The Guanche are the people that inhabited the Canary Islands. Tall, robust, blonde to brown haired natives of these islands, these people have a mysterious origin. In Species with Amnesia, Robert Sepehr states that these Guanche people are closely related to the Cro-Magnon and are relics of the lost civilization of Atlantis.
Robert Sepehr draws on the writings of Madame Blavatsky for this claim. Blavatsky, a renowned occultist and self-titled “Spirit Medium” is the founder of Theosophy and had some interesting words on the topic of the Guanche people. Blavatsky’s claim in the book is this,
“IF, then, The Basque and the Cro-Magnon cave-men are of the same race as the Canarese Guanches, it follows that the former are also allied to the aborigines of America……. The Atlantean affinities of these types become patent” (Sepehr [quoting Blavatsky], page 90).
What she is saying is that basically if the Cro-Magnon from Europe are related to the Guanche, that would make them the first people. This would make all three the descendants of the Altanteans. She then goes on to say:
“The Guanches were lineal descendants of the Atlanteans. This fact will account for the great stature evidenced by their old skeletons, as well as by those of their European congeners the Cro-Magnon Paleolithic men” (Sepehr, [quoting Blavatsky], page91).
Madame Blavatsky’s claims all follow a basic formula of A = C because of B. She claims that because the Cro-Magnon Europeans closely resemble the Guanche, then the Guanche must be Atlanteans because the Cro-Magnon were the first people, and the Atlanteans were ALSO the first people, so that must make them Atlanteans too because they look so much like the Cro-Magnon.
Does any of this make sense? Well, let's break it down.
Evidence of what the Guanche looked like can be found in a couple of their own mummies on display in museums on the Canary Islands as well as some of those people who live in and around northern Europe and closely matching the resemblance of the Berber people. Possessing light or blonde hair and light colored eyes, the Guanche people had a very distinctive look about them, one that could be easily matched up with others around the area. These traits however, recessed a bit when the Spanish landed in the Canary Islands and mostly all of the Guanche people mixed with the Spanish, so these traits can still be seen today, just not as a whole race of people. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Gaunche people had a "brown complexion, blue or gray eyes, and blondish hair, and these characteristics still persist in a large number of present inhabitants of the islands, but otherwise they are scarcely distinguishable in appearance or culture from the people of Spain.”
Another proposed aspect of the Guanche relation to the Atlanteans resides in their language. What little is known about the Guanche language suggests it was related to the Berber language of North Africa. Berber is one of several “Afro-Asiatic" languages spoken across North Africa and Arabia.
How did the Guanche get to the Canary Islands? What about Genetics?
Madame Blavatsky makes the claim that the Guanche people, the Basque people, and the Cro-Magnon were all Atlanteans. This is the basis of the claim that Sepehr interprets. This claim, I believe, is right about a few points but wrong about others.
In a 2004 study done by Nicole Maca-Mayer et al. in The European Journal of Human Genetics compares mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) from aboriginal Guanches collected from archaeological sites around the Canary Islands and the mtDNA from modern residents of the islands and concludes that basically that the aboriginal mtDNA makes up around 42%-75% of the modern gene pool.
A later study by Rosa Fregel et al. in BMC Evolutionary Biology analyzed Y-DNA of the Y-Chromosomal Paternal lineages. The Y-chromosomal DNA was extracted from the same aboriginal Guanche samples used in Maca-Meyers study, and was compared to samples from the 17th and 18th century remains that came after the Spanish Conquest, and samples from the present population of the Canaries. “What they found was Berber y-Chromosomal lineages prominent in the indigenous remains, confirming the North West African origin for the Guanches.”
Basically, this DNA testing has found a Berber “origin” per say, in North West Africa. I can now deduce that the most likely origin of the Guanche/Berber people onto the Canary Islands was related to important human movements like the Islamic-Arabic conquest in the 7th and 8th centuries AD, which warranted rapid expansion including the Berbers, that shaped North West Africa after the migratory wave of people from North West Africa, to the Canary Islands.
What can be concluded from this and what conflicts with Blavatsky’s claims is that the Guanche people got to the Canary Islands by way of the migratory wave of people from North Africa sometime after 650-750 A.D, which is the date of the Islamic-Arabic conquest stated above, which long post-dates the supposed sinking of “Atlantis” found in Plato’s writings.
Is Blavatsky Right in Her Claims about Cro-Magnon Atlantean Guanches?
So in conclusion, Sepehr adopts Blavatsky’s claims about the origin of the Guanche people and that they ARE in fact relics of the lost Altantean civilization. But, to me, based off of mtDNA data and language data all relating back to their original roots, there is just no support for that. The Guanche people are related to other residents of North Africa and probably got to the island relatively late in time. Do they look somewhat like Cro-Magnons like Blavatksy stated? Maybe, but that is all she is right about.
I'd also say that these Atlantis claims come from statues that the island of Tenerife has to commemorate its past rulers. Depicting them god-like and sea-dwelling, these statues are often depicted heroic and many holding tridents, begging the question of where did these come from? Did these people really exist?
So, Blavatsky and Sepehr’s claims try to get us to think that this lost city of Atlantis sprung forth this race of people, fair hair and blue eyes, who eventually inhabited the Canary Islands. From the evidence that I have put forth about how they got there, who they are most related to, where they actually got their ideas from, and genetic data its easy to see that Blavatsky and Sepehr’s claims come from nothing more than Pro-Atlantis propaganda of which Blavatsky was very very accustomed to.