The village of Santa María de Betancuria was founded by the Norman conquerors in 1404, during the conquest of the island. Betancuria and El Rubicon in Lanzarote were the first places founded by the Europeans in the Canaries .
However, in the year 1593 they suffered some pirates attacks which burned and destroyed the main buildings. The first buildings in Betancuria were a defensive tower called Val Tarajal and a chapel where the conqueror put a virgin that he had brought from France. Today, these buildings do not exist .
After the conquest it became the center of the island and the European and aboriginal people that survived the process of the conquest settled down there, imposing an economy based on harvesting and the trade of orchilla (a plant used to make soap). The main civil, religious and military authorities moved to Betancuria too.
The church of Santa Maria was built about 1410. It was the only one on the island until the eighteenth century. In 1416, the Franciscans monks opened a convent ruled by San Buenaventura who became the patron of the island.
Then new chapels appeared in differeent parts of the island between XVI to XVIII centuries. Until the XVIII century the economy of Betancuria and the island was based on cereals and livestock (above all goats) and it depended on the weather conditions, that is, if it rained, there were good crops and they could even export but if it didn´t rain, it could make people migrate.
Because of that, the population in some parts of the island (Antigua, Tetir, Pájara,Casillas del Ángel and Tuineje) decreased. In XVIII century, Betancuria began to lose its “ power” because other parts of the island were becoming important.
The island was first divided into 8 municipalities: La Oliva, Tetir, Puerto Cabras, Casillas del Angel, Antigua, Tuineje, Pajara y Betancuria. In the XX century it was divided again into 6 municipalities as it is today: Pajara, Tuineje, Antigua, Betancuria, Puerto del Rosario, y La Oliva.