The Canary Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Morocco. They are an autonomous (they make their own laws) community of Spain. There are seven main islands. The people who live there speak Spanish. The autonomous community has two capital cities, of equal status: Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Every island has been created by volcanoes on the bottom of the sea. Those volcanoes slowly rose until they rose above the water and made the islands. This process lasted many thousands of years.
The islands have a very long and interesting history. When Europeans first came to the Canary Islands, they found people already living there. These people were called the Guanches. Many of the Guanches were killed in battles with the Spanish, and the ones who remained adopted the Spanish way of life. Many battles with the Spanish were fought for the islands before Spain claimed them. After the Spanish conquest many battles were also fought against pirates. The most recent of countries interested in them was Morocco.
After the Spanish conquest many Europeans settled there. Portuguese and Spaniards, and also Belgians and Maltese were among the early settlers. Recently many people from all over Europe, America, India and Africa have also became citizens or permanent residents.
The seven islands are: La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura. People from La Gomera have a whistle language which children there learn at school. Tenerife has the highest mountain in the Canary Islands and Spain too, the Teide. The Teide is actually a volcano, but it has not been active in more than 300 years.
The Canary Islands' main exports include bananas and tobacco.
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