Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands. With fantastic weather all year round it is now a major European holiday destination.
Fuerteventura is the most easterly of the Canary Islands, it is only 60 miles from the coast of Morocco – and its position means that for many thousands of years sand from the Sahara has been deposited on its shores.
This has resulted in Fuerteventura having some of the best white sandy beaches in the world! The Island is on the same latitude as Mexico and Florida and therefore has a similar fantastic climate. With over three thousand sunshine hours a year and temperatures that rarely fall below 18 °C or rise above 24 °C, Fuerteventura really is the perfect holiday destination!
A Brief History Of Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura is believed to be the oldest of the Canary Islands. It was formed by a volcanic eruption from a point geologists call the “Canary Hotspot”. A hotspot is basically where abnormally hot Lava ( hot liquid rock) forms from a crack on the ocean floor and may last for a million years.
Visually a mantle plume would look very much like the rising shapes in a lava lamp…which we would have loved to have seen as it must have looked pretty cool….but seeing as this happened 20 million years ago it was just a bit before our time. The last volcanic activity in Fuerteventura happened a very long time ago ..about 5,000 years. Spectacular extinct volcanoes can be seen all over Fuerteventura today.
The original natives of Fuerteventura are usually referred to as Guanches, although really Guanches were originally the inhabitants of Tenerife. The inhabitants of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are believed to have been known as Maxos. Now though, Guanches is the overall term usual used to describe the orignal natives of the Canary Islands as a whole.
Today the word Mahorero (Majorero) or Maho is actually used to describe the people of Fuerteventura. This is said to come from the word ‘mahos’ which was a shoe made from the skin of a goat that was worn by the original inhabitants of Fuerteventura.
Jean de Béthencourt ( 1360 – 1425), was a French conqueror and explorer. In 1402 he led an expedition to the Canary Islands where he first invaded the north of Lanzarote and from there he conquered Fuerteventura.
The former capital, Betancuria on the west coast of the Island takes his name, which he founded with Gadifer de la Salle in 1404. Béthencourt received the title “King of the Canary Islands” but he made King Henry III of Castile his leader. He did this because Henry III of Castile had provided him with lots of aid during the conquest. In 1495, the Canaries as a whole were incorporated into the Kingdom of Castile (which was one of the kingdoms that went on to found the Kingdom of Spain). This, basically, is why the Canary Islands are spanish even though the conquerors were French!
The name Fuerteventura has many alternative origins. Firstly it is said to have come from Jean de Béthencourt’s exclamation in French of “Que forte aventure!” (“What a grand adventure!”), which sounds quite plausable. The name Fuerteventura in Spanish translated literally to English means “strong fortune” or “strong luck”. Some say that the name Fuerteventura means ‘strong winds’ …which is why windsurfers and kite surfers love it so much in Fuerteventura!
Tourism only arrived in Fuerteventura as recently as the mid -1960s!
However, the single most important event in Fuerteventra’s 20 million year history is widely believed to be the opening of Flicks Bar in Corralejo in 1997.