The island with soul has lots to tell us because it takes many years, decades and millenniums to be attain such a strong identity as El Hierro has.
The island has historically been known by many different names before arriving at its current one. Ombrion, Capararia, Pluvialia, Eseró or Hero were some of the most well-known. However, there is no doubt that Meridian Isle is the name that hides the greatest and most famous story. This name is supposed to have been given by Ptolemy, a Greco-Roman astronomer who, in the 2nd century AD, situated the prime meridian in the extreme west of the island, exactly coinciding with Punta de Orchilla on El Hierro. It would remain like that for centuries, until it was moved to Greenwich in 1884.
The first settlers
The island's first recorded settlers were the bimbaches or bimbapes, a native tribe that lived on the island at least from the year 120 AD until it was conquered by Juan de Bethencourt for the Kingdom of Castile. The bimbaches or bimbapes left us numerous petroglyphs, such as those in El Julan, where they are most extensive and meaningful and where we can also see remains of the ancient meeting placed called Tagoror.
They lived in caves or simple stone dwellings, in balance with their island environment, from which they obtained sufficient resources for subsistence. Agriculture, farming, hunting, fishing and gathering were their usual activities.
The Role of the Kingdom of Castile
Later, the Kingdom of Castile paid French-Basque mercenaries to conquer it. As of that time, the lands and other resources were no longer divided up equally but were distributed using a feudal system.