The Canary Islands – from lush to arid
The 13 islands that today we call the Canary Islands were so named by the Romans, after the savage dogs that were said to roam the islands. Thankfully savage dogs no longer keep the visitor at bay and the islands offer a warm welcome to millions of visitors each year.
Although geographically close they offer, for such a small area a great variety of climate and landscape, with many different micro-climates existing within a relatively small area. Indeed on the individual islands lush tropical vegetation can exist a few kilometres away from arid desert and alpine style flora and fauna. Indeed Gran Canaria has been referred to as the mini continent.
Warmed by the Gulf Stream in winter and cooled by the ocean in summer it is little wonder that they attract the legions of visitors that they do. Tenerife the largest island has a well vegetated, lush northern area: moist and relatively cool and a dry arid southern half that could seem mismatched on the same continent let alone on the same small island.
Once home to a native people – the Guanches the islands now are politically and economically, in not geographically, an integral part of Spain.
The Islands -from big to small
Their populations are as follows-
- Tenerife – 906,854
- Gran Canaria – 845,676
- Lanzarote – 141,437
- Fuerteventura – 103,492
- La Palma – 86,324
- La Gomera – 22,776
- El Hierro – 10,960