Nowadays, the most accepted theory about the origin of the ancient inhabitants of the island is that they were the descendants from the Berber villages in the northeast of Africa.
La Gomera, known from ancient times and mentioned in texts from the first century A.C., dates back to the beginning of modern history with the Castilian Conquest since the end of the fourteenth century and during the fifteenth century.
When the conquest began, the aborigines divided the island in 4 cantons or kingdoms. The territory where Vallehermoso is located today is placed in the cantons of Agana and Orone. These were tribal villages that practiced the extensive livestock, the gathering and use of forest and coastal resources. From that period, the inhabitants from La Gomera still preserve customs such as the extraction of “guarapo” or sap from the palm tree as well as the “silbo gomero” which has been declared cultural heritage by the UNESCO.
The conquest of the island dates back to the year 1405. The first contacts of the colonizers in Vallehermoso are quoted in the year 1414, in the western area of the modern municipality but there is not a first steady and relative period of peace until 1445.
During the sixteenth century the first important economic activity in the modern Vallehermoso appears, that is the crop of the sugar cane. For that reason there are four large “ingenios” (exploitations) in the northeast side of the island.
This activity that lasted until the eighteenth century was the reason for the settlement of the population and a later important growing. Thereof, Vallehermoso became the economic engine of the island. The northeastern basin suffered from great social and environmental changes due to the agricultural and livestock activity, great surfaces of forest in the midlands were cut down.
Vallehermoso is established as a parish in 1678 and in the eighteenth century this was the area with the larger number of population in the island thanks to a relatively strong economy that results from the exportation of products. Important buildings appeared in the modern centre of the municipality. Rather high houses and with an architecture that, nowadays, is considered traditional and stately. Buildings made of stone with roofs covered with tiles as well as a great use of the wood in structures and façades.
The main characteristics that define the domestic architecture in la Gomera are the integration in the environment and its functionality. The shortage of the soil suitable for building, the water, the weather conditions, the orography of the island and the ownership of the land determined the location and distribution of the villages. Most of them […]