20 facts about Tenerife that will impress your friends
The Canary Islands is an archipelago, which means a group or chain of islands but, did you know that the Canary Islands has its own archipelago? Generally, the Canary Islands are attributed with 7 islands 1 – Tenerife, 2- Gran Canaria, 3 – El Hierro, 4 – La Palma, 5 – La Gomera, 6 – Fuerteventura, 7 – Lanzarote but just to the north of Lanzarote an island called La Graciosa which is actually part of a small group of islands or archipelago which includes another 5 small islands, namely 1 – La Graciosa, 2 – Alegranza, 3 – Montaña Clara, 4 – Roque del Este and 5 – Roque del Oeste.
Horatio Nelson, the now famous Admiral Nelson, tried to invade Santa Cruz de Tenerife on 22nd July 1797, the invasion was repelled and Nelson was defeated on the 25th July. This is the battle in which Nelson lost his arm.
The flag of Tenerife is the same as that of Scotland, a blue background and a white diagonal cross. One of the reasons put forward is that the patron saint of Tenerife is St Andrew…or in Spanish, San Andres, and it’s the same for Scotland…hence the flags of St Andrew is used for both Scotland and Tenerife.
Each of the Canary Islands have their own micro-climates. These can range from very dry to very wet, even on the same island. You’ve only got to look at the north of Tenerife in comparison to the south and of course in between those extremes there are small villages which have their own micro-climates as well.
Apart from Mount Teide being the highest point in the whole of Spain, with the peak measuring 3,718 metres (12,198 feet) above sea level, it also casts the longest shadow over the sea in the world.
Tenerife is part of the “Sister Cities” program and in 2008 it confirmed its connection with its Sister City called Miami-Dade County in Florida the United States.
43% of the entire Canary Island’s population live on Tenerife.
Shakespeare was known to like the odd glass of Canarian wine. In fact he mentioned it in 2 of his plays “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “Henry IV”. He was supposedly given a barrel of Malmsey (Malvasia) wine every year as part of his salary…was this the first ever product placement advert?
In 1998, 30 members of a German religious cult were going to go to the summit of Mount Teide and commit suicide. Their belief was that a UFO would be waiting there to transport their souls to a new world. The Spanish police found out about it and prevented their suicide mission.
As we know, Mount Teide is the highest mountain in all of Spain but did you know that it is the 3rd highest volcano in the world when measured from its base at the bottom of the sea?
The last volcanic eruption of Mount Teide was in 1909 but there have been 4 in recorded history. Two in the early 1700s, the third was in 1798 and the last, as mentioned, was in 1909. None of these eruptions have ever produced any casualties.
The Canary Islands were the first of all Spanish Autonomous regions to ban bullfighting in 1991. There had been a total absence of bullfighting spectacles since 1984 due to a lack of interest thus showing that the Canarians are way ahead of banning cruelty to animals throughout Spain.
Tenerife has been used to film a number of recent Hollywood blockbusters. Clash of the Titans in 2010, Fast and Furious 6 in 2013 and most recently Jason Bourne 5 in 2016 – although you wouldn’t recognise Santa Cruz city because they changed everything in the area making it look like Greece.
The Guanches, the original aboriginal peoples of the Canary Islands built pyramids and prayed to various gods, demons and spirits. Some of the pyramids still remain in Güimar close to Candelaria and today are a popular tourist attraction. 6 of them remain in the park which was originally set up by the explorer Thor Heyerdahl…with the financial backing of none other than that shipping magnate, Fred Olsen, yes the ferry guy.
Siam Park, probably the largest of all tourist attractions in Tenerife, holds a number of world records – two of the most interesting are that it’s the largest Thai building outside of Asia and also that it has the world’s largest statue of a dragon.
Tenerife would still be covered in Pine trees had it not been for the Spanish invaders using them to excess to build their naval fleet.
There is speculation that there were originally 3 separate islands to Tenerife, made up of mountain ranges, those being Teno, Valle de San Lorenzo and Anaga. Over the years, subsequent volcanic activity merged the 3 ranges together to make Tenerife as we know it today.
Canary Island inhabitants do not speak with the Spanish “lisp”. There are loads of stories as to why Spanish on the peninsula speak with a lisp, generally pointing towards a King of Spain from way back when having had a lisp and the public felt that this was a prestigious way of speaking and so took it up. The Canarians speak with a more South American accent, probably due to the strong connection the Islanders have with Venezuela and other south American countries.
Each of the Canarian Islands has its own dialect and accent.
Some of the inhabitants of one of the Canarian Islands, La Gomera, use a language called “Silbo Gomero” or just “El Silbo”. It’s a language based on whistles and was originally used to easily communicate across large and deep ravines. It’s been tested by giving one person a message to send and asking the recipient what the message was…it isn’t just a trick, it works…OK this one’s about La Gomera and not Tenerife…but you can see Tenerife from la Gomera…so it’s close.