I i will not ~ mind betting that you have, in the past, invested a holiday, or maybe even multiple holidays in the Canary Islands. And also I’m sure you had a wonderful time. But you may well have looked up to those soaring peaks and throughout the volcano soil and also wondered around how it every came right into being. Exactly how were the islands themselves shaped, and who were the very first people to set foot on them? Well, if the Canary Islands’ history you’re looking for, you’ve concerned the appropriate place.

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To get you started and introduce you to the story of this fascinating archipelago, we assumed we’d share a few interesting, quirky facts about the history that the Canary Islands, including their geology and also their society and cultural histories.

If this whets your appetite, then there’s no much better way of finding out an ext about the Canary Islands’ history and culture than plan your very own voyage of discovery.

Canary Islands’ history: fun facts

These facts will be fantastic for impressing your household or travel buddies with over dinner top top your following trip come the Canaries.

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

… however the birds were called after the islands. If you’ve been questioning yourself after which pets are the Canary islands named, climate you’ll it is in interested to know that the name for the archipelago actually come from the Latin term because that the island, Insula Canaria, meaning ‘Island the the Dogs’.

The jury is still the end on precisely where the name came from, however many civilization think the a an outcome of the huge population of ‘sea dogs’, as the Romans called them, life on the island at the time, which were in reality monk seals. These days, these seals can’t be uncovered on the Canary islands anymore, as they’re critically endangered.

On the various other hand, over there is a legend that the very first inhabitants of this islands once worshipped dogs, so few of the faster visitors called the people ‘the ones with dogs’.


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

And on the topic of the Canary Islands indigenous people, they were referred to as the Guanches. It’s been evidenced that they to be genetically comparable to the Berber world that live on the phibìc African mainland, and that they do it to the archipelago together far back as 1000 BCE, or probably earlier.

Interestingly, they were the only native human being to have lived in this region before the Europeans confirmed up, together it seems that the Azores, Cape Verde and Madeira were uninhabited.

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

The Spanish finally asserted the 7 Canary islands in the 15th century

Before the Spanish dominated the islands, they had been visited by an exploration from Mauritania, the king of i m sorry recounted the story come Pliny the Elder. The was just how the Romans learned the the existence of the ‘Islands of the Dogs’.

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

French and Portuguese forces occupied several of the islands, however they to be handed end to the Spanish in a contract in the 15th century, and the Spanish would have regulate of all the archipelago by the moment the 16th century rolling around, utilizing them as their base for your explorations come the west.

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

If friend look at a map, you could be surprised by just exactly how close the Canary Islands are to the afri mainland. They sit top top the african tectonic plate. They’re therefore close that the eastern-most islands room only just over 100km indigenous the african coast, vice versa, mainland Spain is 1,056km away.

In fact, it’s widely thought that the sand that makes up the tremendous Corralejo sand dunes on the island of Fuerteventura was blown below from the Sahara. That’s been confirmed not to be the case, but it still provides a an excellent story, and also the dunes room a spectacular sight to behold.


4. Geology that the Canary Islands: mountain Teide is the third-largest volcano in the world

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

From there the chain stretches westwards v the archipelago gradually getting younger together you relocate 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 only La Palma and El Hierro that are still above the hotspot that forged these dramatic islands. Cumbre Vieja top top La Palma is the most active volcano in the archipelago, having actually erupted in 1949 and 1971, however they’re closely monitored, therefore it’s quite safe to reap a holiday on these much more out that the way, lesser known, contempt different Canary Islands.

5. Canary Islands’ culture: the famous whistling language

On the topic of the quietest Canary Islands, no overrun through crowds the tourists, La Gomera is a gem of an island that’s renowned for a special reason.

The local populace developed a whistling language, well-known as Silbo Gomero, together a way of communication across the ravines and valleys. It’s still taught in schools, used for announcements, and has been awarded UNESCO status as a ‘Masterpiece that the Oral and also Intangible heritage of Humanity’.

This language currently existed before the come of the Spanish settlers, and although it has actually been adjusted to mix it v Spanish, it’s still really much a part of the original culture of the islands.


There’s therefore much more to discover about the Canary archipelago

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

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Dive right in and discover the landscape, obtain to recognize the people and sample the cuisine, and also we’re certain you’ll be earlier for more.