|The House of the Colonels was for nearly 150 years the residence of the Military Governors of the island of Fuerteventura in the Canaries. In the early eighteenth century that the military power of the island was separated from the civil power by the will of the Spanish Crown: Lords of Fuerteventura, which had these two powers, permanently resident since seventeenth century, at Tenerife where he could live more according to their rank and more comfortably. The Señor de Fuerteventura lost the military power passed into the hands of the Captain General to the orders of the Crown; the Military Governor (Gobernador de las Armas), under command of Captain General, moved to La Oliva in 1708 with his Militia Regiment (Regimiento de Milicias).|
The burden of Coronel became hereditary and life in related families. It was the Sánchez-Dumpiérrez who inaugurated the Military Governor load; then the Cabrera Bethencourt succeeded their 1742-1833; Ginés de Cabrera Bethencourt built the Casa de los Coroneles 1750. The Manrique de Lara-Cabrera, took charge from 1834 until the abolition of this charge in 1859. Last Coronel died in 1870. The Coroneles not played a real military role during the conflict between the Spanish and English crowns during the reign of Felipe V, in both landings that English privateers tried to Fuerteventura, including the Battle of Tamasite in 1740.
The Coroneles conquered - and more of the military - civilian power, appointing the holders of the offices of the Insular Chapter (Cabildo Insular), and economic power by turning into real property owners of a large part of the island, by of endogamous marriages between cousins or uncles and nephews; family eventually owned about a third of the island. The family of Coroneles considerably enriched by levying taxes on the peasants by the export of grain, goats and dye cochineal, and by the use of salt marshes. The island was administered from La Oliva and no one dared to oppose decisions of the Colonel. The people said the Colonel, "After our Lord Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary comes immediately the God of Fuerteventura."
|The House of the Colonels is located southeast of the village of La Oliva, at the end of a street leading to the church Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria.|
The House of the Colonels stands in the middle of a vast plain known as the Colonel Rose (Rosa del Coronel), which is bounded by the Lomo del Pájaro, the Montaña del Frontón, the Montaña de Escanfraga and the Volcano Arena with the village of La Oliva in the north.
At the foot of dry hills south of the village, the Casa de los Coroneles like a Mexican hacienda.
|The Colonels House (Casa de los Coroneles)|
|The sumptuous manor Colonels reflects their power and wealth: it is the largest civil building of the island of Fuerteventura and all the Canary Islands. La Casa de los Coroneles is a plan for building nearly square, 42 meters out.|
In the four corners stood four square and embattled towers, which was a privilege that required a written consent of the sovereign; these towers, which contrast with the residential wings tiled roofs, highlights the ambivalent character of the building, both civilian and military.
A large terrace allow the deployment of soldiers to defend the battlements.
|The front wall has eight yellow wooden balconies remarkable baroque and sixteen windows with carved wooden shutters. The portal stone of dark size rises to the first floor. Above the door are carved in stone coats of arms of the family Cabrera Bethencourt, which include a crown, a tree and a goat. The building has 117 windows, opening to the outside or on the court, but people used to say - bitterly - they had more windows than days in the year (“que tienen más ventanas que días tiene el año”).|
|The mansion has 40 rooms spread over two levels around a large patio. On the ground floor were the kitchen, stables, barns, warehouses, offices and other officials to use military facilities.|
|Residential spaces - with the private quarters of the colonel and his family - and the private chapel were located upstairs with a wooden gallery running around the patio.|
|In front of the facade, north of the building, is the Plaza de Armas (Plaza de Armas) a rectangular area of 75 x 55 meters bounded on the north by the water tank.|
Next to the main building are more rustic and common in ruins.
|The militia regiment of La Oliva was dissolved in 1859 and the last Coronel, Cristóbal Manrique de Lara y Cabrera (1800-1870), lost its load, but the house remained in possession of the family. Thereafter, the last colonel’s daughter, the Marquise María de las Nieves Manrique de Lara y Castillo (1844-1921), widow of the eighth Marquis of Quinta Roja, Diego Ponte del Castillo (1840-1880), occupied the mansion for long periods; For this reason, the House of the Colonels is also known as the Palacio de la Marquesa; recent renovations and alterations are due to his initiative. After the death of the Marquise, the mansion was only occasionally used. During the Francoist state the mansion was used by a military authority.|
Eventually the house was abandoned, undivided ownership in a community of about 300 heirs. It was declared a historic-artistic monument in 1979. After many disputes among heirs, the Canaries government said the acquisition of the Casa de los Coroneles in 1994. After many years of extensive restoration, the manor was re-opened on 26 November 2006 by the King of Spain Juan Carlos I and Queen Sophia of Greece.
|Since its restoration the House of the Colonels houses temporary art exhibitions and cultural events, as well as a collection of objects relating to the history of the island.|
Visit the Casa de los Coroneles :
Address: Calle Los Coroneles 28.
Phone: 00 34 928 868 280
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 18 pm.
Admission fee: € 3.
Site on the Web: www.lacasadeloscoroneles.org