Canary Islands: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Canary Islands

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Canary Islands
Islas Canarias
—  Autonomous Community  —
Mount Teide (Tenerife), the symbol of the islands [1]
Flag of Canary Islands
Coat-of-arms of Canary Islands
Coat of arms
Location of Canary Islands
Country Spain Spain
Capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife
and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
 - President Paulino Rivero (CC)
Area (1.5% of Spain; Ranked 13th)
 - Total 7,447 km2 (2,875.3 sq mi)
Population (2009)[2]
 - Total 2,098,593
 Density 281.8/km2 (729.9/sq mi)
 - Pop. rank 8th
 - Ethnic groups 85.7% Spanish, (Canarian
and Peninsulares), 14.3%
foreign nationals
ISO 3166-2 ES-CN
Anthem Arrorró
Official languages Spanish
Statute of Autonomy August 16, 1982
Parliament Cortes Generales
Congress seats 15
Senate seats 13 (11 elected, 2 appointed)
Website Gobierno de Canarias

The Canary Islands (pronounced /kəˈneəriː ˈaɪləndz/; Spanish: Islas Canarias, pronounced [ˈizlas kaˈnaɾjas]; 28°06′N 15°24′W / 28.1°N 15.4°W / 28.1; -15.4Coordinates: 28°06′N 15°24′W / 28.1°N 15.4°W / 28.1; -15.4) are a Spanish archipelago which, in turn, forms one of the Spanish Autonomous Communities and an Outermost Region of the European Union. The archipelago is located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the disputed border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The sea currents which depart from Canary's coasts used to lead ships away to America.[3] The islands from largest to smallest are: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, Alegranza, La Graciosa and Montaña Clara.

Canary Islands currently has a population of 2,098,593 inhabitants, making it the eighth most populous of Spain's autonomous communities, with a density of 281.8 inhabitants per km². Tenerife is its most populous island with approximately one million inhabitants; the island of Gran Canaria is the second most-populous. The total area of the archipelago is 7447 km².[4][5][6] It also enjoys sub-tropical climate with longer hot days in summer and cool in winter.[7]

The status of capital city is shared by the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,[8][9] which in turn are the capitals of the provinces of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas. Until 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the only capital.[8][9] The third largest city of the Canary Islands is San Cristóbal de La Laguna (City World Heritage Site) on the island of Tenerife.[10][11][12]



The name Islas Canarias is likely derived from the Latin term Insula Canaria, meaning "Island of the Dogs", a name applied originally only to Gran Canaria. It is speculated that the so called dogs were actually a species of Monk Seals ("sea dog" in Latin) now extinct.[13] The dense population of seals may have been the characteristic that most struck the few ancient Romans who established contact with these islands by sea. The connection to dogs is retained in their depiction on the islands' coat-of-arms (shown above).

The original inhabitants of the island, guanches used to worship dogs, mummified them and treat dogs generally as holy animals. In the ancient times the island was well known about its people who worshipped dogs there, and when the Romans first visited the island, they gave it the name: 'canaari', which means in Latin: "the ones who worship dogs", or "the ones with dogs". The ancient Greeks also knew about a people, living far in the west, who are the "dog-headed ones", who worship dogs on an island. Some theorize that the Canary Islands dog-worship and the ancient Egyptian cult of the dog-headed god, Anubis are in close connection, but there is no explanation as to which one was first, and how is it possible for those two far areas to be in contact with each other.[citation needed]


Map of the Canary Islands
Hacha Grande, a mountain in the south of Lanzarote, viewed from the road to the Playa de Papagayo.

Physical geography

The islands and their capitals are:

Island Capital
Tenerife Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Gran Canaria Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Lanzarote Arrecife
La Palma Santa Cruz de La Palma
La Gomera San Sebastián de La Gomera
El Hierro Valverde
Fuerteventura Puerto del Rosario
La Graciosa (Lanzarote) Caleta de Sebo

Tenerife, with 865,070 inhabitants, is both the Canary Islands' and Spain's most populous island. Tenerife is also the largest island of the archipelago. The island of Fuerteventura is the second largest in the archipelago and located 100 km from the African coast.

The islands form the Macaronesia ecoregion with the Azores, Cape Verde, Madeira, and the Savage Isles. The archipelago consists of seven large and several smaller islands, all of which are volcanic in origin.[14] The Teide volcano on Tenerife is the highest mountain in Spain, and the third largest volcano on Earth on a volcanic ocean island. All the islands except La Gomera have been active in the last million years; four of them (Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma and El Hierro) have historical records of eruptions since European discovery. The islands rise from Jurassic oceanic crust associated with the opening of the Atlantic. Underwater magmatism commenced during the Cretaceous, and reached the ocean's surface during the Miocene. The islands are considered as a distinct physiographic section of the Atlas Mountains province, which in turn is part of the larger African Alpine System division.

According to the position of the islands with respect to the NE trade winds, the climate can be mild and wet or very dry. Several native species form laurisilva forests.

