History Part 2
The description of the islands given by the engineer Torriani at the end of the 16th century includes a map of Fuerteventura showing La Oliva, the port of El Toston, and the Corralejo cove in the north. By the 17th century, El Roque, Los Lajares, Caldereta, Vallebrón, Tindaya, Villaverde, Mascona, Peñaerguida, etc., located inland and satellites of the central plain in which La Oliva is situated, were inhabited places where agriculture was also the main trade.
The lethargy that marked the period after the Conquest was broken in the 18th century when the Colonels moved their residence from Betancuria to La Oliva (1742). This was the time when the Señores experienced a decline in the power that they had held during both the Middle Ages, under the feudal system, and a large part of the Modern Age. The Crown began to join forces to counterbalance the power of the Señores. The Arias de Saavedra family, which had inherited the Señorío of Fuerteventura from generation to generation, did not live on the island as they had moved to Tenerife in the 17th century. With this as a background, the military power also held by the Señor of the island was gradually transferred to the Colonels. The privileged position of the Señores was not so important in military terms, given that they were gradually losing authority in this field. At the end of the 16th century, the arrival of the first Captain General in the Canary Islands meant that the defence of the island began to be taken over by the Crown, which appointed the sergeant majors. Later on, in 1708, the Regiment of the Militias was created, and the Colonel assumed important powers as the Gobernador de las Armas (Military Commander). These powers expanded to take in other socio-economic areas as consequence of the repeated absences of the successive Señores who were living on other islands. The fragile economic situation of Fuerteventura's citizens and protests about the lack of protection afforded by the Señor were taken advantage of by representatives of the Crown in the Canaries. The Marquis of Vallehermoso tried to get concessions and demonstrations by Fuerteventura's citizens in favour of the power of the Crown and against the Señor Territorial
In the 18th century the Colonels not only held military power but they also obtained civil authority, appointing and dismissing officials of the Island Cabildo government and thus becoming the real owners of the land and holding the reins of economic power.