The mahos: the old settlers of Fuerteventura
The mahos: the old settlers of Fuerteventura

The mahos: the old settlers of Fuerteventura

Have you ever wondered why Fuerteventura is known as the island of Majorera and its inhabitants are called Majoreros? The name comes from the Mahos, one of the first settlers of the Canary Island.

Who were the mahos?

Also known as majos, they were the first inhabitants of the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura before the European conquest of the fifteenth century. Although there was no distinction between the inhabitants of the islands, at the moment the inhabitants of Lanzarote and majoreros are nicknamed those of Fuerteventura.

The real origin of the name maho or majo is unknown, since historians and authors of different times consider different meanings. Before the fifteenth century, the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote were called Maoh and from here would come the name mahorero. Others claim that it comes from the type of footwear they used, made of leather and called a mahorero.

However, the most widespread theory and that gains more strength is that the inhabitants of the islands are called Majorero due to their trade. They were men who worked in the fields and were winners, a translation into Spanish of the term majorero.

What were the mahos like?

The mahos dedicated their day to livestock, agriculture, gathering and fishing. The goat, like today, was the most important animal species of Fuerteventura. Of these, they took advantage of the meat and milk with which they produced cheese and butter to make their dishes.

As for agriculture, the barley crop that turned into gofio stood out. They mixed it with milk, water or butter and it was part of their diet. This dish has gone from decade to decade to become one of the most important and typical of the majorera gastronomy.

To prepare these foods and carry out the work, the majoreros used and made bone and stone tools and ceramic utensils.

Housing and other buildings

The majoreros of Fuerteventura lived in constructions of circular plant known as “casa honda“. They consisted of walls of large stones that the settlers completed with clays, smaller stones and shells.

In addition, they built other buildings such as temples or shelters for animals. In Fuerteventura they still exist and you can visit them. They are large volcanic stone walls that the aborigines used as corrals to safeguard the cattle.

These are not the only vestiges that the first settlers left in Fuerteventura. The Dunes of Corralejo, La Pared de Jandía, the Barranco de Tinojay or the Montaña de la Muda are some of the archaeological sites where the majoreros lived and take us back to that time.



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