Antonio as a civil settlement in the province of Tejas is generally recognized as the arrival of 16 families consisting of 55 immigrants from the Canary Islands. Map of Canary Islanders from Vera Cruz to Texas. Courtesy of Gerry Rickhoff and the Bexar County Clerk's Office. Image available on the. Canary Islands, autonomous community of Spain, established on August 10, , by statute of autonomy and consisting of an archipelago in.
Elevations above 2, feet have an appreciably cooler climate that supports stands of holly , myrtle , laurel , and other trees. The populations of Tenerife and Gran Canaria grew rapidly relative to those of the other islands in the 20th century. Canary Islands Spanish a distinct dialect of Spanish is spoken in the Canaries, and certain archaic words peculiar to the archipelago show Portuguese influences. Agriculture has long been the economic mainstay of the Canaries.
Wine from vines grown on unirrigated slopes formed the staple product until In that year a grape disease caused by phylloxera a plant louse attacked the vineyards, and viticulture was soon largely replaced by cochineal production.
The cochineal industry declined because of competition from synthetic dyes in the late 19th century and was replaced by the cultivation of bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, and other vegetables and fruits. Tomatoes are grown between November and April for export, and the cultivation of flowers and plants began in the late 20th century.
Cereal grains must largely be imported. Dry farming predominates on Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, while irrigation is widespread on Gran Canaria and Tenerife. The prevalence of minifundios , or small landholdings, has hindered the mechanization of agriculture on some of the islands. The tourist industry in the Canaries grew rapidly after , with an accompanying increase in the number of hotels and government-run inns.
Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife are the main ports of call during the peak tourist season, which falls between December and March. The Spanish government has encouraged investment in food-processing plants. The original inhabitants of the Canaries were the Guanches see Guanche and Canario ; now assimilated into the general population, they were a Berber people who were conquered by the Spanish in the 15th century.
During the 13th and 14th centuries Genoese, Majorcan, Portuguese, and French navigators visited the islands. Between and a Portuguese force subdued Gomera. Christopher Columbus replenished all four of his westbound fleets in the Canaries, which became an indispensable Spanish base on sea routes to the Americas. In Gen. Francisco Franco used the islands as the first base of the Nationalist revolt, going from there to Spanish Morocco. Canary Islands.
Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Introduction Geography History. Written By: Vicente Rodriguez. The autonomous community of the Canary Islands was established in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been the largest city in the Canaries since , except for a brief period in the s. In , a decree ordered that the capital of the Canary Islands be shared, as it remains at present. During the time of the Spanish Empire , the Canaries were the main stopover for Spanish galleons on their way to the Americas , which came south to catch the prevailing north-easterly trade winds.
The name Islas Canarias is likely derived from the Latin name Canariae Insulae , meaning "Islands of the Dogs", a name that was evidently generalized from the ancient name of one of these islands, Canaria — presumably Gran Canaria. According to the historian Pliny the Elder , the island Canaria contained "vast multitudes of dogs of very large size".
Alternatively, it is said that the original inhabitants of the island, Guanches , used to worship dogs, mummified them and generally treated them as holy animals. Other theories speculate that the name comes from the Nukkari Berber tribe living in the Moroccan Atlas, named in Roman sources as Canarii , though Pliny again mentions the relation of this term with dogs.
It is considered that the aborigines of Gran Canaria called themselves "Canarios". What is certain is that the name of the islands does not derive from the canary bird ; rather, the birds are named after the islands.
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the archipelago. Gran Canaria , with , inhabitants, is both the Canary Islands' second most populous island, and the third most populous one in Spain after Majorca and Tenerife.
The Canary Islands is the largest and most populated archipelago of the Macaronesia region. According to the position of the islands with respect to the north-east trade winds , the climate can be mild and wet or very dry.
Several native species form laurisilva forests. As a consequence, the individual islands in the Canary archipelago tend to have distinct microclimates. Those islands such as El Hierro , La Palma and La Gomera lying to the west of the archipelago have a climate which is influenced by the moist Canary Current. They are well vegetated even at low levels and have extensive tracts of sub-tropical laurisilva forest.
As one travels east toward the African coast, the influence of the current diminishes, and the islands become increasingly arid. Fuerteventura and Lanzarote , the islands which are closest to the African mainland, are effectively desert or semi desert.
Gran Canaria is known as a "continent in miniature" for its diverse landscapes like Maspalomas and Roque Nublo. In terms of its climate Tenerife is particularly interesting. The north of the island lies under the influence of the moist Atlantic winds and is well vegetated, while the south of the island around the tourist resorts of Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos is arid. The climate is tropical and desertic , moderated by the sea and in summer by the trade winds.
