Land of sailors and pirates, the island of La Graciosa was already considered a strategic location for expeditions in the Canary Islands between the 15th and 19th centuries. In fact, it was widely known to Barbary and European pirates, to whom it provided a safe haven during their raids across the Atlantic.
The history of La Graciosa began many centuries ago, but much of the island’s memory begins with the first settlements of inhabitants, who, against all odds, managed to put down roots in Caleta de Sebo and Pedro Barba, the only two population centers of La Graciosa.
The first settlements in La Graciosa
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the island of La Graciosa began to have its first stable population in Caleta de Sebo. The first people to settle on the island came from Lanzarote, specifically from the towns of Haría and Teguise.
In 1910 La Graciosa had 169 inhabitants, a population that continued to grow due to fishing activity and later thanks to the sector that currently drives the island’s economy: tourism. Although its growth is not exponential, it must be taken into account that La Graciosa is still an island without asphalt, where the care of the environment is essential for its conservation.
La Graciosa: the eighth island of the Canary archipelago
It is of great importance to note that, in 2018, the island of La Graciosa managed to be recognized as the eighth island of the Canary archipelago. A fact that for the Gracioseros (the inhabitants of La Graciosa) meant having decision-making power at the institutional level.
Currently, the island has 718 inhabitants distributed mostly in Caleta de Sebo, and the island’s economy is mainly based on tourism, a sector that attracts tens of thousands of tourists a year to discover the island’s unparalleled beauty.
Luckily, getting to the island stopped being an odyssey a few years ago, as it can now be easily reached by ferry from Órzola (Lanzarote), which has a journey of 25 minutes every hour.