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The Cat in the Hat
Lanzarote, Canary Islands

UTSA hosts annual Canary Islands symposium

By Adi Pavlovic
Student Writer, College of Liberal and Fine Arts

(March 1, 2006)--UTSA will host "The International Symposium of the Canary Islands" 7:45 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, March 4 at the Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (1.328), Downtown Campus, to celebrate the 275th anniversary of the founding of municipal governments in San Antonio by Canary Islanders.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is 7:45 a.m. with the program at 8:15 a.m. Simultaneous translation equipment will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The symposium will include more than 20 speakers including representatives of UTSA and San Antonio, academicians from Mexico and representatives of the governments of Spain and the Canary Islands.

Parking will be available on the upper level of the UTSA Downtown Campus garage and at the UTSA Cattleman's Square lot.

Local presenters will include Isabel de Pedro Marin, honorary consul of Spain in San Antonio; Felix D. Almaraz Jr., UTSA professor of history; and Francisco Marcos Marin, UTSA professor of modern languages and literatures.

Other speakers at the event include D. Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, minister of justice for the government of Spain; Maria del Mar Julios, vice president of the Canary government; Carlos Westendorp y Cabeza, ambassador of Spain in the United States; D. Julio Montesino Ramos, consul general of Spain in Houston; Elena Acosta Guerrero, director of House of Colon for The Palms of Great Canary, Spain; Eduardo Aznar Vallejo, history professor at the University of Lagoon; Carmen Maria Evora Garcia, vice president of research and development at the University of Lagoon; Manuel Lobo Cabrera, principal of the University of the Palms of Great Canary; Jorge Pedraza Salinas, president of Company Nuevoleonesa of History, Geography and Statistics, Monterrey, Mexico; Todd Chiscano, international studies adviser at Southern Methodist University.

In 1731, more than 275 years ago, 56 Canary Islanders (or "Islenos") arrived to establish what is known today as San Antonio. Ordered by King Philip V of Spain to establish the settlement, the Islanders organized the municipal government, and the first mayors of the city were original settlers or their descendants.

In 1738, the Islanders began construction of a church, now the oldest part of San Fernando Cathedral. Islenos descendants were instrumental in developing the culture and institutions of San Antonio.

The Canary Islands are often described as Spain's tropical paradise. In mainland Spain, they are synonymous with holidays, as they are for thousands of foreign tourists who pack the islands' resorts year round. Colonized and populated by Spaniards, the seven islands lie 1,150 kilometers off the west coast of Africa.

The symposium is sponsored by UTSA, the Government of the Canary Islands, Friends of the Canary Islands Foundation in San Antonio, Los Bexarenos Genealogical and Historical Society, and the Bexar Country Historical Commission.

For more information, contact Felix D. Almaraz Jr. at (210) 458-2616.

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