History

The single biggest factor behind Arrecife’s lack of pizzazz is that, despite being a port since at least the 15th century (its two castles date from 1574 and 1799), it only became the island’s capital in 1852. Until then, Teguise ruled supreme, though the Arrecife area was lived in from the 16th century – initially mostly by fishers and merchants who inhabited local caves. By the close of the 18th century, a semblance of Arrecife town had taken uncertain shape around the harbour. As commerce grew and the threat of sea raids dropped off in the 19th century, the city thrived and the move of the island’s administration to Arrecife became inevitable.