Kanariøyene er en øygruppe som ligger ca 300 km nordvest for Afrika. Øygruppen består av totalt 13 øyer hvor 8 av dem er bebodd.
1) Øyene var ikke oppkalt etter fuglene.
Det er noe uenigheter rundt opprinnelsen til navnet på denne øygruppen. Noen mener at navnet stammer fra når Europeerne kom til Gran Canaria og de fant noen store hunder det latinske ordet for hund er "Canis", andre mener navnet stammer fra selene som bodde på øya, som Romerene kalte sjø hunder.
Den siste og kanskje mest trolige grunnen til navnet er at de opprinnelige innbyggerne på Kanariøyene stammer fra Berber stammene i Nord Afrika, en av disse stammene het "Canarii" og derfor ble også navet Islas Canarias. Som for oss blir Kanariøyene.
Så selv om de små gule kanarifuglene er fine og deler samme navn så er det nok ikke fuglen som har gitt øyene sine navn men heller øyene som har gitt navnet til fuglen.
2) It has the highest point in Spain.
Selv om Spania har Despite having the Pyreneese mountains in its country, the highest point in Spain is actually on the island of Tenerife. El Teide is 3,718m (12,198ft) high. There are other tall peaks in the Canaries as well including Roque de los Muchachos on the island of La Palma 2,400 m (7,874 ft). This mountain is of note because it is home to one of the largest collection of astronomical telescopes in the world, including the world’s largest telescope, the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias. It’s high volcanic mountains which sit above the clouds makes it similar to the observing conditions you can find in Mona Kea in Hawaii.
3) The Spanish Civil War started here.
At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Francisco Franco was the General Commandant of the Canaries, headquartered in Las Palmas, on Grand Canary island. He and his minions plotted their strategy here in the Canaries, out of sight and mind of the rest of Spain, before moving to the continent.
4) You can cook food over a volcano.
As I mentioned above, the Canary Islands are volcanic in origin. While there are no volcanoes currently erupting on the island, there was a great deal of activity on the island of Lanzarote between 1730 and 1736 when over 100 volcanoes appeared on the landscape. The last eruption was in 1824, but there is still a significant amount of heat just below the surface. If you enter Timanfaya National Park, you can visit El Diablo Restaurante where they have several demonstrations which show the heat just below the surface. In one demonstration they toss straw into a hole which bursts into flame due to the heat. In another they pour water down a whole which instantly turns into a tower of steam. At the restaurant, there is a 9m hole was which was dug to access the heat, the top of which is used as a grill. The temperature of the grill reaches 400C and uses no energy.
5) The islands were colonized concurrently with the Americas.
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.
6) The city of San Antonio, Texas was founded by people from the Canary Islands
If you remember the Alamo, then you should also take a second to remember the Canary Islands. The city was original founded by settlers from the Canaries and their descendants died fighting alongside Jim Bowie and Davy Crocket. The founder of the city of São Paulo, Brazil is also from the island of Tenerife.
7) It his home to a whistling language
On the island of La Gomera there is a language used to communicate over the large distances across valleys called “Silbo Gomero“. As technology changed the ease in which people could communicate, the language was in danger of dying out in the 20th Century. The government took measures to teach the language to children in school. The whistling is actually just a form of Spanish. The language is more used for announcements and news, not for personal conversation. It was listed as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2009.
8) World worst airline disaster
The world’s worst aviation accident occurred on the island of Tenerife on March 27, 1977 when two Boeing 747’s collided on a foggy airport runway. 583 people were killed when KLM Flight 4805 hit Pan Am Flight 1736 during take off. Neither plane was supposed to be on Tenerife as they were diverted from Gran Canarias when a bomb was detonated on the runway. The airport had many more aircraft than it could handle and couldn’t fit all the planes at the gates. An investigation after the event by Spanish, Dutch and American teams concluded that there were a host of problems which lead to the disaster including language, not knowing where the planes were, casual terminology and pilot error. The accident lead to a host of changes in how plane crews and flight control towers talk to each other to avoid misunderstanding.
The truth about my country, the African Canary Islands.
1.- Yes, they were not named after birds or dogs. The people of the Canary Islands came from Berber tribes in North Africa. One of these Beber tribes was called “Canarii” and therefore the name of my country is “Islas Canarias” (Canary Islands). In short, the name has to do with one of the Beber tribes and not dogs, cats or birds.
2.- It does not have the “highest point in Spain”. Mount Teide, in the island of Tenerife (Africa), is 1,400 kilometres from Spain (Europe). In short, we are talking about different realities: one country is in Africa and the other in another continent (Europe). It is like the French saying that their highest mountain is in Algeria. Well, my friends, Algeria is closer to France than the African Canary Islands to Spain. The Canary Islands is a COLONY of Spain in Africa and we, the Canary Islands, want the Spaniards out of our country.
3.- The African Canary Islands were invaved by Spain before the Americas and later they used the Canary Islands as a stopover in order to bring death and terror to the Americas. The Canary Islanders war with Spain lasted nearly 100 years and after the Spaniards “discovered” the Americas, needing our Islands to provide food, water, etc., for their ships, they signed agreements with our people saying that they would respect our lands, people, etc. Of course, since they were pirates, they did not respect the agreements signed with us.
4.- Yes, the City of San Antonio and other places in the Americas were founded by Canary islanders. The “troblemakers”, those Canary Island patriots that resisted the Spanish pirates in our islands were rounded and transported to the Americas. Something similar with the English transporting children, young girls, etc., to Australia to help their cause in Australia.
5.- Yes, dictator Franco, “by the Grace of God”, was in exile in the African Canary Islands. Spain always used its colony of the Canary Islands to transport its own troublemakers far away from Spain and so Franco, Unamuno, etc., spent time in the Canary Islands. One day, during Franco’s period of exile in the African Canary Islands, a small plane piloted by an English guy lands here and takes fascist Franco out of the Canary Islands and on his journey back to Spain to create trouble. I don’t know why the English seem to be always in the picture. If the inglés (English) had not landed in the Canary Islands, he would have saved Spain from Hitler’s litter brother (Franco).
Finally, boys and girls, Madrid says that the Canary islands is “Spain”. etc. Well, France also used to say that “Algeria is France”. As for those who say that the Canary Islanders “love” Spain, are “Spanish”, etc., they are Spaniards living in the Canary Islands as part of the colonial administration. Spain has caused too much pain, misery, poverty, crimes, rapes, death, etc., against our people -the Canary Islanders- for us to love them.
Will the Canary Islands be free of Spain one day? Well, if nothing in this life is permanent then I believe that one day the Spaniards will have to leave the Canary Islands. After all, the Spaniards love Spain too much and claim to be europeans, etc., and our islands are not in Europe. It would be much better for them to live in their beloved Europe and leave the Canary Islanders in peace. Their enemy is: geography and time.
Finally, our islands receive 12 million tourists every year but our people leave in poverty, the unemployment rate is 30% and for our youth 60%. Why? Because Spain controls our economy and steals the billions generated by the so-called “tourist industry”. The best jobs are occupied by people from Spain. If this is not bad enough, the flora and fauna of the Canary Islands is suffering because our islands have too many people (residents + tourists).
Many thanks for reading this.
Dr Vicente Barreto
African Canary Islands