Known since ancient times, and mentioned by classical authors such as Ptolemy (90-168), the island’s modern history begins with its conquest, which started during the Spanish expedition, around 1404-1405. Thus, the island had already been visited during the twelfth century, by an expedition sent by Benigno Alfonso of Aragon.
Since 1445, the manor of La Gomera began to be governed by several generations of a family line that began with the first Peraza, named Hernan. His son, Hernán Peraza the Younger, was known for his tyrannical manners and the bad treatment he gave to the Islanders. This situation was the reason of several uprisings. He died violently in the cave of Guahedum. The historian Viera y Clavijo (1731-1831) wrote about this period of history that the Aborigines of La Gomera were those who “without throwing a dart made Juan de Bethencourt surrender, being their conquest more expensive, more difficult their obedience and bloodier their submission.”
One of the most controversial personalities in the history of La Gomera, was the wife of Hernán Peraza the Younger, Beatriz de Bobadilla. After the death of her husband, at the hands of the rebelled Aborigines, She suppressed the revolt with extreme cruelty, with the help of the conqueror of Gran Canaria, Pedro de Vera. She later married Alonso Fernández de Lugo, another key figure in the conquest of the Canaries, and her figure has also been linked to that of Christopher Columbus. She received him during his visits to the Island. Beatriz de Bobadilla died in the Courts of Madrid, in 1504.
The natives of La Gomera were big strong men, agile, warriors, with little care on dressing, and idolaters. Among the islanders there were men of great valor and strength, such as Igalan, Aguahanahizan, Agualercher, Hauche, Amuhaici, Aguacoromos, and, having died in war, their names remained on the memory of his descendants, being considered as honorable people, worth imitation and celebration. ” Leonardo Torriani (1560-1628).
Fernando de Amalahuigue: After the death of Amalahuigue, king of La Gomera during the late fourteenth century, the island was divided into four boundaries: Agana, Orone, Mulagua and Ipalán. The legacy’s agreement was made by all the parties, through pacts and alliances. After certain reports that suggest Amalahuigue rejected an European incursion in 1384, it is said that he was baptized with name the name of Ferdinand and was in favor of an early process of evangelization, that eventually ocurred.
In 1492, the Bay of San Sebastián de La Gomera, became last point of scale towards a great gesture that changed the course of history, the discovery of a new continent. The rooms of Columbus preceded other illustrious navigators as Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro or Vasco Núñez de Balboa.
During the sixteenth century, La Gomera came under attack by British and Dutch pirates, although the worst pirate raid suffered by the Islanders was that of the Berbers in 1618, which swept the island. La Torre del Conde (The Earl’s Tower), designed as an indoors defense was not enough to avoid them.
La Gomera is well known for its steep and rugged land. The difficult conditions of life that the people of the Island has endure, has in many times forced them to seek a better life in American territories. This reality is described in the epic story of the Telemachus, the most legendary example. The sailboat Telemachus, 27 meters long and designed for the coasting trade between the islands, sailed from Valle Gran Rey on the 10th of August 1950, to Venezuela, with 170 men and a woman. By then, secrecy was the most helpful method for these trips. Two terrible storms, water and food shortages, and even a mutiny was part of this journey that ended 43 days later in Venezuelan territory.
The island economy allowed the population to be of some importance in number, stable from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, when the production of cochineal allowed a moderate growth. The introduction of new irrigated crops, such as the tomatoes first, then the bananas, occasioned an economic recovery from 1900 that would result in the primary stage of population growth in the history of La Gomera.