10 pieces to see in the Military Historical Museum of the Canary Islands

Together with twelve watercolors by the artist Volha Belevets, the Canarian Military Historical Museum presents some of its most important funds throughout this year. These funds are part of the collections that run through the museum rooms, exterior funds and anniversaries that are commemorated this year.

The first painting dedicated to the month of January is to Spanish West Africa. On January 4, 1969, the delivery of the province of Ifni to the Kingdom of Morocco was signed in Fez.

Watercolors are part of the Calendar of the Almeyda Museum for this year 2019 and you can download it here: CALENDAR MUSEO MILITAR DE CANARIAS 2019.

Next we will share some of the best pieces represented in the calendar along with others that have caught our attention:

1. French projector: Sautter Harle Mangin 90 cm

The watercolor of the month February calendar it enchants us with the French projector: Sautter Harle Mangin of 90 cm. A jewel of European Industrial Heritage. His last destination was the coastal battery “El Bufadero”, located on the Santa Cruz de Tenerife road.

The coastal artillery defenses of the Rada de Santa Cruz and the polvorines of both Geneto and Tabares were equipped with reflectors: San Andrés, Altura and Los Moriscos with reflectors of 120 cm in diameter, the rest of batteries of 90 centimeters.

Night navigation and the risks of intrusion of enemy ships were taken into account by the Artillery Regiment of Costa de Tenerife. A warship could enter the port or approach its coastline on a moonless night and begin a siege of the capital. That is why they began to acquire SAUTTER HARLE MANGIN reflectors. A little known European industrial heritage jewel.


2. Enigma Machine A-1232

During the Spanish Civil War, the Third Reich delivered several “Enigma” machines to the Army; the A-1232 was one of them, and it is the one that is exposed in the Military Historical Museum of the Canary Islands, Almeyda.

Enigma was the name of an electromechanical machine that had a rotary encryption mechanism, which allowed it to be used both to encrypt and decrypt messages. These machines began to be built in 1940 and became operational in the spring.

Watercolor Calendar and Enigma Machine (CHCM CANARIAS)

The A-1232 is one of the 26 located in the Army Headquarters in Madrid.

3. Flags captured to the English

One of these flags is the HMS Emerald, a ship of 36 frigate-type guns that Sir William Rule designed in 1794 for the British Royal Navy. The Admiralty ordered its construction towards the end of May of the same year, and began working on it the following month at the Northfleet shipyard.

Flags displayed in the room July 25 (Photo: MHMCAN)

Its construction was completed on October 12, 1795, joining the fleet of Admiral John Jervis in the Mediterranean. During the contest of the five days of July 1797, this jewel, which today exhibits the Military Historical Museum of the Canary Islands, was captured by one of the most important heroes of the Gesta; First Corporal of the Militia Regiment of Güimar D. Diego Correa Gorbalán.

On the other hand, the Garachico Militia Regiment under the command of Lieutenant Colonel D. Juan Creag, right hand of the General Commander of the Canary Islands, General Antonio Gutiérrez de Otero, was a key piece in the battle.

Today, the EMERALD and Garachico Militia Regiment flags face each other in one of the rooms dedicated to the Gesta on July 25, 1797.

4. Notary where the English signed their surrender

The most important event of the Gesta July 25 In 1797, it was the signing of the capitulation, in Castillo de San Cristóbal, by Rear Admiral Horacio Nelson after his frustrated attack on Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

canary military museum
Notary (Photo: CHCM CANARIAS)

Before them and the table that is also exposed in this museum, was Lieutenant General D. Antonio Gutiérrez de Otero, General Commander of the Canary Islands, with his officers and other characters, and in front of him, Captain Samuel Hood, accompanied of his second, Lieutenant William Webley

canary military museum
Notary in the exhibition (Photo: CHCM CANARIAS)

5. Band of the Grand Cross of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Carlos III belonging to General Leopoldo O'Donnell

The general belonged to a family of Irish origin emigrated to Spain during the Cromwell revolution, son of General José Enrique O'Donnell, Duke of La Bisbal.

Band of the Order of Carlos III of General O'Donnell (Photo: CHCM CANARIAS)

Born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1809 in the current Plaza de la Candelaria, he is a very dear character in the capital. In 1906 with the visit to Santa Cruz de Tenerife of King Alfonso XIII, the monarch himself laid the first stone of what was going to be the monument to his person, although due to lack of funds he did not get to be erected. Currently the Historical Museum has a high volume of visits to the funds dedicated to the general such as:

6. Inkwell used in the Africa campaign, HE. Mr. Duke of Tetouan “General Leopoldo O'Donnell

The certification of the originality of this fund comes at the base of the travel inkwell (Ancien Encrier de Voyage F.C.J. PARIS Breveté), by the Secretary of S.E., the Chief of the Secretariat and its two officers.

canary military museum

7. The handmade “orangery”

It is a peculiar weapon; a 1: 2 scale replica of 6.35 mm caliber made by hand from the Erma submachine gun "Model Coruña 1942 MP 28 II" or better known by the popular name "Naranjero" in reference to the province where Valencia was first manufactured.

Unique copy and made entirely by hand in the Weapons Factory of La Coruña.

8. Letter of Blas de Lezo

The Intermediate Archive of the Center for Military History and Culture of the Canary Islands retains several letters belonging to the correspondence exchange between the Marquis de Torrenueva and Lieutenant General Blas de Lezo, warning about movements and intentions of the English fleet.

You can see the full document here: Letter of Blas de Lezo CHCM Canarias

9. The Arabic Alfanje

Alfanje in the permanent exhibition

The Alfanje was a white weapon widely used by pirates. Being shorter than a saber or sword could be used on ship decks.

Alfanje is a Castilian term that comes from the Hispanic Arabic al-janyar, which means 'the dagger', and designates a broad and curved blade, with a single-sided edge that during the Middle Ages and until the Renaissance was used in the Iberian Peninsula, much of the Mediterranean and especially in Italy.

This infantry officer, spent destined in May 1925 to the Third of Foreigners, in the Riff. A few days later he entered into combat, then participating in numerous operations, although his most risky and outstanding performance materialized on September 12, 1925, taking the key defensive position of Kudia Tahar, located twelve kilometers from Tetouan, and whose garrison was besieged by the rebels of Abd-el-Krim.

Commander García-Escámez at the head of a Flag of the Third constituted one of the columns responsible for releasing the aforementioned position. He accomplished the mission with success and extreme value and once the position was released, he joined the forces that had landed in Alhucemas on September 8, participating in that important war operation that meant the end of the Moroccan War.

He was promoted to lieutenant colonel for war merits in August 1926, and was also rewarded for these facts with the laureate cross of San Fernando, in 1930, which the king imposed on him Alfonso XIII.

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