Canary Islands

Canary Islands

Islas Canarias  (Spanish)
Flag of Canary Islands
Canary Islands
Coat of arms
Map of the Canary Islands
Location of the Canary Islands within Spain
Coordinates: 28°N 16°W / 28°N 16°W / 28; -16

The Canary Islands (i/; Spanish: Islas Canarias, pronounced [ˈizlas kaˈnaɾjas]) is a Spanish archipelago and the southernmost autonomous community of Spain located in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Morocco at the closest point. The Canaries are among the outermost regions (OMR) of the European Union proper. It is also one of the eight regions with special consideration of historical nationality recognized as such by the Spanish Government.[5][6] The Canary Islands belong to the African Plate like the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, the two on the African mainland.[7]

The seven main islands are (from largest to smallest in area) Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. The archipelago includes much smaller islands and islets: La Graciosa, Alegranza, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste and Roque del Este. It also includes a series of adjacent roques (those of Salmor, Fasnia, Bonanza, Garachico and Anaga). In ancient times, the island chain was often referred to as "the Fortunate Isles".[8] The Canary Islands are the most southerly region of Spain and the largest and most populated archipelago of the Macaronesia region.[9] Historically, the Canary Islands has been considered a bridge between four continents: Africa, North America, South America and Europe.[10]

The archipelago's beaches, climate and important natural attractions, especially Maspalomas in Gran Canaria and Teide National Park and Mount Teide (a World Heritage Site) in Tenerife (the third tallest volcano in the world measured from its base on the ocean floor), make it a major tourist destination with over 12 million visitors per year, especially Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.[11][12] The islands have a subtropical climate, with long hot summers and moderately warm winters.[13] The precipitation levels and the level of maritime moderation vary depending on location and elevation. Green areas as well as desert exist on the archipelago. Due to their location above the temperature inversion layer, the high mountains of these islands are ideal for astronomical observation. For this reason, two professional observatories, Teide Observatory on the island of Tenerife and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, have been built on the islands.

The capital of the Autonomous Community is shared by the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,[14][15] which in turn are the capitals of the provinces of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Province of Las Palmas. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been the largest city in the Canaries since 1768, except for a brief period in the 1910s.[16] Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands. In 1927 a decree ordered that the capital of the Canary Islands be shared, as it remains at present.[17][18] The third largest city of the Canary Islands is San Cristóbal de La Laguna (a World Heritage Site) on Tenerife.[19][20][21] This city is also home to the Consejo Consultivo de Canarias, which is the supreme consultative body of the Canary Islands.[22]

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 northeasterly trade winds.[23][24]


The name Islas Canarias is likely derived from the Latin name Canariae Insulae, meaning "Islands of the Dogs", a name that was applied only to Gran Canaria. According to the historian Pliny the Elder, the Mauretanian king Juba II named the island Canaria because it contained "vast multitudes of dogs of very large size".[25]

Alternatively, it is said that the original inhabitants of the island, Guanches, used to worship dogs, mummified them and treated dogs generally as holy animals.[26] The ancient Greeks also knew about a people, living far to the west, who are the "dog-headed ones", who worshipped dogs on an island.[26] Some hypothesize that the Canary Islands dog-worship and the ancient Egyptian cult of the dog-headed god, Anubis are closely connected[27] but there is no explanation given as to which one was first.

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.[citation needed]

The connection to dogs is retained in their depiction on the islands' coat-of-arms.

It is considered that the aborigines of Gran Canaria called themselves "Canarios".[28] It is possible that after being conquered, this name was used in plural in Spanish, i.e., as to refer to all of the islands as the Canarii-as.[28]

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.

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Канар тӀыгухэр
Alemannisch: Kanarische Inseln
العربية: جزر الكناري
aragonés: Canarias
arpetan: Canaries
asturianu: Canaries
azərbaycanca: Kanar adaları
Bân-lâm-gú: Canaria Kûn-tó
башҡортса: Канар
беларуская: Канарскія астравы
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Канарскі архіпэляг
bosanski: Kanarska ostrva
brezhoneg: Kanariez
davvisámegiella: Kanáriasullot
dolnoserbski: Kanariske kupy
Ελληνικά: Κανάριες Νήσοι
español: Canarias
Esperanto: Kanarioj
estremeñu: Canárias
euskara: Kanariak
Fiji Hindi: Canary Islands
français: Îles Canaries
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Canaria Khiùn-tó
hornjoserbsce: Kanariske kupy
hrvatski: Kanari
Ido: Kanarii
Bahasa Indonesia: Kepulauan Canaria
interlingua: Canarias
íslenska: Kanaríeyjar
italiano: Isole Canarie
Basa Jawa: Kapuloan Canaria
kernowek: Canarias
Kreyòl ayisyen: Canaries
кырык мары: Канар ошмаотывлӓ
لۊری شومالی: میناڤٱیا قناری
latviešu: Kanāriju Salas
Lëtzebuergesch: Kanaresch Inselen
lietuvių: Kanarų salos
Ligure: Isoe Canaie
Lingua Franca Nova: Isolas Canario
македонски: Канарски Острови
Malagasy: Nosy Kanaria
მარგალური: კანარიშ კოკეფი
Bahasa Melayu: Kepulauan Canaria
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ကနေရီကျွန်းစု
Nedersaksies: Kanariese Eiloanden
Napulitano: Isule Canarie
Nordfriisk: Kanaaren
norsk nynorsk: Kanariøyane
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kanar orollari
پنجابی: کناری جزیرے
Piemontèis: Ìsole Canarie
português: Canárias
română: Insulele Canare
саха тыла: Канар арыылара
Sesotho: Canarias
Sesotho sa Leboa: Canary Islands
sicilianu: Ìsuli Canarii
Simple English: Canary Islands
slovenčina: Kanárske ostrovy
slovenščina: Kanarski otoki
српски / srpski: Канарска Острва
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kanari
Basa Sunda: Kapuloan Kanaria
svenska: Kanarieöarna
Tagalog: Canarias
tarandíne: Isole Canarie
татарча/tatarça: Канар утраулары
українська: Канарські острови
Tiếng Việt: Quần đảo Canaria
žemaitėška: Kanaru salas