Saturday, July 2, 2022

Canary Islands Descendant

For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of living on a tropical island. It's my happy place. Now I think I know why. It's in my DNA. I have 2 branches of my paternal family tree who were from the Canary Islands. My 8th great-grandfather, Juan Lujan was born in the Canary Islands in 1573 and another 8th great-grandfather, Miguel Fajardo was born in the Canary Islands in 1591. 

I now belong to a group on Facebook called "Canary Islands Descendants Association-San Antonio." A photo of this historical marker was posted yesterday because on July 2, 1731, the original 16 families began to lay out a village in San Antonio de Bexar.

Canary Islanders Historical Marker
San Antonio, Texas

In 1971 this historical marker was placed in Main Plaza in San Antonio. My history is so very different than the history I have celebrated my entire life. 

The Founders Monument
In front of the historic Bexar County Courthouse

On March 9, 2019. Bexar County, in partnership with the Canary Islands Descendants Association, unveiled the Founders Monument outside of the Historic Bexar County Courthouse. T
his commemorative project, by artist Armando Hinojosa, consists of five pieces. There is one Female and one male Canary Islander, one Native American, one Spanish friar, and one presidio soldier - representing the founders of our community.The Canary Islander on the right leaning on a cain is modeled after a distant cousin of mine named Paul Garcia.

Paul Garcia with statue modeled after him

The figures in the monument, created by Laredo artist Armando Hinojosa, represent the four founding communities of San Antonio - American Indians, Canary Islanders, Franciscan friars and Presidio soldiers. As early as 1691, Spanish explorers recorded insightful information on various American Indian tribes in the area, whom the Spanish collectively referred to as the Coahuiltecans. Later tribes included the Lipan Apaches, the Tonkawa, and the Comanches. Colonial settlement began in 1718, with the establishment of the Presidio San Antonio de Béxar and the Mission San Antonio de Valero (now called The Alamo).

In 1731, Spanish immigrants from the Canary Islands, (Spain) settled in the area and formed the first organized civil government in Texas, founding the village of San Fernando de Bexar adjacent to the presidio. The mission, presidio and villa communities worked hard to maintain their individual identities but eventually began the process of working together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Through marriage and business ventures, the soldiers, mission natives and Canary Islanders joined together to form a solid foundation that would persevere through many tests and conflicts.

The monument located in front of the historic Bexar County Courthouse in the heart of San Antonio. This area is commonly referred to as Main Plaza but for hundreds of years it was known as Plaza de las Islas Canarias.

It just so happens that my cousin, Michael Padilla is in the Canary Islands and posted amazing photos yesterday. Happy Canary Islander Day!


  1. Thank you so much for posting this.

  2. Paul Casanova GarciaApril 30, 2023 at 12:52 PM

    Thank you so much for posting this, Juan Leal Goraz was the leader of those Canary Islanders to San Antonio who arrived on March 9, 1731, I have been active with the Canary Islands Descendants Ass. Since 1999, when the monument committee asked if I would model for the Canary Islands male, I was so honored. Every year since then, we gather at the monument and hand out the CIDA scholarships to deserving students before proceeding across the street to the San Fernando Cathedral for a mass and luncheon on the anniversary of the arrival of those 16 families. We also fave a webpage