a Spanish island, is the easternmost of the autonomous
Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 125
km off the coast of Africa and 1,000 km from the Iberian
Peninsula. Covering 845.9 km2, it stands as the fourth
largest of the islands. The first recorded name for the
island, given by Angelino Dulcert, was Insula de
Lanzarotus Marocelus, after the Genoese navigator
Lancelotto Malocello, from which the modern name is
derived. The island s name in the native language was
Titerro(y)gatra, which may mean "the red mountains".
Lanzarote is situated at 29°00 north, 13°40 west. It
is located 11 km north-east of Fuerteventura and 1 mile
from Graciosa. The dimensions of the island are 60 km
from north to south and 25 km from west to east.
Lanzarote has 213 km of coastline, of which 10 km are
sand, 16.5 km are beach, and the remainder are rocky.
Its dramatic landscape includes the mountain ranges of
Famara (671m) in the north and Ajaches (608m) to the
south. South of the Famara massif is the El Jable desert
which separates Famara and Montañas del Fuego. The
mountainous area of Lanzarote is called Timanfaya
National Park. The tallest mountain is Peñas del Chache
elevating 670m above sea level. The "Tunnel of Atlantis"
is the largest submerged volcanic tunnel in the world.
The island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve protected site.
Lanzarote is the easternmost island of the Canary
Islands and has volcanic origin. It was born out of
fiery eruptions and has solidified lava streams as well
as extravagant rock formations.
View over a lava field towards the Montañas del
Fuego.Lanzarote is of volcanic origin. The island was
created about 35 million years ago by the Canary
hotspot. Alfred Wegener arrived in 1912 and studied the
island and showed how it fitted in with his theory of
continental drift. The island along with others was
created after the breakup of the African and the
American continental plates. The greatest recorded
eruptions occurred between 1730 and 1736.
Papagayo beach As of 2008, a total of 139,506 people
lived on Lanzarote which is an increase of 9.4% from
2006 (127,457). The seat of the island government
(Cabildo Insular) is in the capital, Arrecife, which has
a population of 59,040. The majority of the
inhabitants (73.9%) are Spanish, with a sizeable number
of residents from other European nations, mainly British
(4.0%), Germans (2.6%) and Irish (2.5%). Other
populous groups include immigrants from Colombia,
Morocco, Ecuador, Western Africa, China and India, which
constitute a large proportion of the remaining 15.6% of
the population. The island has its own international
airport, Arrecife Airport, through which 5,438,178
passengers travelled in 2008. Tourism has been the
mainstay of the island s economy for the past forty
years, the only other industry being agriculture. Emblem
The Lanzarote emblem is the devil because people had
never seen a volcano erupt before so they thought it was
Lanzarote is part of the province of Las Palmas, and is
divided into seven municipalities:
Arrecife, Haría, San Bartolomé, Teguise (includes Isla
de La Graciosa and four smaller islets), Tías, Tinajo,
Flora and fauna
Vines growing in volcanic lapilli in the La Geria region
of Lanzarote. The low, curved walls are traditionally
used to protect the vines from the constant wind.There
are five hundred different kinds of plants and lichen on
the island. 17 of the plants are endemic and there are
180 different lichen. Lichens survive in the suitable
areas like the rock and introduce its own weathering.
These plants have adapted to the relative scarcity of
water, the same as succulents. Plants include the Canary
Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis), which are found
in damper areas of the north, Canary Island Pine (Pinus
canariensis), ferns, and wild olive trees (Olea europaea).
Laurisilva trees which once covered the highest parts of
Risco de Famara are rarely found today. After the winter
rainfalls, the vegetation comes to a colorful bloom
between February and March. The fauna of Lanzarote is
more monotonous than the plant life, except for bats and
other types of mammals which accompanied humans to the
island, including the dromedary which was used for
agriculture and is now a tourist attraction. Lanzarote
has thirty-five types of animal life, including birds (such
as falcons), and reptiles. Some interesting endemic
creatures are the Gallotia lizards, and the blind
deep-water Remipedia crabs found in the Jameos del Agua
lagoon, which was created by a volcanic eruption. The
vineyards of La Gería (a sub-zone of the Lanzarote
Denominación de Origen wine region), with their
traditional methods of cultivation, are a protected area.
Single vines are planted in pits 4-5m wide and 2-3m deep,
with small stone walls around each pit. This
agricultural technique is designed to harvest rainfall
and overnight dew and to protect the plants from the
winds. The vineyards are part of the World Heritage Site
as well as other sites on the island.
Lanzarote was probably the first Canary Island to be
settled. The Phoenicians settled there around 1100 BC.
The Greek writers and philosophers Herodotus, Plato and
Plutarch described the garden of Hesperids, the land of
fertility where fruits and flowers smell in the part of
the Atlantic. The first known record came from Pliny the
Elder in the encyclopedia Naturalis Historia on an
expedition to the Canary Islands. The names of five
islands (then called Insulae Fortunatae) were recorded
as Canaria (Gran Canaria), Ninguaria (Tenerife), Junonia
Mayor (La Palma), "Plivalia" (El Hierro) and Capraria
(La Gomera). Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, the two
easternmost Canary Islands, were only mentioned as the
archipelago of the "purple islands". The Roman poet
Lucan and the Egyptian astronomer and geographer Ptolemy
gave their precise locations. After the fall of the
Roman Empire, the Canary islands became abandoned until
999 AD when the Arabs arrived at the island and was
known as al-Djezir al-Khalida and other names. In 1336,
a ship arrived from Lisbon under the guidance of
Lanzarote da Framqua, alias Lancelotto Malocello. A fort
was later built in the area of Montaña de Guanapay near
today s Teguise. Jean de Béthencourt arrived in 1402 on
a private expedition to the Canary Islands and brought
slavery to the island as well as raw materials.
Bethencourt first visited the south of Lanzarote at
Playas de Papagayo. In 1404, the Castilians with the
support of the King of Castile came and fought against a
rebellion among the local Guanches. The islands of
Fuerteventura and El Hierro were later conquered. In
1585, the Ottoman admiral Murat Reis captured Lanzarote.
In the 17th century, pirates raided the island and took
1,000 inhabitants to slavery in Cueva de los Verdes.
From 1730 to 1736 (for 2,053 days), the island was hit
by a series of volcanic eruptions, creating 32 new
volcanoes in a stretch of 18 km. The minister of Yaiza
Don Andrés Lorenzo Curbelo documented the eruption in
detail until 1731. Lava covered a quarter of the island
s surface, including the most fertile soil and eleven
villages. One hundred smaller volcanoes were located in
the area called Montañas del Fuego.