Three lithostratigraphic units have been distinguished in the volcanic succession of the basal complex of Fuerteventura Island. These units are, from bottom to top: the submarine volcanic group, the transitional volcanic group, and the subaerial volcanic group. These three groups record the submarine growth and emergence of the island. The volcanism is represented by ultra-alkaline and strongly alkaline igneous series. The igneous activity was due to the presence of an anomalous zone in the sublithospheric mantle, the low density of which also caused uplift of the Mesozoic oceanic crust. Two extensional phases and an intervening contractional phase developed coeval to the generation of the volcanic succession. The submarine volcanic group was deposited in the hanging wall basin of a large listric extensional detachment directed toward the SSW. The transitional volcanic group was syntectonic with respect to a late inversion of the listric detachment. Finally, the subaerial volcanic group resulted from a second episode of WNW extension. This study of the evolution of the basal complex of Fuerteventura serves as the basis for a tectonic model of submarine growth and emergence of volcanic islands.