Fuerteventura
Overview
 
Fuerteventura a Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

, is one of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

, in the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 off the coast of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. It is situated at 28°20' north, 14°00' west. At 1,660 km² it is the second largest of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife
Tenerife
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands, it is also the most populated island of Spain, with a land area of 2,034.38 km² and 906,854 inhabitants, 43% of the total population of the Canary Islands. About five million tourists visit Tenerife each year, the...

. It was declared a biosphere reserve
Biosphere reserve
The Man and the Biosphere Programme of UNESCO was established in 1971 to promote interdisciplinary approaches to management, research and education in ecosystem conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.-Development:...

 by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 on May 26, 2009.
The first settlers are believed to have arrived here from North Africa - the word Mahorero (Majorero) or Maho is still used today to describe the people of Fuerteventura and comes from the ancient word 'mahos' meaning a type of goatskin shoe worn by the original inhabitants.
Encyclopedia
Fuerteventura a Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

, is one of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

, in the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 off the coast of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. It is situated at 28°20' north, 14°00' west. At 1,660 km² it is the second largest of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife
Tenerife
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands, it is also the most populated island of Spain, with a land area of 2,034.38 km² and 906,854 inhabitants, 43% of the total population of the Canary Islands. About five million tourists visit Tenerife each year, the...

. It was declared a biosphere reserve
Biosphere reserve
The Man and the Biosphere Programme of UNESCO was established in 1971 to promote interdisciplinary approaches to management, research and education in ecosystem conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.-Development:...

 by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 on May 26, 2009.

History

The first settlers are believed to have arrived here from North Africa - the word Mahorero (Majorero) or Maho is still used today to describe the people of Fuerteventura and comes from the ancient word 'mahos' meaning a type of goatskin shoe worn by the original inhabitants. They lived in caves and semi-subterranean dwellings, a few of which have been discovered and excavated revealing relics of early tools and pottery. In antiquity, the island was known as Planaria, among other names, in reference to the flatness of most of its landscape.

In the 11th century BC, the Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n settlers arrived in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

Several Spanish and Portuguese expeditions occurred in about 1340 around the island and the island were inhabited by Maurs and were afflicted with European slave holders.

In 1405, the French conqueror Jean de Béthencourt
Jean de Béthencourt
Jean de Béthencourt was a French explorer who, in 1402, led an expedition to the Canary Islands, landing first on the north side of Lanzarote...

 took the island and gave his name to the former capital, Betancuria
Betancuria
Betancuria is a Canarian municipality in the northern portion of the island of Fuerteventura in the Spanish province of Las Palmas, Canary Islands....

, on the west coast (Puerto Rosario took over the mantle as island capital in 1835). The name of the island itself is believed to have come from Bethencourt's exclamation "Quelle forte aventure!" ("What a grand adventure").

In 1852, the free trade zone was extended by Isabella II
Isabella II of Spain
Isabella II was the only female monarch of Spain in modern times. She came to the throne as an infant, but her succession was disputed by the Carlists, who refused to recognise a female sovereign, leading to the Carlist Wars. After a troubled reign, she was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of...

 to the Canary Islands. The military rule over the island which began from 1708 dissolved in 1859 and Puerto de Cabras (now Puerto del Rosario) became entirely the new capital.
The Canary Islands obtained the right to self-govern in 1912.

In 1927, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote
Lanzarote
Lanzarote , 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...

 became part of the province of Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is the second most populous island of the Canary Islands, with a population of 838,397 which constitutes approximately 40% of the population of the archipelago...

.

By the 1940s the island had an airport (just west of Puerto del Rosario
Puerto del Rosario
Puerto del Rosario is a Canarian municipality in the northern portion of the island of Fuerteventura in the Las Palmas province in the Canary Islands. Puerto del Rosario is also the capital of the island of Fuerteventura since 1835. The population is 28,357 , with a density of 39.43/km² which is...

 on the road to Tindaya, still visible today).

Tourism arrived in the mid-1960s with the building of the present airport at El Mattoral and the first tourist hotels.

The seat of the island government (cabildo insular) is in Puerto del Rosario
Puerto del Rosario
Puerto del Rosario is a Canarian municipality in the northern portion of the island of Fuerteventura in the Las Palmas province in the Canary Islands. Puerto del Rosario is also the capital of the island of Fuerteventura since 1835. The population is 28,357 , with a density of 39.43/km² which is...

. A total of 74,983 people (2003) live on the island.

Since the island is close to Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, many illegal African immigrants try to enter the European Union through it, by a dangerous boat trip from Morocco.

Geography

The elongated island has an area of 1660 km². The island is 100 km long and 31 km wide. It is part of the province of Las Palmas
Las Palmas (province)
The Province of Las Palmas is a province of Spain, consisting of the eastern part of the autonomous community of the Canary Islands.-Composition:...

