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History of Canary Islands, Spain

Journey back in time to Canary Islands, Spain

Visit Canary Islands, Spain. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and genealogy.

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The Canary Islands are a unique part of Spain. Geographically part of Africa and politically part of Europe, this small island chain is unlike anywhere where else in Spain.

The name comes from the Latin word for dog, "canaria." One story is that when some of the first Europeans arrived, they found large dogs on the island of Gran Canaria. In fact, these islands might not even be named after dogs at all, but rather after seals that used to inhabit the island, which the Romans called "sea dogs."

While the Canary Islands were known to the ancient Romans and Greeks, they never really grabbed the attention of Europeans until they began to sail across the Atlantic to the Americas. Columbus used the island of La Gomera as a staging point for his first trip to the Americas. Most of the older buildings you can find in the islands—especially in the city of La Laguna - are very colonial in style. Unlike the Americas, however, the Canary Islands were not a colony but an actual part of Spain, which they remain to this day.

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Updated: 2/7/2020 3:19:02 PM

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