The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands
    The Canary Islands
     Catholic_Encyclopedia The Canary Islands
    The Canary Islands form an archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean facing the western coast of Africa, between the parallels of 27°4' and 29°3'N. lat., and the meridians of 13°3' and 18°2'W. long. They consist of seven important islands and some islets. From east to west the first encountered are Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, the nearest to the African continent; then come Tenerife and Gran Canaria, while farther westward are Palma, Gomera, and Hierro (or Ferro). The total area of the islands is about 3256 square miles; their population, according to the census of 1900, was 358,564. The country in general is mountainous and volcanic; in Tenerife the Pico de Teyde, or Peak of Tenerife, reaches the height of 12,200 feet, and towers above the other mountains which extend throughout the islands, generally from north-east to south-west. Natural caverns abound, some of them very extensive. There is no great river, but there are numerous springs and torrents. The fauna differs little from that of Europe, with the exception of the dromedary and the thistle-finch, or canary-bird. There are extensive forests of pine and laurel, and some stems reach a gigantic height. The climate of the islands is mild and salubrious; hence they are much frequented as winter resorts. The Canary Islands are essentially agricultural. Their soil, usually fertile, though subject to frequent droughts, produces an abundance of fruits, sugar-cane, and tobacco. The wines are exquisite, and together with the fruits, tobacco, and fish, which is good and plentiful, form the principal articles of commerce for export. Much cochineal, also, is manufactured in the islands. The most important centres of population are: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Orotava, and La Laguna in the island of Tenerife; Las Palmas and Arracife in Gran Canaria; Santa Cruz de la Palma in the island of Palma; Quia and Valverde in that of Hierro.
    Civil and Ecclesiastical Divisions
    The Canary Islands constitute a civil province, a judicial district (audiencia), with its seat at Palmas, for the administration of justice, and a military governorship (captaincy-general). Ecclesiastically they are divided into two dioceses, suffragan of Seville, that of Tenerife, with episcopal residence at Santa Cruz, and that of Canaries, with residence at Las Palmas. In 1906 the Diocese of Tenerife, which comprises the islands of Tenerife, Gomera, Palma, and Hierro, had a Catholic population of 171,045, with 62 parishes, 86 priests, 60 churches, and 167 chapels; while the Diocese of Canaries had a Catholic population of 83,378, 50 Protestants (Protestantism), 42 parishes, 103 priests, 42 churches, and 113 chapels, and comprises the Grand Canary, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote. The courts are held at Santa Cruz de Tenerife. All ports are free, i.e. merchandise entering them is exempt from duty. The inhabitants satisfy the obligation of military service, not in the ranks of the peninsular army, but in the local territorial militia.
    History
    The primitive populations of the Canary Islands were the Guanches, a white race, vigorous, of high stature, fair-haired and blue-eyed, and leading mostly a pastoral life. At the time of their conquest by the Europeans they used weapons and utensils of wood and stone, were clothed in skins of animals, and lived in the numerous natural grottos. Their ornaments were of bone, sea-shells, and baked clay. They were hospitable and deeply attached to their independence. Each island was divided into separate states, ruled over by kings, who were assisted by the chiefs of the noble families and the most esteemed priests or soothsayers. They held their meetings in the open air in places specially intended for this purpose. They were monotheists and made offerings of domestic animals, milk, and fruit to the Supreme Being. At some early date Old World peoples from Africa and Asia reached these islands and founded there permanent colonies, blending with the aboriginal stock. Their invasions are attested by archaeological remains and inscriptions; certain Numidian inscriptions on the rocks of Gran Canaria and Hierro are similar to those discovered in Africa. An Aragonese fleet explored the islands in 1330. Another Castilian coasting expedition, sent forth by merchants of Seville and Biscay, disembarked, in 1385, in Lanzarote and vanquished the aborigines, but did not found any lasting settlement. This was not accomplished until the expedition of Jean de Béthencourt, a French nobleman, who in virtue of a mission confided to him by the King of Castile, Henry III, conquered, from 1402 to 1405, the islands of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gomera, and Hierro. The conquest of Gran Canaria, Palma, and Tenerife was effected during the reign of the Catholic sovereigns, from 1478 to 1495, by Diego Garcia de Herrera, Pedro de Vera, and Alonso Fernandez de Lugo, but not without heroic resistance on the part of the Guanches.
    Combined action on the part of Church and State helped to Christianize and civilize the Guanches, and gave excellent results. The people abandoned their heathen practices and willingly embraced Christianity. The Catholic priest was always a brave protector of the natives against the vexations to which, in the early days of the conquest, they were occasionally exposed at the hands of their conquerors. Among the most deserving ecclesiastics in this respect is Don Juan de Frias, Bishop of Gran Canaria at the close of the fifteenth century. The Catholic sovereigns dictated wise provisional measures in order to protect the lives and farms of the aborigines, and after the conclusion of the war gave them the right to participate in the government of the islands. Owing to frequent marriages between Spaniards and Guanches, the fusion of both races was finally accomplished, and this community of affection and interest became a powerful factor in the economic prosperity of the islands.
    EDUARDO DE HINOJOSA
    Transcribed by Gerald M. Knight

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Conquest of the Canary Islands — The conquest of the Canary Islands by the Kingdom of Castille took place between 1402 and 1496. It can be divided into two periods, the Conquista señorial, carried out by Castilian nobility in exchange for a covenant of allegiance with the crown …   Wikipedia

  • Marine life of the Canary Islands — The marine life found in the Canary Islands is diverse, being a combination of North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and endemic species. In recent years, the increasing popularity of both scuba diving and underwater photography have provided biologists …   Wikipedia

  • Music of the Canary Islands — The music of the Canary Islands reflects its cultural heritage. The islands used to be inhabited by the Guanches which are related to Berbers; they mixed with Spaniards, who live on the islands now. A variant of Jota is popular, as is Latin music …   Wikipedia

  • Popular Front of the Canary Islands — The Popular Front of the Canary Islands (Frente Popular de las Islas Canarias) or FREPIC AWAÑAK is a leftist political party seeking independence from Spain for the Canary Islands. It celebrated its first congress in May 1986. FREPIC AWAÑAK was… …   Wikipedia

  • Flag of the Canary Islands — The flag of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands is a vertical tricolour of three equal bands of white, blue, and yellow. The state flag includes the Coat of arms of the Canary Islands in the central band; the civil flag omits this. The …   Wikipedia

  • Military of the Canary Islands — The Canary Islands are an autonomous community of Spain. The following components of the Spanish Armed Forces are based in the Canary Islands. Spanish Army Light Infantry Brigade “Canarias” (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) HQ Battalion 9th Light Infantry …   Wikipedia

  • Tourism in the Canary Islands — Tourism is an essential part of the economy of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the west coast of Africa. Seven main islands and six islets make up the Canary Islands. They had more than 9 million foreign incoming tourists in 2007. Tourists …   Wikipedia

  • Law enforcement in the Canary Islands — consists of two security forces, the Local Police and the Civil Guard or Policia Local Guardia Civil . While the former is characterised by blue markings on both uniforms and vehicles, the latter s vehicles and clothing is green, and due to the… …   Wikipedia

  • Kingdom of the Canary Islands — Infobox Former Country native name = conventional long name = Kingdom of the Canary Islands common name = Kingdom of the Canary Islands national motto = continent = Europe region = Mediterranean country = Spain era = Middle Ages government type …   Wikipedia

  • Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands — Coordinates: 27°59′32″N 15°22′6″W / 27.99222°N 15.36833°W / 27.99222; 15.36833 …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”