24th June 1478. An army under the command of General Juan Rejón sent by the Kingdom of Castile set up a military camp next to the mouth of the Guiniguada ravine. That was the starting point of what later became the first city founded by the Crown of Castile in the Atlantic. This event took place a few years before Christopher Columbus’ trip to the American continent. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria served as an example to build up hundreds of cities in America, from the Patagonia to the United States.
Six years later, once ended the conquest of Gran Canaria, the colonization started with the distribution of lands, the introduction of the sugarcane, and the production of sugar destined for European Markets. This event caused the city to turn from a military camp to a flourish town, and that the city gives a step towards its growth to the commercial neighbourhood of Triana with the building of the first port where Parque San Telmo currently stands.
For centuries, the capital of Gran Canaria was limited to these two areas,Vegueta and Triana, which were surrounded by walls that served as defence against the several pirate raids it suffered through the XVI and XVII centuries. Among them, 27 English vessels commanded by John Hawkins and Francis Drake, In October of 1595; and the raid and partial destruction of the city, in 1599, by the Dutch under command of Vice Admiral Pieter Van der Does who burnt the most representative buildings.
The industry of the cochineal and the construction of the new port in the nineteenth century take the city from its long slumber of previous centuries, cushioned only by the innovations of the Enlightenment. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria begins to expand into the bay of La Isleta, and to the current Port of La Luz, whose construction in 1883 led to the modernisation of the city
The second half of the twentieth century, turned the city into the cradle of the tourist development of the Canaries. Hotels and apartments were built to reinforce the urban infrastructures, inherited from the previous century with spas and seasonal occupancy apartments. The foreign tourism began to come and society gave another turn. The activity of the Port of La Luz led to new changes after becoming a priority international base port, making the city the economical centre of the archipelago. Since then, the city has never stopped growing in population, nor modernity, nor social influence.
Discover our history at the Museum of the City and the Sea, located in the Castle of Mata!