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The archipelago of the Canary Islands

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The archipelago of the Canary Islands. Crest (Zirland author). Click to enlarge the image.The Canary Islands are an archipelago made up of seven main islands:
Go to the island of La PalmaGo to the island of El HierroGo to the island of La GomeraGo to the island of TenerifeGo to Gran CanariaGo to FuerteventuraGo to LanzaroteClick on the active areas to reach places
EtymologyEtymology and toponymy
The Canary Islands are the islands described in the myths and legends of ancient Greece as a paradise : for Homer they were the "Elysian Fields", for the poet Hesiod "Blessed Islands", for Plato the lost continent of Atlantis.

The Canary Islands are part of Macaronesia that has the same etymology: the Islands of the Blessed, the Greek words μακάριος, "happy, blessed" and νήσοι, "islands".

Early in the first century AD, the Roman historian Pliny the Elder calls "Hesperides Islands" (Insulae Hesperidum).

The place name "Canary" means "Islands of Dogs" : at the end of the first century AD, the nephew of Pliny the Elder, historian Pliny the Younger, reports in his book Naturalis Historia, that around 50 BC the king of Numidia and Mauretania, Juba II sent an expedition to explore the islands; discoverers observed for the presence of large fierce dogs. Pliny named the islands “Canariae Insulae” (from the Latin can, canis: dog). The crest of the archipelago has two dogs symbolizing the two Canary provinces. The Romans named them later the "Fortunate Islands" (Insulae Fortunatae).


The archipelago of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, 115 km off the Moroccan coast. It is part of Macaronesia which also includes the archipelago of Madeira, the Azores and Cape Verde.

KnowledgeHistory, geography, arts, traditions, flora ...

Go to page Geography of the Canary Islands.
Go to the History page of the Canary Islands.
The archipelago of the Canary Islands. Map. Click to enlarge the image.The archipelago of the Canary Islands. Map of Canary by Rigobert Bonne in 1780. Click to enlarge the image.

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Tourist informationTourist information
Go to page Tourist information on the Canary Islands.

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Canary Islands
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Tourist information on the Canary Islands
The geography of the Canary Islands
The history of the Canary Islands
The island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands
The island of La Palma in the Canary Islands
The island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands
The island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands
The island of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands
The island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands
The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands
The flora and fauna of the Canary Islands
The archipelago of the Canary Islands - OTC Brochure (PDF)
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