Four of Spain's thirteen national parks are located in the Canary Islands, more than any other autonomous community. In the early 90's, there were only five Spanish national parks, four of them being the Canarian parks, and the other one Doñana. The parks are:

Park Island
Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente La Palma
Garajonay National Park La Gomera
Teide National Park Tenerife
Timanfaya National Park Lanzarote


The originally volcanic islands –seven major islands, one minor island, and several small islets– were formed by the Canary hotspot. The Canary Islands is the only place in Spain where volcanic eruptions have been recorded during the Modern Era, with some volcanoes still active (even though recently inactive).[15]

Political geography

Municipalities in the Las Palmas Province
Municipalities in the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Province
Maps of the Canary Islands drawn by William Dampier during his voyage to New Holland in 1699.

The Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands consists of two provinces, Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, whose capitals (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife) are capitals of the autonomous community. Each of the seven major islands is ruled by an island council named cabildo insular.

The international boundary of the Canaries is the subject of dispute between Spain and Morocco. Morocco does not agree that the laws regarding territorial limits allow Spain to claim for itself seabed boundaries based on the territory of the Canaries, because the Canary Islands are autonomous. In fact, the islands do not enjoy any special degree of autonomy as each one of the Spanish regions is considered an autonomous community. Under the Law of the Sea, the only islands not granted territorial waters or an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are those that are not fit for human habitation or do not have an economic life of their own, which is clearly not the case of the Canary Islands.

The boundary is relevant for possible seabed oil deposits and other ocean resource exploitation. Morocco therefore does not formally agree to the territorial boundary; it rejected a 2002 unilateral Spanish proposal.[16]

The Islands have 13 seats in the Spanish Senate. Of these, 11 seats are directly elected, 3 for Gran Canaria, 3 for Tenerife, 1 for each other island; 2 seats are indirectly elected by the regional Autonomous Government. The local government is presided over by Paulino Rivero Baute.[17]


Ancient and pre-colonial times (The Guanches)

King Juba, Augustus's Roman protege, is credited with discovering the islands for the Western world, and he dispatched a contingent to re-open the dye production facility at Mogador in the early 1st century AD.[18] That same naval force was subsequently sent on an exploration of the Canary Islands, using Mogador as their mission base. Before the arrival of the aborigines, the Canaries were inhabited by prehistoric animals; for example, the giant lizard (Lacerta goliath and Lacerta maxima), or giant rats (Canariomys bravoi and Canariomys tamarani).[19]

When the Europeans began to explore the islands, they encountered several indigenous populations living at a Neolithic level of technology. Although the history of the settlement of the Canary Islands is still unclear, linguistic and genetic analyses seem to indicate that at least some of these inhabitants shared a common origin with the Berbers of northern Africa.[20] The pre-colonial inhabitants came to be known collectively as the Guanches, although Guanches was originally the name for the indigenous inhabitants of Tenerife.

During the Middle Ages, the islands were visited by the Arabs for commercial purposes. Muslim navigator Ibn Farrukh, from Granada, is said to have landed in "Gando" (Gran Canaria) in February 999, visiting a king named Guanarigato. From the 14th century onward, numerous visits were made by sailors from Majorca, Portugal, and Genoa. Lancelotto Malocello settled on the island of Lanzarote in 1312. The Majorcans established a mission with a bishop in the islands that lasted from 1350 to 1400.

Alonso Fernández de Lugo presenting the captured native kings of Tenerife to Ferdinand and Isabella

Castilian conquest

There are claims that the Portuguese had discovered the Canaries as early as 1336, though there appears to be little evidence for this.[21] In 1402, the Castilian conquest of the islands began, with the expedition of Jean de Béthencourt and Gadifer de la Salle, nobles and vassals of Henry III of Castile, to the island of Lanzarote. From there, they conquered Fuerteventura and El Hierro. Béthencourt received the title King of the Canary Islands, but still recognized King Henry III as his overlord.

Béthencourt also established a base on the island of La Gomera, but it would be many years before the island was truly conquered. The natives of La Gomera, and of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, and La Palma, resisted the Castilian invaders for almost a century. In 1448 Maciot de Béthencourt sold the lordship of Lanzarote to Portugal's Prince Henry the Navigator, an action that was not accepted by the natives nor by the Castilians. A crisis swelled to a revolt which lasted until 1459 with the final expulsion of the Portuguese. Finally, in 1479, Portugal recognised Castilian control of the Canary Islands in the Treaty of Alcáçovas.

The Castilians continued to dominate the islands, but due to the topography and the resistance of the native Guanches, complete pacification was not achieved until 1495, when Tenerife and La Palma were finally subdued by Alonso Fernández de Lugo. After that, the Canaries were incorporated into the Kingdom of Castile.

