Conquest of Lanzarote (Canary Islands) 1402-1405

In 1402, Norman adventurer Jean de Bethencourt (Betancourt, Bettencourt) sold his house in Paris, equipped an expedition, departed from La Rochelle on May 1st,landed on Lanzarote June 30th. Here they began, with the permission of King Guardafia, the native ruler of the area, the construction of a fort called Rubicon. While de Bethancourt returned to Spain to obtain recognition for his (future) Lordship of the Canary Islands from the King of Castile. His lieutenants quarrelled with each other; a skirmish on November 25th 1402 resulted in Fort Rubicon being sacked and a number of native Guanches being captured. On 10 Jan 1403 Bethencourt was solemnly invested by Henry III, King of Castile, with the government of the Canary Islands.
The conquest of Lanzarote was completed in 1405; in that year, Hierro was also conquered 1405; the population, Guanches, despite having submitted, was treated as slaves, the land parcelled and granted to Normans and Castilians. Two kings of Fuerteventura converted to christianity. An expedition to Gran Canaria in October 1405 was unsuccessful.
Fort Rubicon (Rubicense) became seat of a bishopric and served as an early capital.

Jean de Bethencourt, from Bettencourts 1200-1900
Article Teneriffe, from Catholic Encyclopedia
History of Lanzarote, from Lanzarote Island

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 10th 2004, last revised on November 16th 2004

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