Canary Islands Map
Handy Canary Islands map, and guide to the Canaries.
View Larger Canary Islands Map
Map & One Stop Guide to the Canary Islands
Canary Islands Map: Here is a useful Google map of the Canary Islands, shown in satellite mode, giving a very interesting view of the island group off the coast of north-west Africa. The Canaries have a total area of 7,447 square kilometres, and a population of just over 2 million, the group comprises 7 main islands and several smaller islands and islets.
Canary Islands (Canaries): An archipelago of volcanic islands, owned by Spain, but located off the north-west coast of Africa, the Canary Islands (or Canaries) are a major tourist destination, attracting over twelve million visitors each year.
The name Islas Canarias comes from the Latin Insula Canaria, which means “Island of the Dogs”, though it is not certain that this refers to actual dogs or possibly monk seals, which are called “sea dogs” in Latin.
The main islands of the Canary Islands group are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, the most populous island is Tenerife with 899,000 closely followed by Gran Canaria with 838,000, none of the other come close, as the 3rd most populous island is Lanzarote, with just 139,000 residents.
Canary Islands History: The Canary Islands were first visitied by ancient Phoenicians and Greeks as they explored the seas off the coast of North Africa, and later by Carthaginians and Romans. The Roman author Pliny the Elder, noted that the islands were uninhabited, though ruins of buildings were found at this time. When the Europeans first explored the islands they found an indigenous people called the Guanches, though maybe of Berber origin it is not known exactly where they came from.
The conquest of the Canary Islands began in 1402, when the French adventurer Jean de Bethencourt, landed on Lanzarote representing the Castillian King Henry III, El Hierro and Fuerteventura were conquered soon afterwards, and the remaining islands fell into Castillian hands over the following 100 years, collectively becoming part of the Kingdom of Castille.
The Canary Islands and especially Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, became major ports of call for travellers, missionaries and Spanish conquerors, as they made their way across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World (America), the islands subsequently became prosperous and flourished.
This new found wealth attracted the attention of pirates, and many raids took place over the following years. There was a major attack by a Dutch fleet in 1599, and two hundred years later, no other than Nelson, led a British fleet, which unsuccessfully attacked Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a battle in which Nelson famously lost his right arm.
The main industry on the Canary Islands in the early days was the cultivation of sugar cane, though later competition from South America, and a price crash during the 19th century, saw a decline in the island’s economy. A new ‘crop’ cochineal, largely replaced the declining sugar industry, and by the beginning of the 20th century, another new crop, bananas, were established on the islands.
In the second half of the 20th century, tourism hit the Canary Islands, and rapidly became the main industry.
For your holidays in the Canary Islands, there is a huge choice of hotels and self-catering properties, you can book through an agent, or build you own holiday online. Detached villas with pools are the desired choice with Lanzarote villas, Tenerife villas and Gran Canaria villas in good supply with the lesser islands providing more limited choice.
As can be seen from the Canary Islands map at the top of the page, the Canaries group are located off the north-west coast of Africa, with Morocco and Western Sahara, the 2 closest countries. Furteventura is the nearest to the African coastline at a distance of around 100 kilometres.