Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Canary Islands, Spain

I'm already need some warm weather and in March it's off to Gran Canaria for a week.  Over the past almost ten years I've wanted to visit but it's just never worked out.  So I'm excited to finally go.  Here's a bit of geography about where I'm headed.

There are four archipelagos in the North Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North Africa.  Collectively they are called Macaronesia.  They are the Azores, Madeira including the Selvagens Islands, the Canary Islands, and Cape Verde.

Cape Verde is an independent country and is part of Africa.  The Azores and Madeira belong to Portugal and the Canary Islands are part of Spain.

The Canary Islands, Las Islas Canarias, are an autonomous part of Spain.  The islands are actually closer to Africa than they are to Europe.  They are only 100 km (62 miles) off the coast of Morocco.  Since the Canary Islands are a part of Spain they are in the EU and a part of Schengen.

There are seven main islands and each has its own capital.
They are Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.
There are also several smaller islands including La Graciosa, Alegranza, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste and Roque del Este.

The Canary Islands are a little bigger than Delaware and home to almost 2.13 million people.  Most people live on Tenerife and Gran Canaria which are home to the two capital cities - Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The islands were discovered by Ancient Greek and Roman sailors.  In 1495 they came under Spanish rule.  During the Spanish Empire, the islands were the main stopover for Spanish ships on their way to the Americas.  They gained autonomy in 1982.

The Canary Islands have long hot summers and relatively warm winters making them a major tourist destination.  They get almost 12 million tourists a year which is about 32% of its GDP.  I can't wait to be one of those tourists because I'm in serious need of some beach time.  Let's see how my Spanish holds up but with so many German and British tourists I'm sure that I'll get by.

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