History

Many have wanted to see in the Canary Islands the remains of the legendary Atlantis, the great civilization that dared to challenge the gods with its advanced development according to classical mythology.

 
  • Island's pre-history
  • XV-XX Centuries
  • Nowadays
Antique map of Canary Islands

The history of Lanzarote is a mix of cultures and races in constant struggle to overcome the obstacles of the remoteness of the island and the water shortage afflicting the island.
 
Already known in ancient times by Phoenicians and Romans, Lanzarote was inhabited by people of Berber descent, at least for some two thousand years. These people, called majos, lived on grazing, fishing and a very limited agriculture.

In the late Middle Ages there were visiting genovece or Castilian sailors, until the Norman Jean de Bethencourt, under the command of the Spanish crown, began in the south of Lanzarote the process of winning over the entire archipelago.

XV-XX Centuries

Located in a strategic geographical position and incorporated into the vast Spanish empire at the time, the Canary Islands not only became the key to the incessant cultural and commercial traffic with the new lands of America, but increased its relationship with European countries like Portugal, England or France.

Lanzarote, meanwhile, was consolidated as a feudal manor and began a phase of very modest growth, marked by the turbulence caused by economic fragility and frequent pirate attacks.

The modern history of Lanzarote experienced a major change in 1730, when it began a period of powerful volcanic eruptions that transformed the island and although at first caused a trail of terror, soon led to prosperity.

The inhabitants of the island, sharpened by centuries of struggle for survival, created a model of agriculture which is unique in the world with the volcanic ash that dominates the island's landscape. Those crops allowed greater production and succeeded in increasing exports. However, the future of the island in recent centuries has been marked by the combination of positive economic cycles (thanks to crops such as Orchilla or cochineal) and critical stages of acute drought, famine and emigration.

César Manrique´s picture

The traditional weakness of Lanzarote launched a radical metamorphosis in the second half of the twentieth century. This economic turnaround has coincided with the profound political and social changes that have experienced the Canary Islands and Spanish society over the past thirty years.

First it was thanks to the push of a fishing industry linked to the richness of the marine coast of the Sahara, but just when this source of revenue began to fall the island started a spectacular tourism development that was lucky enough to pose as model of the hands of Cesar Manrique .

This artist led a series of enclaves in unique natural aesthetic that combines the power of architecture with respect to the environment. With this, Lanzarote, which now stands as a prime tourist destination, not only offers a privileged climate throughout the year, but has managed to enhance its entire cultural heritage and environment. An island starred by its unusual landscape, that is, by what nature and man have recorded on the skin of the territory over the past centuries.

 
 

People & Costumes

People & Customs

Find out more about the hospitable people and customs of the island.

People & Costumes

With the eyes of ...

With the eyes of...

The vision of the island of our artists, residents and visitors.

Interviews

 

Historical Timeline

  •  I millennium a. C., first human arrivals in Lanzarote.

  • 1312, the first visit of a true European: Lancelotto Malocello, probably, Lanzarote, was named after this expeditionary Genoese. He stayed for about two decades.

  • 1402, arrival of Jean de Bethencourt, Baron de La Grainville, and Gadifer de La Salle, knight skilled in battles. These noblemen are received by the king of Lanzarote, Guadarfía, and agree to a pact of friendship and non-aggression.

  • 1407, Maciot de Bethencourt, first governor of Lanzarote delegated by his uncle, the Baron. He married Princess Teguise of Lanzarote. They are the trunk that is part of the various branches of the Bethencourt family, Betancort and Betancor in Lanzarote, the Canary Islands and America.

  • 1584, Agustin de Herrera y Rojas, was appointed by King Philip II, I Marquis de Lanzarote. Noble prototype of the time, stressed at a very young age for his courage and bravery.

  • 1616, Sir Walter Raleigh, attacks Lanzarote. One of the many pirate attacks that struck the island and the archipelago during the XVI, XVII and XVIII centuries.

  • 1730-1736, the first historic volcanic eruptions. These leave the current morphology of the island, turning Lanzarote into a mythical place.

  • 1852, Arrecife, the capital of Lanzarote. Under the Law on Ports Franks, from August 10, Teguise, will no longer be the political and economic center of the island.

  • 1982,Cesar Manrique, creates the foundation that bears his name. Queen Dona Sofia, President of Honor. The CM has become a cultural reference throughout the archipelago.

 
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