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Fuerteventura: from Spanish horror to holiday paradise

Fuerteventura, what was actually before tourism on the island?

Fuerteventura's popularity begs the question, why do so many holidaymakers go to an island where dust is constantly in the air and green spaces only exist where humans have created them? The answer is quickly given: Fuerteventura is the second largest island of the Canary Islands, yet it is sparsely populated and the landscape is protected by several nature reserves in its origins. These places have become rare on our planet.

Fuerteventura's genesis:

More than 10 million years ago, the Canary Islands rose out of the sea after volcanic activity. Even today it is unclear exactly when the first settlers discovered Fuerteventura. Around 3,000 BC, the first African Guanches (indigenous people of North Africa) set out to explore the strait between the continent and Fuerteventura. They stayed on Fuerteventura and successfully farmed in the interior of the island. Consequently, the old settlements can also be found in the interior of the island. Thus, one can only assume that Fuerteventura was a green oasis, because the island was considered the granary of the Canaries and was an important industry for goat meat and the cultivation of legumes. There were two kingdoms on Fuerteventura, the kingdom of "Maxorata" in the north and the kingdom of "Jandin" in the south. The Guanches lived more or less in peace on the island at this time.

But how did the Spanish influence come to the Canary Islands, because in fact Fuerteventura is only 100 km from the African coast, whereas Tenerife is about 721 nautical miles (1,335 km) away from the Spanish mainland. In the 15th century, the Canaries were discovered by Jean de Bethcourt (Norman nobleman) and he changed the balance of power so that the Canaries were conquered by the Spanish crown. Jean de Bethcourt is still omnipresent today, as the old island capital Betancuria was named after him. The existence of the Guanches was now a thing of the past. The Guanches did not leave much behind, some traditions and island writings have been attributed to the Majoreros (the indigenous people of Fuerteventura).

The next few years were marked by exploitation, piracy, slavery and poverty. It was not until the end of the 18th century that Fuerteventura's situation eased and the number of inhabitants rose again to 3,000. The economic boom reached Fuerteventura with the cultivation of soda plants, burnt lime and cattle breeding. The island remained in the private ownership of the Spanish crown until the 19th century, after which it was first incorporated into the Spanish province of the Canary Islands and then became a free trade zone until today.

In the 19th century, the town of Antigua was declared the capital, but this quickly changed and Puerto de Cabras became the island's capital. It was not until 1956 that the name Puerto de Cabras was changed to what is now Puerto del Rosario.

Until then, Fuerteventura was anything but a holiday paradise, but this changed with the arrival of the first tourists at the end of the 60s. With the beginning of the 70s, the number of tourists grew steadily and the inhabitants of the island discovered a new source of income. With the tourists, the coastal strips were revitalised and the centre of the island shifted from the interior of the island to the coasts.

And yes, today Fuerteventura is known for being a seaside holiday destination, but still, at no time does the island give residents or holidaymakers the feeling of being overcrowded or smothered in chain hotels. Perhaps that is what is so special about Fuerteventura. Find out for yourself during a stay at the Finca "La Estrella". #history #geschichte #fuerteventura

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