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The history of the Canary Islands

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The history of the Canary Islands. Map of Macaronesia in 1780 (Rigobert Bonne, Paris). Click to enlarge the image.The Canary Islands were known in antiquity under the name of “Fortunate Islands” (Pliny the Younger)
  • Homer says that beyond the Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar), the Pharaoh Sesostris III discovered the Hesperides.
  • Plato was in these islands the remains of Atlantis, the Elysian Fields, stay heroic and virtuous souls.

The history of the Canary Islands. Departure of the expedition of Jean de Béthencourt. Click to enlarge the image.The Fortunate Islands accounted for former limit of the known world.

The Fortunate Islands were explored by the son of King Juba II of Mauritania, in the first century AD, before falling into oblivion.

From 1221, several expeditions will succeed to conquer and submit the Canary Islands.

In 1402, the French Jean de Béthencourt, chamberlain of King Charles VI, submitted to the king of Count Henry II of Castile the islands of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Hierro.

In 1479, the Canary Islands go to Spain (Treaty of Alcáçovas).

In 1492, Christopher Columbus, on his way to America, made a stop in the Canary Islands.

The conquest ended with the submission of Gran Canaria in 1483, then of Tenerife and La Palma in 1496.

In the sixteenth century the population guanche is exterminated by the Spaniards after a fierce resistance to conquerors.

The history of the Canary Islands. Map of George Glas in 1767. Click to enlarge the image.The history of the Canary Islands. Fleurieu Card 1772. Click to enlarge the image.The history of the Canary Islands. Old map of fishing in the Canary Islands. Click to enlarge the image.

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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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