Villa de Betancuria is living history of Fuerteventura. It is a small and quiet historical centre with a stately atmosphere that emanates tradition and culture throughout every corner. Its small alleyways have borne witness to conquests and pirate attacks, to splendour and decadence, and destruction and development.
The historical capital of the Canary Islands
Betancuria was founded in 1404 by the Norman conqueror Jean de Bethencourt, who made it, together with San Marcial de Rubicón in Lanzarote, the first city of the Canary Islands. Betancuria then became the capital of Fuerteventura, and the seat of the main governmental, religious, and administrative entities of the island and archipelago. Hence the importance of Villa de Betancuria and why it has the nickname Historical Capital of the Canary Islands.
It was founded inland due to the fertility of the land and to protect it from the constant pirate attacks that blighted Fuerteventura at the time. It couldn’t avoid the attack from Árraez Xabán, who landed on the island with his hordes in 1593, reaching Betancuria, where they plundered and destroyed much of what is now the historic centre, which has had to be rebuilt on several occasions since its foundation at the start of the 15th century.
Places of interest
In the historic centre of Betancuria stands the Iglesia de Santa Maria de Betancuria which was built in 1410, destroyed by a pirate invasion in 1593, and reconstructed again in 1620.
Without needing to leave the beautiful historic centre, we are met with the Museum of Sacred Art and the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, where art and history come together to give a unique perspective of the wide cultural spectrum found in Fuerteventura and the archipelago.