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The estimated age of Fuerteventura as an island is some 18-20 million years. The earliest formation is thought to be Tindaya, reckoned by its material which differs significantly from that of the rest of the island. The mountain Tindaya is a large lump of Trachite, whereas the Betancuria massif is Basalt based. One million years is along time and although not populated by humans, Fuerteventura was the home to many species of plants and animals that we will never guess how they looked or grew. However, there is one instant that has left its traces.
The Canary Islands had been known for many centuries and have been visited by the Phoenicians, Romans, Carthaginians, and Egyptians and very much later by the Portuguese. The original inhabitants of Fuerteventura remained in between isolated from Europe and the rest of the world for almost 1500 years.
The term for the original settlers is Guanche. Evidence from archaeological findings indicates a close link with the Cro Magnons of N. Africa and more specific to the Barbary and Libyan areas.
20 Dec 1978. Tourist Boat sinks close to Fuerteventura.
The tourist boat “Poseidon” sunk on its way back to Lanzarote, overwhelmed by high waves due to stormy conditions. The boat carried 30 passengers and 2 crew members; only 21 survived.
The tourists were returning from a one-day visit on Fuerteventura. Weather conditions were bad and wind gusts of 7 Beaufort were hitting the sea. Upon their way back the rudder broke due to an overload of high waves and shortly after that a stern wave capsized the 15ton vessel (see picture). As the security measures failed, all passengers had to swim for about 3 km to the shore. Many of the survivors suffered injuries.