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Information about the Canary Islands Spain Information about the Canary Islands

General Facts:
Territory:Spanish
Government:Spanish Autonomous Region
Capital City:Las Palmas de Gran Canaria - population: 356.000
Country:Spain
Total territory:7.447 Km²
Total coastline:1.583 Km
Sea:Atlantic Ocean
Nearest Continent:Africa
Distance to the nearest continent:90 Km
Distance to Europe:1.250 Km
Biggest Island:Tenerife
Highest mountain:Teide, Tenerife: 3.718 meter
Climate:Sub-tropical, Passat winds, Gulf Stream
Time zone:GMT Casablanca Monrovia
Population:1.843.755 (2003)
Life expectancy:77,6 years
Tourists/floating population:10 Million per year
Religion:Roman Catholic
Language:Spanish, but English is widely understood
International dialling code:+34
Local currency:Euro €
Flag:The Canarian flag

Canary Islands Map


The Spanish island group Islas Canarias, divided by the two provinces Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, with at the North of Lanzarote the small islets of the Chinijo Archipelago (Archipiélago Chinijo). The Canary Archipelago (Archipiélago Canario) consists of seven main islands and six small islets of which only La Graciosa is inhabited.

The names of the islands:
Province Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.
Province Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Isla de los Lobos.
Chinijo Archipelago (Archipiélago Chinijo): La Graciosa, La Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste.

The origins of the Canary Islands are by no means clear, however we do know the islands are estimated to be 40 million years old and created by three big volcanic eruptions in the Atlantic Ocean. The Canary Islands were first discovered by ancient Greek and Roman seafarers, yet it was not until the early 1400's that anyone made a serious attempt to conquer the Canaries.

In 1312 the first explorer Lancelotte Malocello from Genoa landed on a island, which later will be called Lanzarote. After that it stayed quiet for almost a century. In 1402, the French explorer Jean de Béthencourt led an expedition to the islands, landing first on the North side of Lanzarote, from there he conquered Fuerteventura and El Hierro. Béthencourt also established a base on the island of La Gomera but it would be many years before the island was truly conquered. Later Christopher Columbus visited the islands several times, as a rest place on his way to explore America. The people of La Gomera as well as the people of Gran Canaria, Tenerife and La Palma, resisted the Spanish invaders who came later for almost a century. By 1495 the islands had fallen to Spanish rule.

The Canary Islands were declared a province of Spain in 1821 and Tenerife's Santa Cruz was made the capital, in 1927 Madrid made the decision to officially separate the Canaries into two provinces. The Canaries are Spanish territory with a Autonomous government and are until 2007 outside European Union customs territory, though politically within the EU.

The volcanic islands are named Canaria because of the large numbers of wild dogs (Latin: canis=dog) roaming the islands. The bird Canary (serinus canarius) was named after the island. Canary bird, named after the Canary Islands

The islands are situated in the Atlantic Ocean between the latitudes 27° 38' and 29° 24' North and between Longitudes 13° 20' and 18° 19' West, on a distance to the African coast of 90 Km. This area of the Atlantic Ocean is called Macronesia and consists of five groups (archipelagos) of islands: The Azores, Canarias, Cape Verde, Madeira and Islas Salvajes (between Madeira and the Canaries). The Canary group is the region with the most coastlines of Spain and counts 1.583 Km.

The local Canarian time is GMT Casablanca, the same as the time in London, but one hour less than the time of the mainland of Spain.

The Canarian Flag
The Canarian Flag

The Canarian Coat of Arms
The Canarian Coat of Arms




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