The Canaries - Islands of Eternal Spring
The Canary Islands, which together with Madeira, Cape Verde and the Azores
make up the region of Macaronesia, were once considered the end of the world,
because until the time of Cristóbal Colón (Columbus) no more western piece of
land had been seen than the Canary Island El Hierro. At first the archipelago
was called Insulae fortunae (= islands of happiness), but after some seafarers
left dogs on the islands and these had reproduced, the Roman scholar Pliny named
one of these islands, Gran Canaria, after the Latin word for dog (=
Canis). This name was carried over to all the islands that were now only known
as Islas Canarias (= dog islands).
The Canary Islands, with a total area of 7,446.95 km², are only about two
hours by plane from Spain's mainland in the eastern central Atlantic and spreads
out about 100 kilometers off the West African coast. An estimated 10 million
people visit the volcanic archipelago every year and admire the incredible
diversity of the islands, which since December 2006 have been among the marine
areas of the International Maritime Organization IMO that have been specially
protected. Every single island has its own face, its own character. While
on Tenerife, incidentally the highest island in the whole Atlantic Ocean, with
the 3,718 meter high Pico del Teide, the highest mountain in Spain sits
enthroned, Lanzarote inspires with almost unreal vegetation and Gran Canaria with
an oversupply of white sandy beach romance. The jagged Canary West Islands with
their lush green and black rocky beach stand opposite the flat East Islands,
where the vegetation is poor, but the beaches are white. Climatically, however,
all islands are equally blessed. The oceanic location close to the equator
ensures that there are only slight temperature differences between winter and
summer and between day and night. So it is pleasantly warm even in winter and
not uncomfortable and cold like on Mallorca or Ibiza. With such blessings, the
Canaries are the only island kingdom that has spring conditions all year round.
If you choose the Canary Islands as your next holiday destination, you can look
forward to: wonderful climatic conditions, warm, blue and clean water, diverse
vegetation with primeval forests, moon-like landscapes and secluded bays, small
villages in which you can see the cultural charm of the past in every building
can read - all of this is Canarian.
This page only applies to the Canary Islands. Although these belong to Spain and
therefore do not form a country of their own, they are so popular as a tourist
destination that we have dedicated a separate presentation to them. Information
about Spain here >>>.
|Name of the islands
||Las Islas Canarias (German: Canary Islands)
|Form of government
(autonomous since August 16, 1982)
||Paulino Rivero Building (CC)
||The Canary Islands, which are known to belong to
Spain, are geographically included in Africa.
They are located in the eastern Atlantic Ocean about 100 km off the West
African coast and near Morocco.
||The Canaries do not have their own anthem, but use the Spanish
anthem "La Marcha Real".
||about 2.1 million (Credit:
||83.5% Spaniards (called Canarios or Canarias)
16.5% foreigners (mainly Germans, English and Italians)
||90% of the population are Roman Catholic Christians. The rest are
Protestant Christians and Muslims.
||Spanish (Castellano) is the official language.
In the Canary Islands, however, a certain dialect is spoken that is
comparable to Cuban.
Furthermore, parts of the Guanche, the language of the Canarian natives,
are still preserved.
The most famous example of this is the whistling language El Silbo on
the island of La Gomera.
||Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with approx. 383,500 residents
Santa Cruz de Tenerife with approx. 222,300 residents
||Approx. 7,446.95 km². The area of the seven main islands is:
- Tenerife 2,034 km²
- Fuerteventura 1,660 km²
- Gran Canaria 1,560 km²
- Lanzarote 846 km²
- La Palma 708 km²
- La Gomera 370 km²
- El Hierro 269 km²
||Pico del Teide with a height of 3,718 meters. The mountain on
Tenerife is also the highest mountain in Spain.
|International license plate
||Euro (€) = 100 cents
|Time difference to CET
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) applies to the entire Canary Islands.
It should be noted that from April to October there is a changeover to
summer time and the time is then GMT + 1 (= CET).
|International phone code
|Mains voltage, frequency
||220 V, 50 Hz
|Internet Top Level Domain (TLD)
Canary Islands: history
First settlements and the Spanish conquest
After the references to the first settlement history of the Canary Islands
only allow speculations about their time, but were certainly started by North
African Berber tribes, there is already more verifiable background knowledge for
the 15th century. Because in 1402 the Norman nobleman Jean de Béthencourt
(1362-1425) began the conquest of the Canaries together with his henchman
Gadifer de la Salle. This was ordered by the Castilian King Heinrich III., Who
put forward religious reasons, but in reality probably had very tangible
economic motives. Béthencourt, who first landed on Lanzarote, could not conquer
all the islands. In fact, the capture of the entire archipelago lasted almost a
hundred years and didn't end until 1496, when Alonso Fernández de Lugo
(1456-1525) was able to claim the island of Tenerife for himself. Since that
time the Canaries belong to (Castile or) Spain.
Abbreviationfinder website, the capture of the island empire for Castile had severe effects on the Canarian indigenous people, the Guanches. Their culture, which was still in the
Stone Age, was almost completely lost, which was partly due to the harsh
suppression of the European conquerors and partly to the Guanches' own interest
in renewal. The old Canarians were forcibly Christianized by the new island
rulers, resettled within the islands, sold as slaves or assimilated under great
pressure. The result of this forced adaptation was that the native population
has adapted predominantly to the Spanish culture and language. How fast and
comprehensive this process was can be seen in the equality order from 1514,
which legally raised the Guanches to the same level as the Spaniards.
From the 16th century until today
The islands, which economically followed the European feudal system,
experienced an immense intensification of agricultural cultivation in the 16th
century, with sugar cane in particular dominating. After the sugar industry
began to slide into a severe crisis, the company switched to the introduction of
crops such as corn and potatoes.
The Canary Islands opened up in the 19th century through a trade-off with
England and France. In particular, this provided for the export of red cochineal
dye. In 1852 the Canary Islands were finally declared a free trade area.
After the dictator Franco died in Spain in 1975, the Canary Islands and Spain
turned into a parliamentary democracy. And just seven years later, the Canary
Islands received their autonomous status. Since 1986 the islands (with Spain)
belong to the European Community.