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Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Las Palmas

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago. The archipelago consists of seven major islands, one minor island, and several small islets. They are of volcanic origin and can be found in the North Atlantic Ocean. These islands are located just off the coast of the north-western portion of the African continent/mainland, nearest the political divide of Morocco and Western Sahara. They form the autonomous community of the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands were formed by the Canary hotspot. The status of capital city is shared by the two cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The city of La Laguna in Tenerife (World Heritage Site) is the third city of the archipelago. Also the Teide is A World Heritage Site.

The islands were known to the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans, and are mentioned in a number of classical sources. For example, Pliny the Elder describes a Carthaginian expedition to the Canaries, and they may have been the Fortunate Isles of other classical writers. King Juba, the Roman protegee, dispatched a contingent to re-open the dye production facility at Mogador in the early 1st century AD. That same naval force was subsequently sent on an exploration of the Canary Islands, using Mogador as their mission base.

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. 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 Mallorca, Portugal, and Genoa. Lancelotto Malocello settled on the island of Lanzarote in 1312. The Mayorcans established a mission with a bishop in the islands that lasted from 1350 to 1400.


Tenerife is, with its 2,034 km², the most extensive island of the Canaries. In addition, the 865,071 inhabitants make it the most populated island in Spain. Two of the archipelago's principal cities ar elocated on it: Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristóbal de La Laguna (World Heritage Site). Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital and seat of the Parliament of Canaries and of the Chapter of Tenerife. The Teide, with its 3,718 m is the highest peak of Spain and also A World Heritage Site.

Gran Canaria is the province of Las Palmas' most populated island, with 815,379 inhabitants. The capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (377,203 inhabitants), share 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 the Peak of Snow (1,949 m), the two highest points of the 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. Being also the most ancient of the islands, it is the one that is more eroded: its heighest point is the Peak of the Bramble, at a height of 807 m. Its capital is Puerto del Rosario.

La Palma, with 85.933 inhabitants, covering an area of 708,32 km ² 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 scond-highest island of the Canaries, with the Roque de los Ninos (2.423 meters) as highest point. Santa Cruz de La Palma is its capital.

Lanzarote, is the most oriental island and one of the most ancient of the archipelago, though with a volcanic recent activity. It(he,she) has a surface of 845,94 km ², and a population of 132.366 inhabitants. The capital is Arrecife, with 56.834 inhabitants.

El Hierro, is the most western island, with 268,71 km ² is simultaneously that the smallest of the major islands and least populated with 10.558 inhabitants. The whole island was declared Reserve of the Biosphere in 2000. Its capital is Valverde.

La Gomera, has a surface of 369,76 km2 and is the least populated third island, with 22.259 inhabitants. Geologically she is one of the most ancient of the archipelago. The insular capital is San Sebastian de La Gomera. In La Gomera one finds Garajonay's National Park.

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