After the conquest

After the conquest, the Castilians imposed a new economic model, based on single-crop cultivation: first sugar cane; then wine, an important item of trade with England. In this era, the first institutions of colonial government were founded. Both Gran Canaria, a colony of Castile since March 6, 1480 (from 1556, of Spain), and Tenerife, a Spanish colony since 1495, had separate governors.

The cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria became a stopping point for the Spanish conquerors, traders, and missionaries on their way to the New World. This trade route brought great prosperity to some of the social sectors of the islands. The islands became quite wealthy and soon were attracting merchants and adventurers from all over Europe. Magnificent palaces and churches were built on the island of La Palma during this busy, prosperous period. The Church of El Salvador survives as one of the island's finest examples of the architecture of the 16th century.

The Canaries' wealth invited attacks by pirates and privateers. Ottoman Turkish admiral and privateer Kemal Reis ventured into the Canaries in 1501, while Murat Reis the Elder captured Lanzarote in 1585.

Church of San Juan Bautista, Arucas

The most severe attack took place in 1599, during the Dutch War of Independence. A Dutch fleet of 74 ships and 12,000 men, commanded by Johan van der Does, attacked the capital, Las Palmas (the city had 3,500 of Gran Canaria's 8,545 inhabitants). The Dutch attacked the Castillo de la Luz, which guarded the harbor. The Canarians evacuated civilians from the city, and the Castillo surrendered (but not the city). The Dutch moved inland, but Canarian cavalry drove them back to Tamaraceite, near the city.

The Dutch then laid siege to the city, demanding the surrender of all its wealth. They received 12 sheep and 3 calves. Furious, the Dutch sent 4,000 soldiers to attack the Council of the Canaries, who were sheltering in the village of Santa Brígida. 300 Canarian soldiers ambushed the Dutch in the village of Monte Lentiscal, killing 150 and forcing the rest to retreat. The Dutch concentrated on Las Palmas, attempting to burn it down. The Dutch pillaged Maspalomas, on the southern coast of Gran Canaria, San Sebastian on La Gomera, and Santa Cruz on La Palma, but eventually gave up the siege of Las Palmas and withdrew.

Another noteworthy attack occurred in 1797, when Santa Cruz de Tenerife was attacked by a British fleet under the future Lord Nelson on 25 July. The British were repulsed, losing almost 400 men. It was during this battle that Nelson lost his right arm.

18th to 19th century

The sugar-based economy of the islands faced stiff competition from Spain's American colonies. Crises in the sugar market in the 19th century caused severe recessions on the islands. A new cash crop, cochineal (cochinilla), came into cultivation during this time, saving the islands' economy.

By the end of the 18th century, Canary Islanders had already emigrated to Spanish American territories, such as Havana, Veracruz, Santo Domingo,[22] San Antonio, Texas [23] and St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana [24][25] These economic difficulties spurred mass emigration, primarily to the Americas, during the 19th and first half of the 20th century. From 1840 to 1890, as many as 40,000 Canary Islanders emigrated to Venezuela. Also, thousands of Canarians moved to Puerto Rico; the Spanish monarchy felt that Canarians would adapt to island life better than other immigrants from the mainland of Spain. Deeply entrenched traditions, such as the Mascaras Festival in the town of Hatillo, Puerto Rico, are an example of Canarian culture still preserved in Puerto Rico. Similarly, many thousands of Canarians emigrated to the shores of Cuba as well.[26] During the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Spanish fortified the islands against possible American attack, but an attack never came.

The Romantic period and scientific expeditions

Coast El Golfo, El Hierro

Sirera and Renn (2004)[27] distinguish two different types of expeditions, or voyages, during the period 1770-1830, which they term "the Romantic period”:

First are “expeditions financed by the States, closely related with the official scientific Institutions. characterized by having strict scientific objectives (and inspired by) the spirit of Illustration and progress”. In this type of expedition, Sirera and Renn include the following travellers:

  • the British citizen Edens (1715) who ascends Mount Teide and publishes his story in Philosophical Transactions.
  • Louis Feuillée (1724), who was sent to measure the meridian of El Hierro and to map the islands.
  • Charles Borda (1771, 1776) who more accurately measured the longitudes of the islands and the height of Mount Teide
  • the Baudin-Ledru expedition (1796) which aimed to recover a valuable collection of natural history objects.

The second type of expedition identified by Sirera and Renn is one that took place starting from more or less private initiatives. Among these, the key exponents were the following:

Sirera and Renn identify the period 1770-1830 as one in which “In a panorama dominated until that moment by France and England enters with strength and brio Germany of the Romantic period whose presence in the islands will increase”.

Early 20th century

Panorama of the La Orotava Valley with Teide in the background

At the beginning of the 20th century, the British introduced a new cash-crop, the banana, the export of which was controlled by companies such as Fyffes.

The rivalry between the elites of the cities of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife for the capital of the islands led to the division of the archipelago into two provinces in 1927. This has not laid to rest the rivalry between the two cities, which continues to this day.

