Lighthouses in The Canary Islands
Maspalomas Lighthouse is one of 18 historical heritage lighthouses in the Canary Islands. A further 32 modern lighthouses without historic value make up the network of Canary Islands lighthouses.
Eighteen historic lighthouses were built in the Islands from 1864 (Punta de Jandía, Fuerteventura) to 1954 (Entallada, Fuerteventura). Unlike later lighthouses, the early constructions were built on top of or next to a building equipped to house one or more keepers and their families. The keepers were responsible for the good working order of the lighting infrastructure. The buildings were elegant yet robust constructions, whose façades were made in part from finely cut stonework, combining the durability of the building with an interest in the architectural trends of the time.
The need to equip the coasts of the Islands with sufficient lighting to guide shipping was vital to be able to receive the increasingly large fleet of merchant ships in the archipelago. This was partly due to the Islands becoming Free Ports in the second half of the 19th century, making the Canary Islands a strategic point on commercial voyages to Europe, Africa and America due to the colonial economy of the time. The lighthouse infrastructure was also vital to improve shipping between the Islands. As a result, in the second half of the 19th century the Canary Islands were equipped with significant lighthouse infrastructure on the more difficult points of the coastline to aid the ships that either docked in the Islands or sailed past them. These lighthouses have survived to our times virtually intact, becoming part of the Islands’ rich architectural heritage.