. It is divided into six municipalities:
  • Antigua
  • Betancuria
  • La Oliva
  • Pájara
  • Puerto del Rosario
  • Tuineje
    Tuineje, Las Palmas
    Tuineje is a Canarian municipality in the central and the eastern portion of the island of Fuerteventura in the Las Palmas province in the Canary Islands The population is 11,261 , its density is 40.81/km² and the area is 275.94 km². It is located a main highway linking Antigua and Pájara. The main...


100 individual settlements are distributed through these municipalities. A nearby islet, Islote de Lobos, is part of the municipality of La Oliva
La Oliva
La Oliva is a Canarian municipality in the northern portion of the island of Fuerteventura in the Las Palmas province in the Canary Islands The population is 14,042 , its density is 39.43/km² and the area is 356.13 km². The municipality includes the small island of Los Lobos to the northeast...

.

Located just 100 kilometres off the coast of North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, it is the second biggest of the islands, after Tenerife
Tenerife
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands, it is also the most populated island of Spain, with a land area of 2,034.38 km² and 906,854 inhabitants, 43% of the total population of the Canary Islands. About five million tourists visit Tenerife each year, the...

, and has the longest beaches in the archipelago. The island is a destination for sun, beach and watersports enthusiasts. It lies on the same latitude as Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 and Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and temperatures here rarely fall below 18 °C (64 °F) or rise above 24 °C (75 °F). There are no fewer than 152 beaches along its coastline — 50 kilometres of fine, white sand and 25 kilometres of black volcanic shingle.

Geology

Fuerteventura is the oldest island in the Canary Islands dating back 20 million years to a volcanic eruption from the Canary hotspot
Canary hotspot
The Canary hotspot, also called the Canarian hotspot, is a volcanic hotspot believed to be located at the Canary Islands off the north-western coast of Africa, although alternative theories to explain the volcanism there exist. The Canary hotspot is believed to be underlain by a mantle plume that...

. The majority of the island was created about 5 million years ago and since then has been eroded by wind and weather. On the seabed off the west coast of the island rests a block of rock 22 km long and 11 km wide, which appears to have slid off the island largely intact at some point in prehistory, similar to the predicted future collapse of Cumbre Vieja
Cumbre Vieja
Cumbre Vieja is an active volcanic ridge on the volcanic ocean island of Isla de La Palma in the Canary Islands.This ridge trends in an approximate north-south direction and covers the southern third of the island. It is lined by several volcanic craters....

, a geological fault on the neighboring island, La Palma
La Palma
La Palma is the most north-westerly of the Canary Islands. La Palma has an area of 706 km2 making it the fifth largest of the seven main Canary Islands...

. The last volcanic activity in Fuerteventura was between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago.

The highest point in Fuerteventura is Mount Jandía
Jandía
Jandía is an area and a peninsula covering the whole southwestern part of the island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands forming the westernmost and the southernmost points on the island. It is mainly mountainous and rocky and has less vegetation than some areas of the island, including palm...

 (807 m) in the southwestern part of the island. Geographical features include Istmo de la Pared which is 5 km wide and is the narrowest part of Fuerteventura. The island is divided into two parts, the northern portion which is Maxorata and the southwestern part called the Jandía peninsula. The island is the least settled in the Canary Islands.

Climate

The climate on Fuerteventura is pleasant throughout the year. The island is also often referred to as the island of eternal spring. The sea adjusts the temperature making the hot Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 winds blow away from the island. The island's name in English translates as 'strong fortune' or 'strong wind', the Spanish word for wind being 'viento'. During the winter months, temperatures average a high of 22 °C (72 °F) and a low of around 15 °C (59 °F), whereas during the summer a mean high of 35 °C (95 °F) and a low of 20 °C (68 °F) can be expected. Precipitation is about 147 mm per year, most of which falls in autumn and winter. October is the month with highest rainfall.

A sandstorm known as the Calima
Saharan Air Layer
The Saharan Air Layer is an intensely dry, warm and sometimes dust-laden layer of the atmosphere which often overlies the cooler, more-humid surface air of the Atlantic Ocean. In the Sahara Desert region of North Africa, where it originates, it is the prevalent atmosphere, extending from the...

