History of Lanzarote

The Conquest of Lanzarote - How The Canaries Became Spanish

Prior to 1402 several European sailors had visited The Canary Islands, describing the local Guanche inhabitants as friendly and accommodating. During the 1300’s, the islands were plagued by pirates, who would come ashore to rape and pillage, while the inhabitants did their best to hide in the tunnels of Cueva de los Verdes.

Castle Teguise

In 1402 Juan Bethencourt, an ambitious Norman nobleman, put together a plan to conquer the island for Spain. He set sail from La Rochelle in France in May of that year, calling at Vivero, La Coruna and finally Cadiz to take on wood and water. Bethencourt had embarked two native speakers in order to act as interpreters once he reached the islands.

Eight days after departing, the crew spotted Alegranza, Montaña Clara and La Graciosa, before Lanzarote came into view. They tried to land in the north of Lanzarote, but the waves and rocky coastline made it impossible, so in the end, they anchored off Alegranza, which was uninhabited to plan their attack on the larger island. Once the weather had calmed down, they set off once again and made landfall in Lanzarote. 


They were expecting a fight, but in fact they were greeted peacefully by The Guanches, who offered gifts and friendship. Having been attacked by pirates so often, they saw in Bethencourt and his men the opportunity for protection. Delighted with the peaceful reception, Bethencourt offered the protection of the kingdom of Spain to the Guanches, who gratefully accepted.   read more »

Rolla-1 Shipwreck in Famara

Many people know of the Telamon shipwreck on the coast by Costa Teguise, what of the one on the beach at Famara?

The tip of the Rolla 1 shipwreck in Famara is visible at low tide

These days, only the very tip of Rolla-1 is visible at low tide in  read more »

Discovering the history of Guatiza

I really do enjoy my day’s out with the Lanzarote Active Club, they offer guided activities for tourists to enjoy when visiting the island, plus a resident’s club for those of us who live here.

Guatiza Cemetery

Last Sunday was a residents club outing, we met up at the cemetery to start a history tour of Guatiza with historian Arminda Viotti.

Santa Margarita

For many visitors Guatiza is a small rural village where the Jardin de Cactus visitor centre is located. The original village was actually called Santa Margarita and situated up on the hill, Arminda told us the fabulous legend of a woman from Uga who had witnessed a miracle and in return promised to build a chapel to honour Santa Margarita. The site of the chapel was to be determined by a camel! The woman attached an image of the saint on to the camel and they set out from Uga in the south of the island, the goal being that where the camel stopped, the chapel would be built. The poor animal kept going until it was exhausted, eventually dropping to it’s knees at the base of Montaña Guenia.

The ermita de Santa Margarita was constructed close to the site of where the cemetery stands today, the original chapel was eventually ruined and isn’t the one standing inside the walls of the cemetery. The camel had found fertile land with natural water resources for the village that was constructed around the chapel, however there was one problem with the location. The other name of Buena Vista given to this village, gives a clue to the issue, the properties had a lovely vantage point down to the coast, which also meant that they could be seen from pirate ships.

Guatiza from the site of Santa Margarita

During the 16th century the island had less than 400 inhabitants, more people were needed to  read more »

History of the church clock in Haria

There’s a lovely story to the history of the clock in the tower of Haría’s church Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación situated in the plaza.

Nuestra Señora Encarnacion Haria

The project to add a clock tower to the town church was the idea of Don Antonio Ramírez  del Castillo who was born in Teguise and lived in Haría before emigrating to Argentina. He wrote to his brother José informing him that he was going to pay for a clock for the church. This generous offer caused some controversy at the time, the pastor initially refused the gift, mainly as the church did not have a tower to accommodate the clock.

Not deterred, Don Antonio Ramírez  del Castillo later confirmed that he would also fund the construction of a tower to be added to  read more »

Book Review - The Canary Islands, A Cultural History

Peter Stone is a travel writer who has written extensively about Spain. He first came to The Canaries in 1960, when he worked as a receptionist in a hotel in Gran Canaria.


I expected this book to be very “academic” and I half expected it to be a little boring, but I was wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed it, I learned a great deal I didn’t already know about the islands and their history, I found the writing style to be relaxed and informal, and I have  read more »

Lanzarote 33 Years Ago

Angie Appleton is a friend who lives in Costa Teguise these days. She’s a keen windsurfer and stand up paddler, and saved our bacon many times when we were training to compete in Ironman! Angie runs Holistic Therapies in Costa Teguise.


She visited Lanzarote way back in  March 1982, and wrote about her experiences here in Onboard magazine.

You can read her whole text below, but some of the highlights for us were:  read more »

  • Car hire was £45 a week!
  • There was a windsurf school on Playa Grande in Puerto del Carmen in those days
  • The Costa Teguise golf course only had nine holes
  • A three course meal with wine in Arrecife

Tias - The Town Of Aunts

Tías is not widely known to visitors to Lanzarote and is generally just somewhere you pass through on the island’s main road, the LZ2. However, it is an important administrative centre and the municipality of Tías incorporates the largest of Lanzarote’s tourist resorts, Puerto del Carmen.

Avenida Central, Tias

Formerly called Las Tías de Fajardo, meaning Farjado’s Aunts, the town was named in the late 1400s by Alonso Farjado, Governor of Gran Canaria, to honour his favourite maiden aunts, Francisca and Hernan. Lanzarote is still governed by the province of Gran Canaria.

Calle Libertad Shops & Bars 

There is evidence of a settlement here dating back  read more »

Archaelogical Map of Lanzarote

There are many archaeological sites of interest in Lanzarote if you know where to look.

Thanks to the efforts of Memoria Lanzarote, we found a paper entitled “Avance de La Carta Arqueológica de Lanzarote” that was prepared by José de León Hernández and M* Antonia Perera Betancort, the following archaeological map took them 10 years to compile.

Archaeological_Map_LanzaroteArchaeological Map Lanzarote 1

Map References

A circle denotes a place of Majos culture, a triangle is an Aboriginal engraving and a square places of ethnographic interest.

The letter A is an Aboriginal or other pre-conquest culture, further classified by e – stone structure, c – cave, s – Aboriginal surface material or o – other such as burial site or cheese making. The letter G denotes g – geometry, a – alpha, p – podomorfos (stone carving) and b – boat. The letter V is ethnographic or place of interest E - ethnography and I - possible site. Condition of the site is coded as ( B ) Good, undisturbed and safe, ( R ) Regular, ( M ) Bad, obvious damage or destruction, ( MM ) Very Bad, at immediate risk of destruction.

La Graciosa

1. LA GRACIOSA: A-O. V-E. (M). Possible Roman amphorae. Protection of underwater archaeological remains.

2. LLANO DEL BURRO: V-E. (B). Remains of traditional buildings.

3. CALETÓN DEL MARRAJO: V-E. (R). Aljibes (water storage), remains of buildings & popular ceramics.

4. MONTAÑA AMARILLA: V-L (B). Oral reference to aboriginal pottery (Agustín Pallares).

Municipality of Haría

5. LOMO DEL ZALAHAR: A-S. (M) Aboriginal ceramic. Excavations have been carried out here looking for burial sites in the Batería del Río.

6. PEÑAS DE ORZÓLA: G-g. V-E. (B). Found in 1983. Lime kilns in the area Peña Tónico  read more »


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