During the time of the Second Spanish Republic, Marxist and anarchist workers' movements began to develop, led by figures such as Jose Miguel Perez and Guillermo Ascanio. However, outside of a few municipalities, these organizations were a minority and fell easily to Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War.

Franco regime

Parliament of the Canary Islands (Santa Cruz de Tenerife)

In 1936, Francisco Franco was appointed General Commandant of the Canaries. He joined the military revolt of July 17 which began the Spanish Civil War. Franco quickly took control of the archipelago, except for a few points of resistance on the island of La Palma and in the town of Vallehermoso, on La Gomera. Though there was never a proper war in the islands, the post-war repression on the Canaries was most severe.[citation needed]

During the Second World War, Winston Churchill prepared plans for the British seizure of the Canary Islands as a naval base, in the event of Gibraltar being invaded from the Spanish mainland.

Opposition to Franco's regime did not begin to organize until the late 1950s, which experienced an upheaval of parties such as the Communist Party of Spain and the formation of various nationalist, leftist parties.


Auditorio de Tenerife, icon of architecture of Tenerife of the Canary Islands.

After the death of Franco, there was a pro-independence armed movement based in Algeria, the MPAIAC. Now there are some pro-independence political parties, like the CNC and the Popular Front of the Canary Islands, but none of them calls for an armed struggle. Their popular support is insignificant, with no presence in either the autonomous parliament or the cabildos insulares.

After the establishment of a democratic constitutional monarchy in Spain, autonomy was granted to the Canaries via a law passed in 1982. In 1983, the first autonomous elections were held. The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) won. In the most recent autonomous elections (2007), the PSOE gained a plurality of seats, but the nationalist Canarian Coalition and the conservative Partido Popular (PP) formed a ruling coalition government.[28] Still, the 1977 bombing of a flower shop in Las Palmas Gando airport and the threat of another bomb, both claimed by an pro-indepence group, led to the major air disaster in Los Rodeos airport in Tenerife, which claimed hundreds of victims, the deadliest result of an indepence group bombing and threats unsurpassed by 2009.


Demographics of the Canary Islands (2009) [29]
Nationality Population Percent

Canarian 1,547,611 73.7%
Mainland Spanish (Peninsulares) 178,613 12.0%
Total Spanish 1,802,788 85.7%
Spanish-born 1,726,315 85.7%
Foreign nationals 301,204 14.3%
Foreign-born 377,677 14.3%

Total 2,103,992 100%
Population history [30]
Year Population
1768 155,763
1787 168,928
1797 173,865
1842 241,266
1860 237,036
1887 301,983
1900 364,408
1920 488,483
1940 687,937
1960 966,177
1981 1,367,646
1990 1,589,403
2000 1,716,276
2008 2,075,968
2009 2,098,593
Figures between 1768-2008.

The Canarian population includes long-tenured and new waves of Spanish immigrants (including Galicians, Castilians, Catalans, Basques), and Portuguese, Italians, Flemings (Belgians) and Britons. As of 2009, the total Canarian population is 2,098,593. Over 1,547,611 people are native Canarian, and another 178,613 people from the Spanish mainland, making a total 1,799,373 Spanish population. Most of the 299,220 foreign residents are Europeans (55%), such as Germans (39,505), British (37,937) and Italians (24,177). There are 86,287 from the Americas, with Colombians (21,798), Venezuelans (11,958), Cubans (11,098) and Argentines (10,159) being the most numerous. There are 28,136 from Africa with 16,240 Moroccans.[31]

Population of the individual islands


Basilica of Candelaria (Patroness of the Canary Islands)[32],[33],[34],[35],[36] , in Candelaria (Tenerife).

The overwhelming majority of native Canarians are Roman Catholic with various smaller foreign born populations of other Christian beliefs such as Protestants from northern Europe and Africans following Islam. There is also an important community of Hindus. The appearance of the Virgin of Candelaria (Patron of Canary Islands)[32],[33],[34],[35],[36] in Tenerife phase starts in the Canary Islands to Christianity.

Canary Islands are divided into two Catholic dioceses, each governed by a bishop:

Population genetics



San Cristóbal de La Laguna in 1880 (Tenerife)

Tenerife is, with its area of 2,034 km², is the most extensive island of the Canary Islands. In addition, the 899,833 inhabitants make it the most populous island in Spain. Two of the islands' principal cities are located on it: Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristóbal de La Laguna (a World Heritage Site). Santa Cruz is the capital of Tenerife and seat of the Parliament of the Canary Islands. Santa Cruz de Tenerife shares the status of capital of the Canaries with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The Teide, with its 3,718 m is the highest peak of Spain and also a World Heritage Site. This island is in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Gran Canaria

Roque Nublo, Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria is the second most populated island, with 829,597 inhabitants. The capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (377,203 inhabitants), is the most populous city and shares the status of capital of the Canaries with Santa Cruz de Tenerife. In center of the island lie the Roque Nublo (1,813 m) and Pico de las Nieves ("Peak of Snow") (1,949 m), the two highest points of the island.