 (similar to the Scirocco
Sirocco
Sirocco, scirocco, , jugo or, rarely, siroc is a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara and reaches hurricane speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe. It is known in North Africa by the Arabic word qibli or ghibli Sirocco, scirocco, , jugo or, rarely, siroc is a Mediterranean wind...

 wind that blows North from the Sahara into Europe) blows southwestward from the Sahara Desert and can cause high temperatures, low visibility and drying air. Temperatures during this phenomenon rise temporarily by approximately 10 degrees Celsius. The wind brings in fine white sand, visibility can drop to between 100 to 200 m (328.1 to 656.2 ) or even lower and can even bring African locust
Locust
Locusts are the swarming phase of short-horned grasshoppers of the family Acrididae. These are species that can breed rapidly under suitable conditions and subsequently become gregarious and migratory...

s to the island.

Wildlife

The island is home to one of the two surviving populations of the threatened Canarian Egyptian Vulture. It is also inhabited by many wild dogs and cats. On the barren, rocky land there are Barbary ground squirrels and geckos
GeckOS
GeckOS is an experimental operating system for MOS 6502 and compatible processors. It offers some Unix-like functionality including preemptive multitasking, multithreading, semaphores, signals, binary relocation, TCP/IP networking via SLIP and a 6502 standard library.GeckOS includes native support...

. Fuerteventura also hosts several migratory and nesting birds. The island has significant populations of the collared dove, common swift
Swift
The swifts are a family, Apodidae, of highly aerial birds. They are superficially similar to swallows, but are actually not closely related to passerine species at all; swifts are in the separate order Apodiformes, which they share with hummingbirds...

s and several finch
Finch
The true finches are passerine birds in the family Fringillidae. They are predominantly seed-eating songbirds. Most are native to the Northern Hemisphere, but one subfamily is endemic to the Neotropics, one to the Hawaiian Islands, and one subfamily – monotypic at genus level – is found...

 species especially in the vicinity of holiday developments.
Despite its arid climate, the island is also home to a surprisingly large insect fauna. Butterflies which commonly occur on the island include the clouded yellow (Colias hyale) and the Bath White (Pontia daplidice) which feeds on xerophytic cruciferae. The island is also home the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and its close African relative Danaus chrysippus
Danaus chrysippus
Danaus chrysippus, known as the Plain Tiger or African Monarch, is a common butterfly which is widespread in Asia and Africa. It belongs to the Danainae subfamily of the brush-footed butterfly family, Nymphalidae...

. Around holiday developments such as Caleta de Fuste
Caleta de Fuste
Caleta de Fuste / Costa Caleta is the largest community in the municipality of Antigua, Las Palmas, Spain on the island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands....

, water is relatively abundant, and dragonfly
Dragonfly
A dragonfly is a winged insect belonging to the order Odonata, the suborder Epiprocta or, in the strict sense, the infraorder Anisoptera . It is characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body...

 species including the Blue Emperor, Anax imperator and the Scarlet Darter, Crocothemis erythraea can be found. The islands sand dunes and shoreline are home to a number of bee
Bee
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila...

 and wasp
Wasp
The term wasp is typically defined as any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is neither a bee nor an ant. Almost every pest insect species has at least one wasp species that preys upon it or parasitizes it, making wasps critically important in natural control of their...

 species including the large Eumenid caterpillar hunting wasp, Delta dimiatipenne and the striking blue banded bee, (Amegilla cavifrons).
Hawkmoths also occur on the island. One of the more notable species is Hyles tithymali
Hyles tithymali
Hyles tithymali is a moth of the family Sphingidae. It is found in North Africa, the Canary Islands, Madeira, some islands in the Mediterranean Sea and in the mountains in Jemen.The length of the forewings is 45-85 mm.The larvae feed on Euphorbia....

which feeds on endemic spurges such as Euphorbia regis-jubae. Acherontia atropos
Acherontia atropos
Acherontia atropos is the most widely-known of the three species of Death's-head Hawk moth. Acherontia species are notorious mainly for a vaguely skull-shaped pattern on the thorax.-Appearance:...

, the Deaths-head Hawkmoth also occurs on the island presumably feeding on members of the Solanaceae
Solanaceae
Solanaceae are a family of flowering plants that include a number of important agricultural crops as well as many toxic plants. The name of the family comes from the Latin Solanum "the nightshade plant", but the further etymology of that word is unclear...

, for example, Datura innoxia and Nicotiana glauca
Nicotiana glauca
Nicotiana glauca is a species of wild tobacco known by the common names tree tobacco and incorrectly also Mustard tree. Its leaves are attached to the stalk by petioles , and its leaves and stems are neither pubescent nor sticky like Nicotiana tabacum...

which are common weeds in the vicinity of human habitation.

Economy

The economy of Fuerteventura is mainly based on tourism. Primary tourist areas are located around the existing towns of Corralejo
Corralejo
The town and resort of Corralejo is located on the northern tip of Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, facing the small islet of Lobos . It is placed in the municipality of La Oliva....

 in the north and Morro Jable in Jandia
Jandía
Jandía is an area and a peninsula covering the whole southwestern part of the island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands forming the westernmost and the southernmost points on the island. It is mainly mountainous and rocky and has less vegetation than some areas of the island, including palm...

