The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean. They belong to Spain and thus to the European Union. In geology, however, they are counted as part of Africa. There, together with Madeira, the Ilhas Selvagens and Cape Verde, they form a region called Macaronesia. The Canary Islands have two capitals: Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the larger Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The largest Canary Island is Tenerife followed by Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. Tenerife is home to Spain's highest peak: the volcano Pico del Teide is 3,715 metres high. That is higher than the German Zugspitze. Around the volcano is a well-known national park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Canaries, known for their song and colourful plumage, originate from the Canary Islands. They have been bred in other countries. Originally, there was only the Canary Island Canary on the islands. Today it is the symbol of the Canary Islands. However, the islands got their name from dogs. Two dogs are also depicted on the flag of the Canary Islands.
The climate on the Canary Islands is subtropical. Temperatures are pleasantly sunny all year round. Precipitation in the form of rain occurs mainly on the northern coasts of the islands. This is another reason why the Canary Islands are a popular destination for summer holidaymakers.
Before tourists discovered the islands, agriculture was important. Today, agriculture accounts for a small part of the Canary Islands' gross domestic product. The main crops are bananas, tomatoes, cut flowers and wine. Industry is mainly concentrated on energy and the production of consumer goods such as cosmetics, food, cigarettes and so on. However, much has to be brought from the mother country, Spain.