I wouldn’t mind betting the you have, in the past, invested a holiday, or maybe also multiple holidays in the Canary Islands. And I’m certain you had a wonderful time. Yet you might well have actually looked as much as those soaring peaks and across the volcano soil and wondered around how it all came right into being. Just how were the archipelago themselves shaped, and who were the very first people to collection foot ~ above them? Well, if the Canary Islands’ history you’re looking for, you’ve concerned the right place.

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To obtain you started and also introduce you to the story of this fascinating archipelago, we thought we’d re-superstructure a few interesting, quirky facts around the history that the Canary Islands, including their geology and also their society and social histories.

If this whets her appetite, then there’s no much better way of detect out more about the Canary Islands’ background and society than to plan your an extremely own trip of discovery.

Canary Islands’ history: funny facts

These facts will certainly be fantastic for impressing your family or take trip buddies with over dinner ~ above your following trip to the Canaries.

1. The Canary island weren’t called after the birds…

… but the bird were named after the islands. If you’ve been questioning yourself after which pets are the Canary islands named, then you’ll it is in interested to understand that the name for the islands actually come from the Latin term because that the island, Insula Canaria, definition ‘Island of the Dogs’.

The jury is still out on exactly where that name came from, however many human being think it’s a result of the large population that ‘sea dogs’, as the Romans called them, living on the island at the time, which were in reality monk seals. These days, this seals can’t be found on the Canary archipelago anymore, together they’re critically endangered.

On the other hand, over there is a legend that the an initial inhabitants of these islands once worshipped dogs, so few of the more quickly visitors named the people ‘the ones v dogs’.


2. Canarian people have been inhabiting these islands because that at the very least 3000 years

And ~ above the subject of the Canary Islands indigenous people, castle were dubbed the Guanches. That been shown that they to be genetically similar to the Berber world that lived on the phibìc African mainland, and that they made it to the archipelago together far back as 1000 BCE, or probably earlier.

Interestingly, they to be the just native civilization to have lived in this an ar before the Europeans showed up, together it seems that the Azores, Cape Verde and also Madeira were uninhabited.

The Guanches were, end the years, assimilated into the general population, yet many of their customs and also traditions have actually survived.

The Spanish finally declared the 7 Canary archipelago in the 15th century

Before the Spanish dominated the islands, they had actually been checked out by an exploration from Mauritania, the king of i beg your pardon recounted the story come Pliny the Elder. That was exactly how the Romans learned that the visibility of the ‘Islands of the Dogs’.

The Arabs landed and traded on Gran Canaria in 999, and also over the 13th and also 14th centuries, they would certainly be checked out by Genoese, Majorcan, Portuguese and French sailors.

French and also Portuguese pressures occupied several of the islands, however they were handed end to the Spanish in a contract in the 15th century, and also the Spanish would certainly have manage of every the archipelago by the time the 16th century rolled around, making use of them as their basic for their explorations come the west.

3. Fascinating facts about the Canary Islands: they’re much closer to Africa than Spain

If you look at a map, you can be surprised by just just how close the Canary Islands space to the afri mainland. Castle sit on the african tectonic plate. They’re therefore close the the eastern-most islands room only just over 100km from the afri coast, whereas mainland Spain is 1,056km away.

In fact, it’s widely thought that the sand that makes up the incredible Corralejo sand dunes on the island that Fuerteventura to be blown right here from the Sahara. It is been verified not to be the case, but it still makes a good story, and also the dunes are a spectacular vision to behold.


4. Geology of the Canary Islands: mount Teide is the third-largest volcano in the world

The bulk of the Canary Islands to be all created by old volcanic activity, however some are far less old than others. The oldest of the islands are Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, the eastern-most islands.

From over there the chain follow me westwards v the islands gradually getting younger together you move to Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma and also El Hierro.

Mount Teide, or El Teide, on Tenerife, is the third-largest volcano in the world and also Spain’s highest possible peak, 3,718m high.

It’s just La Palma and El Hierro that are still above the hotspot that forged this dramatic islands. Cumbre Vieja on La Palma is the most energetic volcano in the archipelago, having erupted in 1949 and also 1971, but they’re very closely monitored, so it’s quite safe to enjoy a vacation on these much more out of the way, lesser known, contempt different Canary Islands.

5. Canary Islands’ culture: the famed whistling language

On the topic of the quietest Canary Islands, not overrun with crowds that tourists, La Gomera is a gem of an island that’s famous for a unique reason.

The local population developed a whistling language, recognized as Silbo Gomero, together a means of communication across the ravines and also valleys. That still teach in schools, offered for announcements, and also has to be awarded UNESCO standing as a ‘Masterpiece the the Oral and Intangible heritage of Humanity’.

This language already existed before the arrival of the Spanish settlers, and also although it has been adapted to mix it v Spanish, the still an extremely much a component of the original culture of the islands.


There’s therefore much an ext to discover about the Canary archipelago

Whether you fascinated by geology or you’re a bit of a culture-vulture, over there are vast amounts because that you to uncover as soon as it comes to the Canary Islands’ history.

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Dive best in and discover the landscape, gain to know the people and also sample the cuisine, and also we’re certain you’ll be back for more.