La Palma

La Palma, with 86,528 inhabitants, covering an area of 708.32 km² is in its entirety a biosphere reserve. It shows no recent signs of volcanic activity, even though the volcano Teneguía entered into eruption last in 1971. In addition, it is the second-highest island of the Canaries, with the Roque de los Muchachos (2,423 m) as highest point. Santa Cruz de La Palma is its capital.


Lanzarote, is the easternmost island and one of the most ancient of the archipelago, and it has shown evidence of recent volcanic activity. It has a surface of 845.94 km², and a population of 139,506 inhabitants including the adjacent islets of the Chinijo Archipelago. The capital is Arrecife, with 56,834 inhabitants.

Chinijo Archipelago

The Chinijo Archipelago includes the islands La Graciosa, Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste.

La Graciosa, is the smallest inhabited island of the archipelago, and the major island of the Chinijo Archipelago. The whole archipelago is administrated by Lanzarote. It has a surface of 29.05 km2 (11 sq mi), and a population of 658 inhabitants. The capital is Caleta de Sebo, with 656 inhabitants.

El Hierro

El Hierro, the westernmost island, covers 268.71 km², making it the smallest of the major islands, and the least populous with 10,753 inhabitants. The whole island was declared Reserve of the Biosphere in 2000. Its capital is Valverde, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Also known as Ferro, it was once believed to be the westernmost land in the world.


Fuerteventura Island

Fuerteventura, with a surface of 1,659 km², is the second-most extensive island of the archipelago, as well as the second most oriental. Is a Biosphere reserve by Unesco. It has a population of 100,929. Being also the most ancient of the islands, it is the one that is more eroded: its highest point is the Peak of the Bramble, at a height of 807 m. Its capital is Puerto del Rosario.

La Gomera

La Gomera, has an area of 369.76 km² and is the third least populous island with 22,622 inhabitants. Geologically it is one of the oldest of the archipelago. The insular capital is San Sebastian de La Gomera. Garajonay's National Park is here.


Tourism in the Canary Islands [37]
Year Visitors

2008 9,210,509
2007 9,326,116
2006 9,530,039
2005 9,276,963
2004 9,427,265
2003 9,836,785
2002 9,778,512
2001 10,137,202
2000 9,975,977
1993 6,545,396
Largest by
Country (2008)
Germany 2,498,847
Great Britain 3,355,942

The economy is based primarily on tourism, which makes up 32% of the GDP. The Canaries receive about 10 million tourists per year. Construction makes up nearly 20% of the GDP and tropical agriculture, primarily bananas and tobacco, are grown for export to Europe and the Americas. Ecologists are concerned that the resources, especially in the more arid islands, are being overexploited but there are still many agricultural resources like tomatoes, potatoes, onions, cochineal, sugarcane, grapes, vines, dates, oranges, lemons, figs, wheat, barley, maize, apricots, peaches and almonds.

The economy is 25 billion (2001 GDP figures). The islands experienced continuous growth during a 20 year period, up until 2001, at a rate of approximately 5% annually. This growth was fueled mainly by huge amounts of Foreign Direct Investment, mostly to develop tourism real estate (hotels and apartments), and European Funds (near € 11 billion euro in the period from 2000 to 2007), since the Canary Islands are labelled Region Objective 1 (eligible for euro structural funds). Additionally, the EU allows the Canary Islands Government to offer special tax concessions for investors who incorporate under the Zona Especial Canaria (ZEC) regime and create more than 5 jobs.

The combination of high mountains, proximity to Europe, and clean air has made the Roque de los Muchachos peak (on La Palma island) a leading location for telescopes like the Grantecan.

The islands are outside the European Union customs territory and VAT area, though politically within the EU. Instead of VAT there is a local Sales Tax (IGIC) which has a general rate of 5%, an increased tax rate of 12%, a reduced tax rate of 2% and a zero tax rate for certain basic need products and services (e.g. telecommunications).

Canarian time is Western European Time (WET) (or GMT; in summer one hour ahead of GMT). So Canarian time is one hour behind that of mainland Spain and the same as that of the British Isles and Portugal all year round.


For a road map see multimap.[38] A tram linking Santa Cruz bus station and La Laguna opened in 2007 and there are tentative plans for a train linking Santa Cruz and Los Cristianos.[39]


The official symbols from nature associated with Canary Islands are the bird Serinus canaria (Canary) and the Phoenix canariensis palm.[40]

Terrestrial wildlife

Laurisilva (humid subtropical forest) of Garajonay National Park, in La Gomera Island.

