The island of the 300 volcanoes is situated in the Atlantic Ocean 60 nautical miles from the African North West coast, it is the most eastern of the seven islands which form the archipelago of the Canary Islands, of volcanic origin. Lanzarote started it's origins 40 million years ago but emerged partialy nearly 15 million years ago, it is the oldest of the Canary Islands, with a surface of 862 square kilometres, it's highest point is situated at an altitude of 671 metres (peñas del Chache). The attractive desert landscape is present everywhere in Lanzarote.
On the XIV century, in the year 1302 "Lancellotto Malocelli" a merchant trader, re-discovered the island, and settled for 30 years. History tells that he gave name to the island, Lancelotto in Latin is Lanzarottus. So in the first chart it appeared as "Island Lancelotto".
Several expeditions were fleeted by the crown of Castilla during the XV century, in 1402 they landed at the southern coast "El Rubicón", we don't know exactly which was the beach where they disembarked, but the vessels anchored at the sheltered area near Papagayo.
These conquerors met the natives of the island (stone-age people) who welcome them, and in the end they were summitted to the crown of Castilla.
Jean de Bethencourt was in charge of this expedition, a Norman who was named Governor of the island, he lived with a Lanzarotean princess (Ico) for many years in the castle-fortress "Santa Barbara" at Teguise's mountain (Guanapay), from where all Lanzarote cardinal edges can be observed.
After the conquest of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, the island of Lanzarote lost importance to the Crown of Castilla, a poor number of troops were left on the island to fight the pirates attacks (hunters of slaves from north Africa) by what there was no peace at the époque, many castles (fortresses) were built along the southern coast to keep pirates out.
The main volcanic eruptions started on September 1730 and went through until 1730, many villages were buried by lava, the geography of the island changed and the lanzaroteans had to learn to live with the volcano, recover plots of land by lifting lava stones, using lava ashes to keep moist (humidity) into earth and help the growing of vegetables, etc. Hard times to come for the "Mago", name to design the inhabitants of Lanzarote.
The lanzaroteans lived mainly in the centre of the island to keep away from pirates, at that time the economy of the island was based on agriculture mainly and fishing, that explains why the first capital of the island was Teguise for many years, until Arrecife which had a port became more and more important and became the capital of the island in the year 1852, and commerce became the main source of economy for Lanzarote. Nowadays the main source of economy is tourism.
Lanzarote Today and Forever, a Genius Artist
Talking about Lanzarote means talking about César Manrique, the genius artist born in Lanzarote on 1919, anxious of protecting his island from conventional tourism, he dedicated his life to the idea of houses and buildings made on a different kind of non aggressive constructions to nature on the island, "the touch of hand that modulates nature" as he used to talk about himself. He was able to convince the authorities to keep an eye on people building in attractive way, no more than two stories, all constructions painted white and green, or walls covered with lava stone, natural spaces to be protected, he was a Lanzarotean for Lanzarote, his memory is kept in Lanzarote forever.
The main municipalities are: Haria, Teguise, Arrecife, San Bartolomé, Tinajo, Tias y Yaiza