1700 - 1900
Gradually life seems to have become a little more stable, with the creation in the 1700s of six new parishes. The Militia Regiment was created in 1708, and its colonel assumed the powers of Governor of Arms, (a position held for life) and inheritance in the hands of the Sánchez-Dumpiérrez family, which would acquire more and more power.
In 1739, war broke out between Great Britain and Spain, and the island was again subjected to constant British pirate attacks. On October 13, 1740, an English privateer docked in present-day Gran Tarajal and plundered the area while on his way to the church in Tuineje. Colonel Sánchez Dumpiérrez met with several locals and recruited them for this special occasion to defend their home from British invaders. Together, the majoreros defeated the British pirates in the Battle of El Cuchillete of 1740, killing 33 of the 53 landed soldiers and capturing the rest. The following month in November, more pirates came to try again and failed once again when they faced a much larger and better-prepared majorero resistance in the Battle of Tamasite, in which the majoreros, to put it lightly, did not take prisoners.
The "colonels" of the Cabrera Bethencourt family, moved their residence from Betancuria to La Oliva, in 1742, settling in the famous Casa de los Coroneles ("House of the Colonels"). La Oliva, after the colonels made it their home, would become the military heart of Fuerteventura. For more than a century, marriages were arranged between the colonels’ family members, effectively forming a closed circle; and the Cabrera Bethencourts, aware of the death of feudalism, would now enter politics as civil servants, keeping up to date with the changing times. The Casa de Los Coroneles still stands as a testament to La Oliva’s past military splendour.
In 1812, the revolutionary first national assembly to claim sovereignty in Spain, known as the Cortes de Cádiz, during the Peninsular War, began a series of changes including the official final abolition of feudalism in Fuerteventura, integrating the island into the new Spanish 'province' of the Canary Islands.
These Cádiz Courts also announced the division of the islands into "municipios" or counties, establishing one in Fuerteventura for each existing parish at that time. At the time, Fuerteventura's municipalities were Antigua, Betancuria, Casillas del Ángel, La Oliva, Pájara, Tetir and Tuineje. The slowly emerging port town of Puerto Cabras was dependent on the municipality of Tetir.
Years later, on New Year's Eve 1834, by Governmental Order, the municipality of Puerto Cabras was created and would function as its own county with Lázaro Rugama Nieves as its first mayor. The hereditary position of the colonels passed that year to the Lara-Cabrera family, who would maintain it until 1870. Slowly, the island's political institutions would start to move to Puerto Cabras, and eventually it replaced Betancuria as the capital of Fuerteventura in 1860.
One notable character who lived during the 1800's in Fuerteventura was that of Dr. Mena, Fuerteventura's first professionally trained doctor, renowned for his vital humanitarian work on the island. Dr. Mena's home in La Ampuyenta is currently a museum dedicated to his memory.
Before dying, Doctor Mena asked that a hospital be built in his hometown of La Ampuyenta. Work on the so-called "Hospitalito de Ampuyenta" began in 1901, but despite there being enough money to complete it, construction was brought to a halt. The building was left abandoned for many years, and sadly never served its purpose. Thankfully, the "Hospitalito" was restored in 2014, and the Island Cabildo declared it a historical heritage site. If it had ever served its purpose, it would have been Fuerteventura's very first hospital.
For more information check Zebcast Historia below.