With a range of habitats, the Canary Islands exhibit diverse plant species. The bird life includes European and African species, such as the Black-bellied Sandgrouse; and a rich variety of endemic (local) species including the:

Terrestrial fauna includes geckos (such as the striped Canary Islands Gecko) and wall lizards, and three endemic species of recently rediscovered and critically endangered giant lizard: the El Hierro Giant Lizard (or Roque Chico de Salmor Giant Lizard), La Gomera Giant Lizard, and La Palma Giant Lizard. Mammals include the Canarian Shrew, Canary Big-Eared Bat, the Algerian Hedgehog (which may have been introduced) and the more recently introduced Mouflon. Some endemic mammals, the Lava Mouse and Canary Islands Giant Rat, are extinct, as are the Canary Islands Quail, Long-legged Bunting, and the Eastern Canary Islands Chiffchaff.

Marine life

A Loggerhead Turtle, by far the most common species of marine turtle in the Canary Islands.

The Marine life found in the Canary Islands is also varied, being a combination of North Atlantic, Mediterranean and endemic species. In recent years, the increasing popularity of both scuba diving and underwater photography have provided biologists with much new information on the marine life of the islands.

Fish species found in the islands include many species of shark, ray, moray eel, bream, jack, grunt, scorpionfish, triggerfish, grouper, goby, and blenny. In addition, there are many invertebrate species including sponge, jellyfish, anemone, crab, mollusc, sea urchin, starfish, sea cucumber and coral.

There are a total of 5 different species of marine turtle that are sighted periodically in the islands, the most common of these being the endangered Loggerhead Turtle.[41] The other four are the Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback and Kemp's Ridley Turtle. Currently, there are no signs that any of these species breed in the islands, and so those seen in the water are usually migrating. However, it is believed that some of these species may have bred in the islands in the past, and there are records of several sightings of leatherback turtle on beaches in Fuerteventura, adding credibility to the theory.

Marine mammals include the Short-Finned Pilot Whale, Common and Bottlenose dolphins. The Canary Islands were also formerly home to a population of the rarest Pinniped in the world, the Mediterranean Monk Seal.


A unique form of wrestling known as Canarian Wrestling (lucha canaria) has opponents stand in a special area called a "terrero" and try to throw each other to the ground using strength and quick movements.[42]

Another sport is the "game of the sticks" where opponents fence with long sticks. This may have come about from the shepherds of the islands who would challenge each other using their long walking sticks.[42]

Another sport is called the Shepard's jump. This involves using a long stick to vault over an open area. This sport possibly evolved from the shepard's need to occasionally get over an open area in the hills as they were tending their sheep.[42]

Notable athletes

One native of the Canary Islands played Major League Baseball: Alfredo Cabrera, born there in 1881; he played shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1913.

Another native of the Canary Islands plays in the National Basketball Association today: Sergio Rodríguez, born there in 1986; he plays point guard for the New York Knicks.

David Silva, born in Arguineguin (south of Gran Canaria, Mogan) plays for Valencia. Silva is regarded as one of the best attacking midfielders in the Spanish First Division, also being credited for his excellent football during the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship, helping the Spanish football team win the competition.

Carla Suárez Navarro a tennis player, was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

See also





Natural history

See:- Borgesen, F. 1929. Marine algae from the Canary Islands. III Rhodophyceae. Part II. Cryptonemiales, Gigartinales, and Rhodymeniales. Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskabs Biologiske Meddelelser. 8: 1 — 97.


