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Church of Santa Ursula
Church of Santa Ursula

Adeje

In pre-Hispanic times, one of the kingdoms that made up the former organisation of Tenerife was the Kingdom of Adeje. Pelinor, the Mencey, or King, was faithful to the first Governor of the Canary Islands. Castilian conqueror, Alonso Fernández de Lugo granted him a title and had him baptised with the name of Diego. The lands he was given included some in his former kingdom.

His authority was replaced by the authority of the King. Although power was delegated to the Marquises of Adeje, since the 17th century, they became the real owners of these lands. They had economic wealth (land, water and a sugar mill) and they were responsible for all administration of the area. The Pontes, under the Marquis, where also Counts de la Gomera and Lords of part of the island of El Hierro. They received authorisation on the 2nd of May, 1555, to build a fortified house, although they did not receive permission to turn Adeje into their own feudal manor until 1655.

The single nave church of Santa Ursula was started in the early 16th century. This was finally extended into the present church. The Franciscans founded a convent in the 17th century, that housed up to 20 clergy. This was a college of higher education.

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