The Canary Islands – Spanish Archipelago - The Traveller


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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Canary Islands – Spanish Archipelago

Canary Islands
The Canary Islands also known as the Canaries are a Spanish archipelago which is situated off the northwest coast of Africa mainland around 100 kilometres west of the southern border of Morocco. The Canaries are one of the 17 autonomous communities of Spain and among the exterior region of the proper European Union.

The islands from the largest to the smallest include Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, La Graciosa, Alegranza, Isla de Lobos, Montana Clara and Roque del Oeste. The islands has a population of 2 million wherethe major island have well developed communication system, ports and airport making the Canary Islands a major European tourist destination.

The population is a mixture of Spanish, European – British and German, South American, especially Venezuelan and Cuban together with Northern and sub-Sahara African. Besides these, there are also a small section of historical minorities like Indian, Russians and Koreans.

Tenerife is the largest and the most popular island of the archipelago while Gran Canaria has around 865,070 inhabitants and is both the Canary Island’s second most popular island as well as the third most popular one in Spain after Majorca. Fuerteventura Island is the second largest in the archipelago which is located 100 m from the African coastline.

The Volcanic Islands – Steep Ocean Cliffs

With the Azores, Cape Verde, Madeira and the Savage Isles, the islands form the Macaronesia ecoregion. The archipelago also comprises of seven large together with several smaller islands which are volcanic in origin.

The originally volcanic islands were formed by the Canary hotspot and is the only place in Spain where volcanic eruptions which have been recorded during the Modern Era. On Tenerife, the Teide volcano is the highest mountain in Spain and also the third tallest volcano on Earth on a volcanic ocean island.

 Four of the islands namely Tenerife, La Palma and El Hierro have historical records of eruption since the European discovery and all the islands with the exception of La Gomera have been active in the past years.

The volcanic islands like those in the Canary chain have steep ocean cliffs which are the result of catastrophic debris, landslides and avalanches.

Less Rivers or Source of Fresh Water

Since there are less rivers or sources of fresh water, clean drinking water has been a problem on the island besides other problems with regards to erosion, depletion of nearby marine life as well as the general degradation of coast and tourist locations.

 The seven islands for some time were considered the poorest regions of Spain and has begun to prosper bringing the Canaries closer to the mainland which only decades ago was an afterthought to mainland Spain.

The Canary Islands are very European, modern and liberal. Ancient legend considered the Canary Islands as the lost islands of Atlantis and has been referring it as the land without sorrow, holding on to the edge of the world.

The first to arrive and settle there on the island were the North Africans in the 10th century BC; who were known as Phoenicians. During the 14th century, the Canary Islands were invaded continuously by various European countries.

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