, plus the purely tourist development of Caleta de Fuste
Caleta de Fuste
Caleta de Fuste / Costa Caleta is the largest community in the municipality of Antigua, Las Palmas, Spain on the island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands....

, south of Puerto del Rosario
Puerto del Rosario
Puerto del Rosario is a Canarian municipality in the northern portion of the island of Fuerteventura in the Las Palmas province in the Canary Islands. Puerto del Rosario is also the capital of the island of Fuerteventura since 1835. The population is 28,357 , with a density of 39.43/km² which is...

. Other main industries are fishing and agriculture (cereals and vegetables). The famous Majorero cheese
Majorero cheese
Majorero is a goat milk cheese from Spain. Similar in texture to Manchego, this firm cheese has a milky, nutty flavour that goes well with various pear products. It is pale white in colour, and comes in large wheels. Currently it is protected under European Law with PDO status.Majorero comes from...

 is locally made from the milk of the indigenous majorera
Majorera
The cabra majorera or Fuerteventura goat is a breed of dairy goat native to the Canary Islands. Majorero cheese is made from its milk.It is a particularly strong breed, and has been exported to Africa and Latin America.-External links:...

 goat.

In 2009, Fuerteventura recorded the highest EU regional unemployment rate at a NUTS3 level, at 29.2 percent.

Tourism

The first tourist hotel was built in 1965 followed by the construction of Fuerteventura Airport at El Matorral, heralding the dawn of a new era for the island. Fuerteventura, with its 3,000 sunshine hours a year, was placed firmly on the world stage as a major European holiday destination.

The summer Trade Winds and winter swells of the Atlantic make this a year-round surfers' paradise. Sailors, scuba divers and big-game fishermen are all drawn to these clear blue Atlantic waters where whales, dolphins, marlin and turtles are all common sights. With many hills present throughout the Island, hikers are also attracted to this Island.

Much of the interior, with its large plains, lavascapes and volcanic mountains, consists of protected areas which can be best be explored in a 4x4 or (for the more daring) with a cross-country motorbike on an organised tour.

Sites of interest

Sites of interest include Corralejo
Corralejo
The town and resort of Corralejo is located on the northern tip of Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, facing the small islet of Lobos . It is placed in the municipality of La Oliva....

 and El Jable to the north which are made up of fine sand dunes whilst the south is filled with long beaches and remote bays. The constant winds blowing onto the beaches provide a paradise for windsurfing
Windsurfing
Windsurfing or sailboarding is a surface water sport that combines elements of surfing and sailing. It consists of a board usually two to four metres long, powered by the orthogonal effect of the wind on a sail. The rig is connected to the board by a free-rotating universal joint and comprises a...

. Surfing
Surfing
Surfing' is a surface water sport in which the surfer rides a surfboard on the crest and face of a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore...

 is common on the west and north coasts where there are large waves. Windsurfing is common around Corralejo and Playas de Sotavento and wave sailing (windsurfing on the waves) on the coast along the northern half of the island. El Cotillo is a small fishing village in the north-west of the Island famous for a very long beach to the south of the village and few very calm beaches to the north. The northern beaches frequented by snorkeling enthusiasts and sun worshipers alike are referred to as lakes by the locals.
At Cofete
Cofete
Cofete is a small village in the western part of the Jandia peninsula in Fuerteventura. Its beach is about 35 km long. The mountains surround the beach while some parts as near the foothills. The soil color is ranges from sandy peach-yellow to dirt brown...

 on the western side of Jandía a remote and imposing house - Villa Winter
Villa Winter
Villa Winter is a villa located in the area around Cofete, Canary Islands, in front of the mountain range of Jandía and in the peninsula on the southwestern part of the island of Fuerteventura. The villa is modeled after a villa first built in 1893 in the Black Forest by an engineer Gustav Winter...

 - looks out to sea across wide and generally empty beaches. It was reputedly built by a Mr Winter on land given by Generalisimo Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

. Despite being one of the most beautiful part of Fuerteventura Cofete has very little touristic facilities.

On 18 January 1994 the SS American Star
SS America (1940)
SS America was an ocean liner built in 1940 for the United States Lines and designed by the noted naval architect William Francis Gibbs. She carried many names in the 54 years between her construction and her 1994 wrecking, as she served as the SS America , the USS West Point, the SS Australis, the...

(former America, USS West Point, Australis) was beached in Playa de Garcey during a storm. By 2007 the ship had collapsed onto its side, almost completely submerged. In 2008 the wreck finally slipped below the surface.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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