Canary Islands

The Canary Islands have two joint capital cities, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Until they were colonised at around the same time as the Americas, the Canary Islands were home to a primitive aboriginal people called Guanches. Their culture and traditions still influence the islands to this day, with many children even being given Guanche names.

Christopher Columbus and other explorers regularly used the Canary Islands as their last port of call before making the Atlantic crossing to the New World.

Canarian wrestling is a unique form of wrestling found on these islands and is said to be one of the earliest versions of the sport.

The name of the Canary Islands has nothing to do with the yellow birds, but comes from the Latin Canariae Insulae, meaning ‘Islands of the Dogs’. This in turn probably does not refer to actual dogs at all, but to a species of monk seals that used to frequent the islands, and which the Romans used to call ‘sea dogs’.