The Canary Islands are part of Spain but situated 70 miles off the coast of Africa, the closest one is Lanzarote.
There are seven main islands Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, Gomera and El Hierro.
Just where did the Canary Islands get their name from?
The dog? Or the Canary?
It’s a bit like the chicken and egg question, which one came first? Let’s look at both and some other possibilities……
The name Islas Canarias can be translated as ‘Islands of the Dogs’ and indeed Gran Canaria as ‘Big Dog’.
King Juba reported that one of the Fortunate Isles is called Canaria after the dogs (Presa Canario) that live there. It is also said that Juba was given two of the dogs and is reported to have written ‘canes’ dogs on his map so that he could show people where his dogs came from.
There are two dogs on the coat of arms for the Canary Islands.
The wild canary ‘serinus canarius’ was introduced from the Canary Islands into Europe in the 16th Century.
The people from Gran Canaria were called ‘Canarii’, they are thought to be of North African origin.
The latin verb ‘canere’ means to sing, Shakespeare referred to 'Canary’ as having too much Malmsey (Malvasia wine) to drink or dancing.
There was a large Monk Seal colony which could be found in the islands during the 15th century, known as ‘Cannis Marinus’ in Latin or Sea Dogs.
What do you think, comments please?!
Are the islands named after the dog, the bird, the people or the seals!
Where did Lanzarote get its name?