The Canary Islands are an archipelago of seven main islands and two smaller islands, all of volcanic origin in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of north-west Africa, and form an autonomous community of Spain.
The name Canary comes from the Latin “canis” (dog) given the large amount of wild dogs (called Presa Canario or Dogo Canario) who populated the archipelago.
Some scientific data date the first settlements of the “Guanche” people, around 200 BC.
The “Guanche” were tall and strong build, with fair eyes and hair.
The settlers came around 1400 by the Normans and later by Spaniards.
The main Canarian ports were used by all European settlers who went to the New World; the presence of Columbus in the Canaries is documented.
The islands from largest to smallest are:
- Tenerife (capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife);
- Fuerteventura (capital Puerto del Rosario);
- Gran Canaria (capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria);
- Lanzarote (La Graciosa) (capital Arrecife);
- La Palma (capital Santa Cruz de la Palma);
- La Gomera (capital San Sebastián de la Gomera);
- El Hierro (Valverde capital).