the brands and fittings that were made to the animals, were governed by the old limits. 

These are some edicts from the 16th century, which appear in the Old Protocols of Fuerteventura.

Casa aborigen en la comarca de Guise
Casa aborigen en la comarca de Guise

“They named Diego de Vera in Ayose, and Blas Sánchez Cerdeña in Guise for the hides that are taken from the island.” 

“For the election of deputy councilors, they indicated Francisco Pérez Senabria on the side of Guise (…) and on the part of Ayose Lucas Gutiérrez, (…)” 

The registers and communal norms of the residents of Fuerteventura were also dictated according to the vernacular regions of Guise and Ayose. Let’s look at a couple of examples from the early 17th century

 “They ordered that on the 8th, all the residents of La Oliva, Matilla, Malpaisejo, Costilla and the rest of Guise, clean the Esquinzo fountain, a penalty of 4 reales.” 

“They agreed that on Friday 30 all the residents of the Ayose part who had their cattle on hand, have it in custody so that it does not damage the crops, (…)” 

Since the boundary between the two regions of Guise and Ayose was imprecise, especially in the central part of the island, a new area was introduced in the middle of the 18th century: that of Medianías.

What is known of the descendants of Guise or Ayose? 

Mirador de Guise y Ayose
Mirador de Guise y Ayose

Both Guise and Ayose were able to live actively helping Europeans, along with the other aborigines of the island, to forge the foundations of today’s Fuerteventura. They had descendants and their lineages were perpetuated for a long time. 

The direct descendants of Guise and Ayose were considered noble, and therefore, worthy of holding public office. 

It has only transcended, to history, that a daughter of one of the two aboriginal rulers (we do not know which one, nor her name) married the Frenchman Jean d’Emilian, starting the branch of the Melián de Fuerteventura. Noble aboriginal blood also runs through the Enríquez de Fuerteventura, through Justa Enríquez Melián, great-granddaughter of one of the two Mahos rulers.

 

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