Canary Islands

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Geography and Islands
– The Canary Islands consist of El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, and La Graciosa.
– Fuerteventura is the oldest island and a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
– El Hierro was once the prime meridian of longitude.
– Gran Canaria is home to landmarks like Roque Nublo and Maspalomas Dunes.
– La Gomera features the Garajonay National Park and is one of the oldest islands.

Population and Demographics
– Tenerife is the most populated island with 904,713 inhabitants.
– Other islands have populations ranging from 10,960 in El Hierro to 845,676 in Gran Canaria.
– La Graciosa, declared the 8th Canary Island, has a population of about 700.
– La Gomera is the second least populous island with 22,776 inhabitants.
– The Canary Islands are a part of the Macaronesia ecoregion.

Governance and Politics
– The Canary Islands are divided into two provinces, Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
– Each major island is governed by an island council.
– The islands have 14 seats in the Spanish Senate.
– The regional executive body is the Parliament of the Canary Islands.
– The international boundary of the Canaries is disputed in Morocco-Spain relations.

History and Culture
– The islands were inhabited by indigenous peoples sharing a common origin with Berbers.
– The Castilian conquest began in 1402 and lasted over a century.
– Canarian nationalism exists but has limited popular support.
– The defense of the islands is the responsibility of the Spanish Armed Forces.
– The islands have distinct microclimates and landscapes.

Conservation and Natural Parks
– The Canary Islands feature diverse microclimates and ecosystems.
– National parks like Caldera de Taburiente, Garajonay, Teide, and Timanfaya preserve the islands’ natural beauty.
– Fuerteventura, La Palma, and Tenerife have been declared biosphere reserves by UNESCO.
– The islands are of volcanic origin and have a warm subtropical/tropical climate.
– The Canary Islands do not enjoy special autonomy under the Law of the Sea.

Canary Islands (Wikipedia)

The Canary Islands (/kəˈnɛəri/, Spanish: Canarias, Spanish: [kaˈnaɾjas]), also known informally as the Canaries, are a Spanish autonomous community and archipelago in Macaronesia in the Atlantic Ocean. At their closest point to the African mainland, they are 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Morocco and the Western Sahara. They are the southernmost of the autonomous communities of Spain. The islands have a population of 2.2 million people and are the most populous special territory of the European Union.

Canary Islands
Canarias (Spanish)
Anthem: "Anthem of the Canaries"
Location of the Canary Islands relative to the Spanish mainland
Location of the Canary Islands relative to the Spanish mainland
Country Spain
CapitalSanta Cruz de Tenerife (executive and legislative) and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (executive and judicial)
28°N 16°W / 28°N 16°W / 28; -16
Largest cityLas Palmas de Gran Canaria
canario/-a (Spanish)
• Total
7,493 km2 (2,893 sq mi) (1.88% of Spain; 13th)
• 2021 estimate
2,172,944 (8th)
• Density
290/km2 (751.1/sq mi)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
• Total
€49.020 billion
• Per capita
Time zoneUTC (WET)
 • Summer (DST)
ISO 3166 code
Most populated islandTenerife
Official languageSpanish
Statute of Autonomy7 November 2018
ParliamentCanarian Parliament
Congress seats15 (of 350)
Senate seats14 (of 265)
HDI (2021)0.871
very high · 15th

The seven main islands are, from largest to smallest in area, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro. The only other populated island is La Graciosa, which administratively is dependent on Lanzarote. The archipelago includes many smaller islands and islets, including Alegranza, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste, and Roque del Este. It includes a number of rocks, including Garachico and Anaga. In ancient times, the island chain was often referred to as "the Fortunate Isles". The Canary Islands are the southernmost region of Spain, and the largest and most populous archipelago of Macaronesia. Because of their location, the Canary Islands have historically been considered a link between the four continents of Africa, North America, South America, and Europe.

In 2023, the Canary Islands had a population of 2,236,013, with a density of 299 inhabitants per km2, making it the seventh most populous autonomous community of Spain. The population is mostly concentrated in the two capital islands: around 43% on the island of Tenerife and 40% on the island of Gran Canaria.

The Canary Islands, especially Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote, are a major tourist destination, with over 16 million visitors in 2023. This is due to their beaches, subtropical climate, and important natural attractions, especially Maspalomas in Gran Canaria and Mount Teide, a World Heritage Site in Tenerife. Mount Teide is the highest peak in Spain and the 3rd tallest volcano in the world, measured from its base on the ocean floor. The islands have warm summers and winters warm enough for the climate to be technically tropical at sea level. The amount of precipitation and the level of maritime moderation vary depending on location and elevation. The archipelago includes green areas as well as semi-desert. The islands' high mountains are ideal for astronomical observation, because they lie above the temperature inversion layer. As a result, the archipelago has two professional astronomical observatories: the Teide Observatory on Tenerife, and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma.

In 1927, the Province of Canary Islands was split into two provinces. In 1982, the autonomous community of the Canary Islands was established. The cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria are, jointly, the capitals of the islands. Those cities are also, respectively, the capitals of the provinces of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been the largest city in the Canaries since 1768, except for a brief period in the 1910s. Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927, Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands. In 1927, it was ordered by decree that the capital of the Canary Islands would be shared between two cities, and this arrangement persists to the present day. The third largest city in the Canary Islands is San Cristóbal de La Laguna, another World Heritage Site on Tenerife.

During the Age of Sail, the islands were the main stopover for Spanish galleons during the Spanish colonisation of the Americas, which sailed that far south in order to catch the prevailing northeasterly trade winds.

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