  1. ^ Teide, symbol of the Canary Islands
  2. ^ "Official Population Figures of Spain. Population on the 1 January 2009". Instituto Nacional de Estadística de España. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  3. ^ "ViSioN BeTa: “Cualquier cosa que flote arrojada al mar desde Canarias, llegará a América”". 2006-07-11. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  4. ^ Estadísticas de la Comunidad Autónoma de Canarias
  5. ^ Cifra de población referida al 01/01/2008 según el Instituto Nacional de Estadística
  6. ^ Dracma, Tenerife.
  7. ^ "Canary Islands Weather and Climate". Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  8. ^ a b Real Decreto de 30 de noviembre de 1833 en wikisource
  9. ^ a b Real Decreto de 30 de noviembre de 1833 en el sitio web oficial del Gobierno de Canarias
  10. ^ Publiceuta S.L. (2009-01-05). "La Laguna. Guía turística de Tenerife. Tenerife, la isla de la eterna primavera". Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  11. ^ " tenerife unico casco urbano unidas santa cruz la laguna - Buscar con Google". Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  12. ^ "Dracma". Dracma. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  13. ^ Seals and Sea Lions Endangered Species Handbook
  14. ^ (Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,) José Mangas Viñuela, "The Canary Islands Hot Spot" This is the source for the geological history that follows.
  15. ^ Instituto Geográfico Nacional
  16. ^ "CIA World Factbook". 
  17. ^ "Gobierno de Canarias". 
  18. ^ C.Michael Hogan, Chellah, The Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham
  19. ^ Según la Página Web del Gobierno de Canarias
  20. ^ "Old World Contacts/Colonists/Canary Islands". 
  21. ^ B. W. Diffie,Treaty of Alcacovas in 1479 between Portugal and Spain. Foundations of the Portuguese Empire, 1415 -1580, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, p. 28.
  22. ^ "The Spanish of the Canary Islands"
  23. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online - Canary Islanders"
  24. ^ "Los Isleños Heritage & Cultural Society website"
  25. ^ "Isleños Society of St. Bernard Parish"
  26. ^ "The Spanish of the Canary Islands". 
  27. ^ Montesinos Sirera, Jose Luis and Jurgen Renn (2004) Expeditions to the Canary Islands in the romantic period (1770-1830)
  28. ^ "Website of the Canaries Parliament". 
  29. ^ Native and foreign residents in Canary Islands (Spanish) 2009
  30. ^ Official census statistics of the Canary Islands population
  31. ^ Native and foreign residents in Canary Islands (Spanish)
  32. ^ a b Patrona del archipiélago Canario Sitio web de las Siervas de los Corazones Traspasados de Jesús y María.
  33. ^ a b Pregón de las fiestas de la Virgen del Pino de 2004 a cargo de Juan Artiles Sánchez, Vicario de la Diócesis Canariense
  34. ^ a b Noticias breves en el sitio web de la Conferencia Episcopal Española
  35. ^ a b Historia ampliada del municipio de Candelaria en el sitio web del Gobierno de Canarias
  36. ^ a b Nota de prensa de Bernardo Álvarez Afonso, Obispo de la Sede Episcopal de San Cristóbal de La Laguna
  37. ^ Statistics
  38. ^ "Canary Islands road map: Spain - Multimap". Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  39. ^ "Canary Islands travel guide". Wikitravel. 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  40. ^ Ley 7/1991, de 30 de abril, de símbolos de la naturaleza para las Islas Canarias - in Spanish
  41. ^ The IUCN Amphibia-reptilia Red Data Book, Brian Groombridge and Lissie Wright. 
  42. ^ a b c "The Canary Islands". 1971-10-21. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 


  • Alfred Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (Cambridge University Press) ISBN 0-521-45690-8
  • Felipe Fernández-Armesto, The Canary Islands after the Conquest: The Making of a Colonial Society in the Early-Sixteenth Century, Oxford U. Press, 1982. ISBN 978-0-198-21888-3; ISBN 0-198-21888-5
  • Sergio Hanquet, Diving in Canaries, Litografía A. ROMERO, 2001. ISBN 84-932195-0-9
  • Martin Wiemers: The butterflies of the Canary Islands. - A survey on their distribution, biology and ecology (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea) - Linneana Belgica 15 (1995): 63-84 & 87–118 pdf

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Iberia : Spain : Non-Iberian Spain : Canary Islands

The Canary Islands [1] (Spanish: Islas Canarias) are an Atlantic territory of Spain on the west coast of Africa, near Morocco, Cape Verde and the archipelagos of the Azores Islands and Madeira Islands, both Portuguese territories.


The following major islands make up the Canary chain:

Province of Las Palmas is made up of:

  • Gran Canaria - The largest island by population, its capital city (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) is also the capital of the Canaries. Green and steep in the north, dry and flat in the south.
  • Fuerteventura - windsurfer's mecca
  • Lanzarote - low lying and arid, with a spectacular volcanic landscape in the west of the island (National Park of Timanfaya). The capital is Arrecife and has its own airport (ACE code).

Province of Tenerife s is made up of:

  • Tenerife - The biggest island of the Canaries. The Capital city is Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The island has two different airports. The highest mountain of Spain, El Teide. 3rd largest volcano in the world in extension. (Volcano 3718 meters high)
  • La Palma -
  • La Gomera - The Magic Isle - walker's paradise. Home to only remaining Laurisilva rain forest in northern Africa.
  • El Hierro - The edge of the world

Minor islands of note:


The islands have a population of 2 million. Since the Canary Islands are a major European tourist destination, all the major islands have well-developed communication systems, airports, and ports.

Ethnically the population is mostly a mix of Spanish, European (German and British) and South American, especially Cuba and Venezuela as well as Northern and Sub-Sahara African. There are also historical minorities such as Indians, Koreans and lately Russians.

Pico del Teide (on Tenerife) at 3718 metres above sea level is the highest point in both the Canary Islands and Spanish territory.

Each island speaks with a slightly different accent and there is a strong rivalry between the main islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Most of the canary islands accent is closer to Latin American spanish than Spain.

Very modern, very European and extremely liberal.

Get in

By plane

The Canaries is a popular destination with Europeans, and swarms of charter and discount flights descend on the island year round. The two airports (North/TFN & South/TFS) on Tenerife and the Gran Canaria Airport (LPA) are the busiest, but it's also possible to fly to many of the other islands, albeit it's often more expensive.

By Ferry

The Spanish company Naviera Armas [2] sails weekly from Portimão on mainland Portugal via Madeira (46 hours, including a few hours layover in Funchal). The company also began negotiations with Moroccan authorities to restore ferry connections between Morocco and the islands after the previous ferry sank, but progress so far has been stale and silent - apparently the big issue is a huge money warranty demanded by the Moroccan government for ferries to operate in it's ports, which Naviera is not prepared to pay.

