History of La Graciosa
All the guides tell us that it was Jean de Bethencourt who named La Graciosa when he first beheld its beauty in 1402. But apparently this guiding myth ‘…is without foundation as the name appears in documents prior … the incorporation of Lanzarote to the crown of Castile …
In 1634 .. the council passed a resolution to lease the little island to the highest bidder to take cattle pasture for periods of one year, but without prejudice to the recognized right of citizens to go hunting puffins, rabbits (also very abundant), fish and shellfish….
In the final decades of the (16th)century, the archipelago waters were infested with pirates of various flags…
La Graciosa was ‘... once a popular hideout for pirates and an English privateer is said to have buried a pot of gold somewhere between the white dunes and the striking volcanic cones. This treasure has continued to attract adventurers and romantics and the island was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s bestseller ‘Treasure Island’. The gold, however, has yet to be found…’
Needless to say, Alexander von Humboldt did not come to dig for gold when he first set foot on Las Conchas beach. His ship was grounded and he was not amused about this unscheduled stopover en route to South America. But when he had climbed the peak of Aguja Grandes he was apparently more than amused by La Graciosa, ‘I find myself overcome by an indescribable feeling of happiness…’ he wrote in his logbook 17 June 1799.
‘Graciosa is situated near one of the worlds most abundant fish banks, the inhabitants main source of income ... and it was the reason why Caleta del Sebo was founded in the middle of the XIX century. …’
turismolanzarote.com (ESP EN DE FR)
At the ‘…end of the 19th Century the United States wanted to lease the island as a fishing base, and in 1986 the entire island became part of a nature reserve.’
'All attempts to open up the former pirate hideout for mass tourism have failed thanks to the opposition of the nearly 600 residents. Thus, investors had to abandon plans to build a large casino, and the absurd idea to connect the island by cable car to Lanzarote also never got off the ground…'