There are a number of microclimates and the classifications range mainly from semi-arid to desert. There also exists a subtropical humid climate which is very influenced by the ocean in the middle of the islands of La Gomera , Tenerife and La Palma , where the laurisilva forests grow. The seven major islands, one minor island, and several small islets were originally volcanic islands, 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 El Hierro, The Teide volcano on Tenerife is the highest mountain in Spain, and the third tallest 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. In the summer of a series of low-magnitude earthquakes occurred beneath El Hierro. These had a linear trend of northeast-southwest. This eruption produced gases and pumice, but no explosive activity was reported. The official natural symbols associated with Canary Islands are the bird Serinus canaria canary and the Phoenix canariensis palm.
Serinus canaria. Four of Spain's thirteen national parks are located in the Canary Islands, more than any other autonomous community. The parks are: . Teide National Park is the oldest and largest national park in the Canary Islands and one of the oldest in Spain.
Located in the geographic centre of the island of Tenerife, it is the most visited national park in Spain. In , it became the most visited national park in Europe and second worldwide.
The last regional election took place in May The islands have 14 seats in the Spanish Senate. Each of the seven major islands is ruled by an island council named Cabildo Insular.
Each island is subdivided into smaller municipalities municipios ; Las Palmas is divided into 34 municipalities , and Santa Cruz de Tenerife is divided into 54 municipalities. The international boundary of the Canaries is the subject of dispute between Spain and Morocco. Morocco's official position is that international laws regarding territorial limits do not authorise Spain to claim seabed boundaries based on the territory of the Canaries, since the Canary Islands enjoy a large degree of autonomy.
In fact, the islands do not enjoy any special degree of autonomy as each one of the Spanish regions is considered an autonomous community with equal status to the European ones.
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 not the case of the Canary Islands. The boundary determines the ownership of seabed oil deposits and other ocean resources.
Morocco and Spain have been unable to agree on a compromise regarding the territorial boundary, since neither nation wants to cede its claimed right to the vast resources whose ownership depends upon the boundary. In , for example, Morocco rejected a unilateral Spanish proposal. There are some pro-independence political parties, like the National Congress of the Canaries CNC and the Popular Front of the Canary Islands , but these parties are non-violent, and their popular support is almost insignificant, with no presence in either the autonomous parliament or the cabildos insulares.
Only 6. Before the arrival of humans, the Canaries were inhabited by prehistoric animals; for example, the giant lizard Gallotia goliath , the Tenerife and Gran Canaria giant rats ,  and giant prehistoric tortoises, Geochelone burchardi and Geochelone vulcanica. The islands may have been visited by the Phoenicians , the Greeks , and the Carthaginians. According to Pliny the Elder , Juba found the islands uninhabited, but found "a small temple of stone" and "some traces of buildings".
When the Europeans began to explore the islands in the late Middle Ages, they encountered several indigenous peoples living at a Neolithic level of technology. Although the prehistory 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 on the nearby North African coast.
Lancelotto Malocello settled on Lanzarote in The Majorcans established a mission with a bishop in the islands that lasted from to From there, they went on to conquer Fuerteventura and El Hierro. It was not a simple military enterprise, given the aboriginal resistance on some islands. Neither was it politically, since the particular interests of the nobility determined to strengthen their economic and political power through the acquisition of the islands conflicted with those of the states, particularly Castile, which were in the midst of territorial expansion and in a process of strengthening of the Crown against the nobility.
This refers to the early conquests carried out by the nobility, for their own benefit and without the direct participation of the Crown of Castile, which merely granted rights of conquest in exchange for pacts of vassalage between the noble conqueror and the Crown.
One can identify within this period an early phase known as the Betancurian or Norman Conquest, carried out by Jean de Bethencourt who was originally from Normandy and Gadifer de la Salle between and , which involved the islands of Lanzarote , El Hierro and Fuerteventura.
The subsequent phase is known as the Castilian Conquest, carried out by Castilian nobles who acquired, through purchases, assignments and marriages, the previously conquered islands and also incorporated the island of La Gomera around Royal conquest Conquista realenga. This defines the conquest between and , carried out directly by the Crown of Castile, during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs , who armed and partly financed the conquest of those islands which were still unconquered: Gran Canaria , La Palma and Tenerife.
This phase of the conquest came to an end in the year , with the dominion of the island of Tenerife, bringing the entire Canarian Archipelago under the control of the Crown of Castile. Despite Pope Nicholas V ruling that the Canary Islands were under Portuguese control, the crisis swelled to a revolt which lasted until with the final expulsion of the Portuguese.