Get around

By car

To rent a car is the best option for discovering the remote wilderness regions.

By train

A tram linking Santa Cruz bus station and La Laguna opened in in 2007 costing €2.35 return in about 40 minutes.

There are also tentative plans for a train linking Santa Cruz and Los Cristianos.

By bus

Buses are the most common method of public transportation around the islands. Mile per mile they are expensive while compared to mainland Spain but you are not going to travel really far away. We are, after all, islands. Most buses in touristic routes are adequate. Do not expect the drivers to know more than a couple of sentences in English or German, though they would try to be helpful.

By taxi

Taxis can be expensive, and inside a city they are not worth the money unless you are in a real hurry or cannot balance yourself after a shopping day. It is unlikely that you would be cheated.

By ship

If you want to travel between the islands a good option might be to take a ship if you are in any particular hurry, specially between close by islands. Most ferries are now quite modern and cheap. The most important companies are Fred Olsen, Transmediterránea and Armas.

By plane

If you are afraid of the sea, or get sick just by staring at a ship, then a plane is what you need, and that usually means a turboprop ATR-72 by one of the airlines like Binter or Islas Airways. They are perfectly safe and adequately fast as you are likely to spend more time at the airport than in the plane itself.

  • Paul Erice. There's a local website based on user opinions, mainly restaurants, that is useful  edit


Lanzarote: There is a bustling nightlife in four main resorts... Arrecife, Costa Teguise, Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca. Gran Canaria: The main resorts on the Island are Las Palmas, Maspalomas,Puerto Rico and Playa del Ingles.

Tenerife: The main resorts are Santa Cruz, Puerto de la Cruz, and Playa de las Americas.

Fuerteventura: The main resorts of Fuerteventura are Corralejo, Caleta de Fuste and Morro Jable.

  • The local fish is quite good.
  • The Canary Islands are Europe's only exporter of plantain bananas. They are famously delicious here.
  • Papas Arrugadas or papa sancochada - Potatoes boiled in very salty water until they are "wrinkly" -- hence the name -- and served with mojo picon, a spicy cold red sauce made with chili and garlic. These are often served as a tapa.
  • Gofio - Grain flour used especially at breakfast or to accompany potaje, a local stew.
  • Conejo en salmorejo
  • Miel de Palma - Palm honey.
  • Arepas , tortas made from fine corn flour filled with minced meat, cheese, or sweet mango.
  • Mousse de gofio or gofío amasado - a desert made from gofio, miel de palma, and plantains.
  • Wines. There are several branchs of wines in the islands. North of Tenerife, La Geria in Lanzarote or La Palma have very appreciated vineyards.
  • Rum. There are also well know rum factories, specially in Gran Canaria (Artemi and Arehucas). The 'ron miel' is a sweet liquor made from rum and honey.
  • Barraquito, also called barraco, is a coffee speciality from the Canary Islands and particularly popular on Tenerife but also on La Palma.[3]
  • Beer. There are three locals beer factories (Dorada, Tropical and Reina).

Stay safe

112 is the common emergency number.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Database error article)

From LoveToKnow 1911

(There is currently no text in this page)


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun

Canary Islands


Canary Islands

  1. An archipelago off the coast of north-western Africa, near Morocco and belonging to Spain.

See also

  • El Hierro
  • Fuerteventura
  • Gran Canaria
  • La Gomera
  • Lanzarote
  • La Palma
  • Tenerife


Simple English

Map of islands from Nasa

The Canary Islands is a group of islands off the coast of Morocco. They are an autonomous (they make their own laws) community of Spain. There are seven main islands. The people who live there speak Spanish. The autonomus community has two capital cities, of equal status: Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Every island has been created by volcanoes in the bottom of the sea. Those volcanoes slowly raised until they raised over the water and made the islands. This process lasted many thousands of years.

The islands have a very long and interesting history. When Europeans first came to the Canary Islands, they found people already living there. These people were called the Guanches. Many of the Guanches were killed in battles with the Spanish, and the ones who remained adopted the Spanish way of life. Many battles have been fought over who was to own the islands before Spain claimed them. After the Spanish conquest many battles were also fought against pirates. The most recent of countries interested in them was Morocco.

After the Spanish conquest many Europeans settled there. Portuguese and Spaniards, but also Belgians and Maltese were part of the early settlers. Recently many people from all over Europe, America, India and Africa have also became citizens or permanent residents

The seven islands are: La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura. People from La Gomera have a whistle language which children there learn at school. Tenerife has the highest mountain in Canary Islands and Spain too, the Teide. The Teide is actually a volcano, but it has not been active in more than 300 years.

The islands are popular with tourists because of their warm climate and nice beaches. The local farmers grow lots of exotic fruits including papayas and bananas.

a few of the Canary Islands main exports include bananas and tobacco

Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address