The Canary Islands

On a map of the world, one will find many islands with different names – there are the Marshall Islands, Christmas and Easter Islands, and even the Sandwich Islands.

But islands named for a bird? (Or is it?)

Welcome to the Canary Islands.

Come, set sail, and do some exploring on the high seas.

Small islands in big waters

The Canary Islands are a set of eight islands in the Atlantic Ocean that are, in fact, part of Spain.

Map of Canary Islands adapted from a map by "TUBS"*

These islands are as follows (from largest to smallest):

The Auditorio de Tenerife on Tenerife, used for cultural performances.

La Graciosa island from Lanzarote

Some believe that many ancient seafaring people from the Mediterranean visited these islands, but its official discovery dates to around the time of Christ. The Nubia king Juba II, while under Roman rule, sent an expedition that first found the islands to our knowledge.

But there is an ancient mystery.

These explorers found the islands without any people. They did, however, find an abandoned temple. So, who was there first?

They also found ferocious dogs – from which they gave a name to it. (Latin for dog is canis, from which we get the name Canary for the island.)

**Note: No, the Canary Islands don't get their name from the Canary bird. It's the other way around.

Politics – the art of the possible

Understanding the government of the Canary Islands means we must first understand the government of Spain. Since its beginning in the late 1400s, Spain was ruled by a king or strong dictator.

But in the 1970s, a change in the Spanish Constitution changed how government worked. While the central government in Madrid was still strong, each region of Spain became more independent.

And this applies to our islands.

The Canary Islands is governed by a President and a legislature of 70 members elected from around the islands. Also, these islands elect 14 members of the Spanish Senate.

How we live

Most of the people living in the Canary Islands are born there and identify themselves as Spanish. This might account for the largest religion attended being Catholicism.

The Las Palmas Cathedral

It shouldn't come as any surprise that the chief business here is tourism. And who can blame? Consider enjoying yourself on the beach.

Or, think about being out on the water.

How's the weather?

For a group of small islands, the terrain of these islands covers a pretty wide range.

Much of it is described as semi-arid – sort of a part of the Sahara desert.

In other places, there are forests of pine.

And in the case of mount Teide (The highest mountain for any island in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as all Spain.), it can have snow.

But whatever the land looks like, or what brings people there, the Canary Islands have a unique beauty.

On the web

Cycling the Canary Islands: Gran Canaria

A couple takes a cycling/camping tour. I love this video as it shows what the islands are like.

Canary Islands travel advice

This site gives all kinds of information for anyone looking into traveling to the Canary Islands, and what it is like.

*Shared by creative commons license 3.0.

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