Archipelago history

History of the Canary Islands

Ancient times

The Canarian Archipelago has a unique history behind it. These islands of volcanic origin hide thousands of stories and legends that give them a unique magnetism, beyond its rich natural beauty and its insular condition. From the belief of being the remains of Atlantis itself, being the key point to march towards the New World and hold spectacular natural spaces, the Canary Islands are the perfect place to discover the coexistence between the rustic and modern times.

Before the European conquest, the Canary Islands were inhabited by their respective aborigines, although they are generally referred to as "Guanches". The Canarios, were in fact the population of Gran Canaria; the Majos, from Lanzarote and Fuerteventura; the Benahorita, from La Palma; the Bimbaches of El Hierro; and finally, the Guanches, from Tenerife. Due to its geographical location, the appearance of humans is related with Africa, since the archipelago is barely 120 km from that continent. The linguistic roots, the genetics and even the existence of place-names of Berber descent, being able to find places in Africa with similar names to those of the Canary Islands, verifies the African origin of the Canarian aborigines. The most defended theory says that the first inhabitants of the archipelago fled from the progressive desertification of the Sahara desert and the pressure of the Roman Empire on the African territory.

But what about its discovery? It is believed that the Archipelago was discovered by the Carthaginian explorer, Hannon the Navigator, on the first African circumvallation trip, in the year 570 BC. However, the first written reference to the Canary Islands was made by Pilino el Viejo, naming them Fortunatae Insulae or Fortunate Islands. For ten thousand years no information of the Canary Islands is reported, with the exception of the curious legend of "San Borondón", extended during Christian Europe, in which it is said how an unknown island appears and disappears after the thick fog near La Palm.

French navigators visited the Canaries in 1334. In 1344, Pope Clement VI grants Castile Islands
On the island of Lanzarote is the most unusual restaurant El Diablo. Food is cooked right above the mouth of an active volcano.
On the island of Tenerife is the highest point of Spain - the Teide volcano, rising to 3718 m
In Tenerife, every year a carnival takes place, which in luxury and scope can easily compete with the carnival in Rio de Janeiro
In the Canaries, the relict ancient Mediterranean flora has survived, which has disappeared from mainland Europe due to climate change.
There are 28 microclimatic zones on the island of Tenerife.
The only airport in the world that is powered solely by wind energy - the airport of the island of La Palma.
The municipality of Ingenio, Gran Canaria, produces the purest vodka in the world. Recipe for seven locks and visiting the plant is prohibited. The name of this drink is Blat.
The only coffee grown in Europe comes from Agaete on Gran Canaria. “Café Agaete” is one of the highest rated in the world.
Holidays in the Canaries are attractive all year round. At a time when it rains over the Mediterranean coast in winter, in the Canary Islands the temperature rarely drops below + 22 ... 24 °С
From Latin, the name of the islands Canariae Insulae literally translates as "Dog Islands".

Middle Ages

From the fifteenth century, Europe returned to be interested in the Canary Islands, beginning its conquest in 1402 with the expedition of the Normans, Jean de Bethencourt, and Gadifer de la Salle. However, the transformation of the aboriginal culture to a modern one, was carried out due to the Castilian conquest of the Archipelago, initiated by the Crown of Castile in 1477 and concluded in 1496. Thus, the aborigines were defeated by the Castilian army and converted , little by little, in citizens of the Kingdom of Castile. Later, there was a run of foreign pirate attacks that had the intention of invading the islands, but ended up being in vain.


The Spanish Conquest of the Guanches (1496)
Centuries later, after the Spanish Civil War, different styles of government and popular uprising, Spain was immersed under the Franco regime between 1939 and 1975: a radical right-wing government led by the leader, Franco. This ends up being succeeded, after the death of the general, by the democratic state that we know today. The Canaries, like the rest of the country, went through real shortcomings during political conflicts, the restrictions of the Franco regime and the desperate situation in which society found itself. Many emigrated to Cuba and Venezuela in search of a prosperous future and a better quality of life, hence their twinning with Latin American culture.


Currently, the Canary Islands play a fundamental role in the country's economy attracting millions of tourists every year. So, what are you waiting to be one of them? Do not miss the opportunity to discover for yourself why the Islands make people fall in love.