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About 2230 square kilometres in area, Tenerife is the largest of the seven main islands of the Canary Archipelago.

Tenerife was the last of the Canary Islands to be conquered by the Spanish. It was captured in July 1496 by forces under Alonso Fernandez de Lugo.

De Lugo founded the settlement of La Laguna, which was to be the island’s administrative centre until 1723, when the government was transferred to the port of Santa Cruz.

The Spanish conquest of Tenerife saw the enslaving of the Guanches, the island’s indigenous people. The origins of the Guanches are unclear, but archaeological and linguistic evidence suggests they came from the Atlas Mountains region of North Africa, settling the island around 200 BCE.


Prepared by: Turnbull, P
Created: 4 October 2001
Modified: 10 December 2003

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000047

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