Its construction began in the early 14th Century, although its current appearance has come through various reconstructions. Like all the castles in the Canary Islands had a defensive function.
Lanzarote was always a treasure trove for privateers and pirates. Santa Barbara Castle was created with the goal of protecting the island from their attacks. Hundreds of battles were fought here, but in modern times, the pirates have disappeared. The castle now homes a Piracy Museum which offers an extensive tour through the close relation between this criminal activity and the Canary Islands.
Why the Canary Islands? Why does the archipelago have such importance in the piracy world? Everything is down to the geographic location of the islands. Pirates used the Archipelago as a key stop-off on their routes towards America. Many of the pirates that became infamous for their atrocities in the Caribbean began their life of criminality in the Canary Islands.
As a result, the goal of the Piracy Museum is to bring this period in Canarian history closer to its visitors. There are different exhibitions which allow us to connect with Lanzarote during that era, when Villa de Teguise was the capital and home to most of the island’s population, who were besieged by continuous attacks for centuries.
The Museum also takes us back to look at the most infamous pirates through the years, as well as the different weapons that were used in their attacks: pistols, swords, cannons, etc. Not to be forgotten are the powerful ships that tried to resist their attacks.
A pleasant, educational, and highly recommended visit through the bowels of a 14th Century castle converted into a museum.