This treaty recognized Castilian control of the Canary Islands but also confirmed Portuguese possession of the Azores , Madeira , and the Cape Verde islands , and gave the Portuguese rights to any further islands or lands in the Atlantic that might be discovered. After that, the Canaries were incorporated into the Kingdom of Castile. After the conquest, the Castilians imposed a new economic model, based on single-crop cultivation: first sugarcane ; then wine, an important item of trade with England.
In this era, the first institutions of colonial government were founded. Gran Canaria, a colony of the Crown of Castile since 6 March from , of Spain , and Tenerife, a Spanish colony since , each had its own governor. Lichen has been used for centuries to make dyes. This includes royal purple colors derived from roccella tinctoria, also known as orseille. 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 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. The most severe attack took place in , during the Dutch Revolt. A Dutch fleet of 74 ships and 12, men, commanded by Pieter van der Does , attacked the capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria the city had 3, of Gran Canaria's 8, 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. In the Barbary pirates attacked Lanzarote and La Gomera taking captives to be sold as slaves. The British were repulsed, losing almost men. It was during this battle that Nelson lost his right arm. The sugar-based economy of the islands faced stiff competition from Spain's Caribbean colonies.
Low sugar prices 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. During this time the Canarian-American trade was developed, in which Canarian products such as cochineal, sugarcane and rum were sold in American ports such as Veracruz , Campeche , La Guaira and Havana , among others. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Between and as many as 40, Canary Islanders emigrated to Venezuela.
Also, thousands of Canarians moved to Puerto Rico where 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. Sirera and Renn  distinguish two different types of expeditions, or voyages, during the period —, which they term "the Romantic period":. First are "expeditions financed by the States, closely related with the official scientific Institutions.
In this type of expedition, Sirera and Renn include the following travellers:. 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 — 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".
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. 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 organisations were a minority and fell easily to Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War. He joined the military revolt of 17 July which began the Spanish Civil War. Franco quickly took control of the archipelago, except for a few points of resistance on La Palma and in the town of Vallehermoso , on La Gomera.
Though there was never a war in the islands, the post-war suppression of political dissent on the Canaries was most severe. 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 organise until the late s, which experienced an upheaval of parties such as the Communist Party of Spain and the formation of various nationalist, leftist parties.
After the establishment of a democratic constitutional monarchy in Spain, autonomy was granted to the Canaries via a law passed in , with a newly established autonomous devolved government and parliament. In , the first autonomous elections were held.
The political capital of the archipelago did not exist as such until the nineteenth century. These cities boasted the first European institutions present in the archipelago, including Catholic bishoprics. The function of a Canarian city with full jurisdiction for the entire archipelago only exists after the conquest of the Canary Islands, although originally De facto , that is, without legal and real meaning and linked to the headquarters of the Canary Islands General Captaincy.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was the first city that exercised this function. This is because the residence of the Captain General of the Canary Islands was in this city during part of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This decision continued without pleasing the society of the island of Gran Canaria.
Finally, with the Statute of Autonomy of the Canary Islands in and the creation of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, the capital of the archipelago between Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife is fixed, which is how it remains today.
The Canary Islands have a population of 2,, inhabitants , making it the eighth most populous of Spain's autonomous communities. The Canarian population includes long-tenured residents and new waves of mainland Spanish immigrants, as well as foreign-born populations. Of these, the majority are from the Americas, mainly from Colombia 31, , Venezuela 66, and Cuba 41, There are also almost 40, people from Africa, the majority from Morocco 24, The population of the islands according to the data are: .
The Roman Catholic branch of Christianity has been the majority religion in the archipelago for more than five centuries, ever since the Conquest of the Canary Islands. There are also several other religious communities. Separate from the overwhelming Christian majority are a minority of Muslims.
El Hierro, the westernmost island, covers The whole island was declared Reserve of the Biosphere in Its capital is Valverde. Also known as Ferro, it was once believed to be the westernmost land in the world. It has been declared a Biosphere reserve by Unesco.
It has a population of , 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 metres 2, feet. Its capital is Puerto del Rosario. Gran Canaria has , inhabitants. The capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria , 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, metres 5, feet and Pico de las Nieves "Peak of Snow" 1, metres 6, feet. In the south of island are the Maspalomas Dunes Gran Canaria , these are the biggest tourist attractions. La Gomera has an area of Geologically it is one of the oldest of the archipelago. The insular capital is San Sebastian de La Gomera. Garajonay's National Park is located on the island. 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 The capital is Arrecife , with 56, inhabitants. La Palma, with 81, inhabitants covering an area of In addition, it is the second-highest island of the Canaries, with the Roque de los Muchachos 2, metres 7, feet as highest point. In addition, with , inhabitants it is the most populated island of the archipelago and Spain. The Teide , with its 3, metres 12, feet is the highest peak of Spain and also a World Heritage Site.
