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History & culture

La Oliva
A place of history

La Oliva probably owes its name to the presence of wild olive trees in its territory. This place, located on an extensive plain of fertile land, was an important centre of settlement for the Majos, an aboriginal people prior to the Hispanic period, which began with the conquest of Fuerteventura in 1405.

An anonymous manuscript relates that the village of La Oliva was founded in 1500 by some individuals known as the Hernández brothers, residents of the village of Betancuria, who built two small houses in this jurisdiction in order to move to this area during the sowing season... Gradually, new villages were founded, such as: Corralejo, the port of El Tostón (El Cotillo), Vallebrón, La Caldereta, Los Lajares, Villaverde...

After the creation of the parish in 1711 and the transfer of the island's military governor, El Coronel, to the town, La Oliva became one of the most important centres of population and the main centre of government on the island, due to the enormous political, economic and social power of Los Coroneles. The Cortes de Cádiz, in 1812, carried out an administrative reform that granted the category of municipality to all parishes with more than a thousand inhabitants. This regulation made possible the creation of its own town council, independent from the distant capital, Betancuria.


With the disappearance of the figure of Los Coroneles, in the last third of the 19th century, La Oliva lost its prominence in favour of Puerto de Cabras, now Puerto del Rosario. For almost 500 years, the main economic activities of the municipality were cereal agriculture, livestock farming and, to a lesser extent, fishing.


The strong tourist impulse, from the seventies of the last century onwards, turned the service sector into the main driving force behind the development of La Oliva. This growth brought with it a significant increase in population due to the labour supply generated by tourism, from 2,900 inhabitants in 1975 to around 25,000 today. In the cultural sphere, the introduction of this volume of foreign population has created new living habits that have left the traditional model in the background.