|— Autonomous Community —|
|Mount Teide (Tenerife), the highest mountain in Spain. Is also the most visited National Park in Spain, Europe and second worldwide.|
|Location of Canary Islands|
|Capital|| Santa Cruz de Tenerife
and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
|- President||Paulino Rivero (CC)|
|Area(1.5% of Spain; Ranked 13th)|
|- Total|| dunams (7447 km2 /
Expression error: Syntax error in line: 1 - Operator: * is no prefix operator. *0.000386102 round 1 ^sq mi)
|- Urban density|
|- Rural density|
|- Metro density|
|- Pop. rank||8th|
|- Pop. rank Density|
|- Ethnic groups||85.7% Spanish, (Canarian
and Peninsulares), 14.3%
|- Ethnic groups Density|
|Anthem||Hymn of the Canaries|
|Statute of Autonomy||August 16, 1982|
|Congress seats||15 (of 350)|
|Senate seats||13 (of 264)|
|Website||Gobierno de Canarias|
The Canary Islands (, also known as the Canaries; Spanish: Islas Canarias, ; ) are a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish Autonomous Community and an Outermost Region of the European Union. The islands include (from largest to smallest): Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Grand Canary, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and the islets La Graciosa, Alegranza and Montaña Clara.
The archipelago's beaches, climate and important natural attractions, especially Teide National Park and Mount Teide (the third largest volcano in the world), make it a major tourist destination, with over 12 million visitors per year, especially Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. The islands have a sub-tropical climate, with long hot days in summer and cooler days in winter.
The capital for the Autonomous Community is shared by the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which in turn are the capitals of the provinces of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas. Until 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the only capital. The third largest city of the Canary Islands is San Cristóbal de La Laguna (a World Heritage Site) on the island of Tenerife.
The name Islas Canarias is likely derived from the Latin term Insula Canaria, meaning "Island of the Dogs", a name applied originally only to Gran Canaria. It is speculated that the so called dogs were actually a species of Monk Seals ("sea dog" in Latin), critically endangered and no longer present in the Canary Islands. The dense population of seals may have been the characteristic that most struck the few ancient Romans who established contact with these islands by sea. The connection to dogs is retained in their depiction on the islands' coat-of-arms (shown above).
The original inhabitants of the island, guanches, used to worship dogs, mummified them and treated dogs generally as holy animals. In ancient times the island was well known for its people who worshipped dogs there, and when the Romans first visited the island they gave it the name: 'canaari', which means in Latin: "the ones who worship dogs", or "the ones with dogs". The ancient Greeks also knew about a people, living far to the west, who are the "dog-headed ones", who worship dogs on an island. Some theorize that the Canary Islands dog-worship and the ancient Egyptian cult of the dog-headed god, Anubis are closely connected, but there is no explanation given as to which one was first.
The islands and their capitals are:
|Tenerife||Santa Cruz de Tenerife|
|Gran Canaria||Las Palmas de Gran Canaria|
|La Palma||Santa Cruz de La Palma|
|La Gomera||San Sebastián de La Gomera|
|Fuerteventura||Puerto del Rosario|
Tenerife, with 865,070 inhabitants, is both the Canary Islands' and Spain's most populous island. Tenerife is also the largest island of the archipelago. The island of Fuerteventura is the second largest in the archipelago and located 100 km from the African coast.
The islands form the Macaronesia ecoregion with the Azores, Cape Verde, Madeira, and the Savage Isles. The archipelago consists of seven large and several smaller islands, all of which are volcanic in origin. The Teide volcano on Tenerife is the highest mountain in Spain, and the third largest volcano on Earth on a volcanic ocean island. All the islands except La Gomera have been active in the last million years; four of them (Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma and El Hierro) have historical records of eruptions since European discovery. The islands rise from Jurassic oceanic crust associated with the opening of the Atlantic. Underwater magmatism commenced during the Cretaceous, and reached the ocean's surface during the Miocene. The islands are considered as a distinct physiographic section of the Atlas Mountains province, which in turn is part of the larger African Alpine System division.
Four of Spain's thirteen national parks are located in the Canary Islands, more than any other autonomous community. Teide National Park is the most visited in Spain, and the oldest and largest within the Canary Islands. The parks are:
|Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente||La Palma|
|Garajonay National Park||La Gomera|
|Teide National Park||Tenerife|
|Timanfaya National Park||Lanzarote|
The following table shows the highest mountains in each of the islands;
|Teide||3.718 meters (Tenerife)|
|Roque de los Muchachos||2.426 meters (La Palma)|
|Pico de las Nieves||1.949 meters (Gran Canaria)|
|Pico de Malpaso||1.500 meters (El Hierro)|
|Garajonay||1.487 meters (La Gomera)|
|Pico de la Zarza||812 meters (Fuerteventura)|
|Peñas del Chache||670 meters (Lanzarote)|