Tenerife is the site of the worst air disaster in the history of aviation, in which people were killed in the collision of two Boeing s on 27 March It was formed by the Canary hotspot. It is administrated by the municipality of Teguise. In La Graciosa officially became the eighth Canary Island. 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.
Water resources are also being overexploited, due to the high water usage by tourists. This is done in such degree that, according to European and Spanish legal regulations, the current situation is not acceptable. To address the problems, good governance and a change in the water use paradigm have been proposed.
These solutions depend largely on controlling water use and on demand management. As this is administratively difficult and politically unpalatable, most action is currently directed at increasing the public offer of water through import from outside; a decision which is economically, politically and environmentally questionable.
To bring in revenue for environmental protection, innovation, training and water sanitation a tourist tax was considered in , along with a doubling of the ecotax and restrictions on holiday rents in the zones with the greatest pressure of demand.
Repsol at the time said the area could ultimately produce , barrels of oil a day, which would meet 10 percent of Spain's energy needs. Among the islands, Tenerife has the largest number of tourists received annually, followed by Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. 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.
Consequently, some products are subject to additional VAT if being exported from the islands into mainland Spain or the rest of the EU. So Canarian time is one hour behind that of mainland Spain and the same as that of the UK, Ireland and mainland Portugal all year round. The number of tourists who visited the Canary Islands had been in 16,, and in the year 15,, The Canary Islands have eight airports altogether, two of the main ports of Spain, and an extensive network of autopistas highways and other roads.
For a road map see multimap. There are large ferry boats that link islands as well as fast ferries linking most of the islands. Both types can transport large numbers of passengers and cargo including vehicles. Fast ferries are made of aluminium and powered by modern and efficient diesel engines, while conventional ferries have a steel hull and are powered by heavy oil. A typical ferry ride between La Palma and Tenerife may take up to eight hours or more while a fast ferry takes about two and a half hours and between Tenerife and Gran Canaria can be about one hour.
The largest airport is the Gran Canaria Airport. The port of Las Palmas is first in freight traffic in the islands,  while the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the first fishing port with approximately 7, tons of fish caught, according to the Spanish government publication Statistical Yearbook of State Ports. Similarly, it is the second port in Spain as regards ship traffic, only surpassed by the Port of Algeciras Bay.
The port of Los Cristianos Tenerife has the greatest number of passengers recorded in the Canary Islands, followed by the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. However, the ocean liner broke apart after the course of several years and eventually sank beneath the surface.
The Servicio Canario de Salud is an autonomous body of administrative nature attached to the Ministry responsible for Health of the Government of the Canary Islands. The majority of the archipelago's hospitals belong to this organization: . Before the arrival of the Aborigines, the Canary Islands was inhabited by endemic animals, such as some extinct; giant lizards Gallotia goliath , giant rats Canariomys bravoi and Canariomys tamarani  and giant tortoises Geochelone burchardi and Geochelone vulcanica ,  among others.
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 taxa including the:. Terrestrial fauna includes geckos , 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 , Tenerife giant rat and Gran Canaria giant rat , are extinct, as are the Canary Islands quail , long-legged bunting , the eastern Canary Islands chiffchaff and the giant prehistoric tortoises; Geochelone burchardi and Geochelone vulcanica. 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 five different species of marine turtle that are sighted periodically in the islands, the most common of these being the endangered loggerhead sea 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 sea turtle on beaches in Fuerteventura, adding credibility to the theory. Marine mammals include the large varieties of cetaceans including rare and not well-known species see more details in the Marine life of the Canary Islands.
Hooded seals  have also been known to be vagrant in the Canary Islands every now and then. The Canary Islands were also formerly home to a population of the rarest pinniped in the world, the Mediterranean monk seal. Argyranthemum frutescens.
Canarina canariensis. Digitalis canariensis. Euphorbia canariensis. Lavatera acerifolia var. Spartocytisus supranubius. Some holidays of those celebrated in the Canary Islands are international and national, others are regional holidays and others are of insular character.
The official day of the autonomous community is Canary Islands Day on 30 May. The anniversary of the first session of the Parliament of the Canary Islands , based in the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife , held on 30 May , is commemorated with this day. The common festive calendar throughout the Canary Islands is as follows: .
In addition, each of the islands has an island festival in which it is a holiday only on that island in question. These are the festivities of island patrons saints of each island. Organized chronologically are: . The most famous festivals of the Canary Islands is the carnival. It is the most famous and international festival of the archipelago. The carnival is celebrated in all the islands and all its municipalities, perhaps the two busiest are those of the two Canarian capitals; the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife Tourist Festival of International Interest and the Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.