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Canary Islands

Spanish archipelago and region in the Atlantic Ocean / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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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. The Canary Islands are part of Spanish Africa. 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.[6][7]

Quick facts: Canary Islands Canarias (Spanish), C...
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
Coordinates: 28°N 16°W / 28; -16
CountryFlag_of_Spain.svg Spain
Largest cityLas Palmas de Gran Canaria
CapitalLas Palmas de Gran Canaria (executive and judicial) and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (executive and legislative)[1]
ProvincesLas Palmas, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife
  PresidentFernando Clavijo Batlle (CC)
  Total7,493 km2 (2,893 sq mi)
  Rank1.88% of Spain; ranked 13th
  Density290/km2 (750/sq mi)
4.58% of Spain
canario/-a (Spanish)
  Total€49.020 billion (2022)
  Per capita€22,303 (2022)
Time zoneUTC (WET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+1 (WEST)
ISO 3166 code
Most populated islandTenerife[4]
Official languageSpanish
Statute of Autonomy7 November 2018
ParliamentCanarian Parliament
Congress seats15 (of 350)
Senate seats14 (of 265)
HDI (2021)0.871[5]
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 archipelago includes many smaller islands and islets, including La Graciosa, Alegranza, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste, and Roque del Este. It also includes a number of rocks, including Garachico and Anaga. In ancient times, the island chain was often referred to as "the Fortunate Isles".[8] The Canary Islands are the southernmost region of Spain, and the largest and most populous archipelago of Macaronesia.[9] 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.[10]

In 2019, the Canary Islands had a population of 2,153,389,[4] with a density of 287.39 inhabitants per km2, making it the eighth 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 12 million visitors per year. 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 4th tallest volcano in the world, measured from its base on the ocean floor.[11] The islands have warm summers and winters warm enough for the climate to be technically tropical at sea level.[12] The amount of precipitation and the level of maritime moderation vary depending on location and elevation. The archipelago includes green areas as well as desert. The islands' high mountains are ideal for astronomical observation, because they lie above the temperature inversion layer. As a result, the archipelago boasts two professional observatories: the Teide Observatory on Tenerife, and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma.[13]

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.[14][15] 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.[16] 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.[14][17] The third largest city in the Canary Islands is San Cristóbal de La Laguna (another World Heritage Site) on Tenerife.[18][19][20]

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.[21][22]

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