Canary Islands Political System, Famous People, Animals and Plants

By | January 15, 2023

Canary Islands: Political System

General overview

The Canary Islands are an autonomous community (Spanish “Comunidad Autónoma”). This means that they are considered to be a regional authority which has been given an autonomous status with its own legislative and other competences by the Spanish constitution (Article 2, version of 1978). This is also not unusual in Spain, because the whole country (apart from a few small islands off Morocco) is divided into autonomous regions and cities. Although the Canary Islands are entirely part of the European Union are integrated, they have their own tax and economic system, which offers local companies and firms certain advantages. As an autonomous community, the Canary Islands are also governed by an autonomous government and a separate regional parliament, which has extensive legislative powers.

Administratively, the Canary Islands are divided into two provinces: The province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (with its capital Santa Cruz) is made up of the western Canary Islands Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, while the province of Las Palmas with the capital of the same name consists of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. All of these seven main islands are ruled by an island council (Cabildo Insular). The union of all Cabildos is the Mancomunidad de Cabildos. The Cabildos Insulares are divided into communities, each of which has a town hall (Ayuntamiento).

While the seat of the Canarian Parliament is the city of Santa Cruz, that of the President changes back and forth between Tenerife and Gran Canaria every four years. Paulino Rivero Baute has been President of the Canary Islands since 2007. He belongs to the regional party Coalición Canaria (CC) and has José Manuel Soria next to him as vice-president of the coalition party PP. The current distribution of seats in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands is that the socialist party PSOE has 26 seats, the conservative Partido Popular 17 seats, the nationalist-liberal Coalición Canaria 15 seats and the Agrupación Herreño Independiente 2 seats.

The Canary Islands have 13 seats in the Spanish Parliament (Cortes Generales). Of these 13 seats – 3 for Gran Canaria, 3 for Tenerife and 1 each for every other island – 11 are elected directly and 2 indirectly by the autonomous government.

The official name of the Canary Islands is:

Las Islas Canarias The Canary Islands

National anthem

The national anthem of the Canaries is that of Spain, to which the island kingdom also belongs. The Spanish anthem “La Marcha Real” (Royal March) is one of the few national anthems without text. It is also one of the oldest in Europe; its origin is unknown. In 1770 King Carlos III declared. from Spain the “Marcha Granadera” for the official “March of Honor”. Dubbed La Marcha Real by the Spanish people, the anthem was always played when members of the royal family appeared in public. During the Second Republic (1931-1939) this song was replaced by the “Himno de Riego”. Franco reintroduced “La Marcha Real” during his dictatorship (1939-1975).

National flag of the Canary Islands

The flag of the Canary Islands The flag of the Canary Islands was established in 1982 in Article 6 of the Autonomy Statute of the Comunidad Autónoma de Canarias and consists of white, blue and yellow. This was retained in Article 7 paragraph 1 of the new version of the Statute of Autonomy in November 2018. Based on flag descriptions by, the meaning of the three colors is as follows:

– White stands for the purity and softness of the air and the mild climate

– Blue stands for the Atlantic.

– Yellow represents the sand on the islands’ beaches

  • Check top-mba-universities for public holidays, sports events, UNESCO world heritage sites and major places to visit in Canary Islands.

Canary Islands, Canaries: Known People

Writer and poet

Rafael Arozarena Doblado (1923-2009)

The Spanish poet, writer and prose writer was awarded the Canary Islands Literature Prize in 1988.

He died on September 30, 2009 in Tenerife.

Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920)

The Spanish writer, who died in 1920, is one of the most important Spanish-speaking novelists of realism. Galdós grew up in Las Palmas and moved to Madrid in 1862.

Josefina Pla (1909-1999)

The writer, born in 1909 on the tiny Canary Island of Los Lobos, also excelled as a potter. She lived in Paraguay for a long time and had a decisive influence on intellectual life there.

José Saramago (1922-2010)

The Portuguese novelist, poet, essayist, storyteller and playwright was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998 for his extraordinary work. He lived in Lanzarote from 1992 until his death on June 18, 2010.

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo (1864-1936)

The Spanish-Basque writer and philosopher spent a few months in exile on the island of Fuerteventura in 1924, which he characterized as an “oasis in the desert of civilization”.


Alfredo Kraus (1927-1999)

Kraus, the famous Spanish singer and teacher, was one of the most important representatives of the lyric tenor subject.

Pedro Manuel Guerra Mansito (born 1966)

The Spanish songwriter, born in Güímar on Tenerife in 1966, plays a musical style that is influenced by Canarian folklore, but also uses many modern, Latin American and North African rhythms.

José Antonio Ramos (1969-2008)

This Spanish-Canarian musician, who was one of the best timple players in his country, died at the age of only 38.

Rosana (born 1963)

was born in 1963 on the volcanic island of Lanzarote. Rosana Arbelo is a Spanish singer who opened the Benidorm Festival with her song Fuego y Miel in 1994. Some Canciones from the 1996 album Lunas Rotas were used for the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s film Curdled.

Luis Millares Sall “Totoyo” (born 1935)

The Spanish musician and native Canario is celebrated as the founder of modern timple music.

Visual artist

César Manrique (1919-1992)

The Canarian artist, architect, sculptor and environmentalist on his native island of Lanzarote has had a major impact on the image of the beautiful volcanic island with his works.

Néstor (1887-1938)

The painter, born in 1887 as Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, created his two main works with the picture cycles Poema del Atlántico and Poema de la Tierra.

Important politicians

Juan Fernando López Aguilar (born 1961)

The Spanish politician of the Socialist Workers’ Party of Spain (PSOE) from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was also the top candidate of his party in the European elections in 2009. From 2004 to 2007 he was the Spanish Minister of Justice.

Paulino Rivero Baute (born 1952)

The Spanish politician, who was born in El Sauzal on Tenerife in 1952, has been the President of the Canary Islands since July 11, 2007. Politically, he belongs to the Canarian regional party Coalición Canaria (CC).

Sven Giegold (born 1969)

The economist, born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1969, founded Attac Germany with around 200 other people. In 2009 Giegold, who has been a member of the Greens since September 2008, successfully ran for the European Parliament.

Juan Negrín Lopez (1887-1892? -1956)

Lopez was one of the most influential Spanish Republican politicians (PSOE) in the Spanish Civil War.

Fernando Fernández Martín (born 1943)

The former President of the Canary Islands (1987-1990) has been a member of the European Parliament since 1994.

Adán Martín Menis (born 1943)

Between 2003 and 2007 Menis was the elected President of the Government of the Canary Islands.

Leopoldo O’Donnell (1809-1867)

The Spanish general and politician was able to serve as Spanish Prime Minister several times during his life.

Actors and directors

Javier Ángel Encinas Bardem (born 1969)

Javier Bardem has become known to most people since his lead role in the US film No Country for Old Men. Incidentally, the Oscar-winning actor is engaged to Penélope Cruz.

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (born 1967)

This Spanish screenwriter and director comes from Santa Cruz de Tenerife and received an Oscar nomination for his debut work Esposados (1996).


Luis Molowny Arbelo (born 1925)

This later Spanish football player and coach was born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1925.

Víctor Añino Bermúdez (born 1983)

The Tenerife-born Spanish soccer player has played for the Greek first division club Aris Saloniki since 2008.

Sergio Rodríguez Gómez (born 1986)

The famous Spanish basketball player was born in 1986 in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Gómez is currently playing the point guard position.

Jorge Larena (born 1981)

This Spanish soccer player was born in sunny Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and has been playing for the second division UD Las Palmas since 2008.

Antonio Guayre Betancor Perdomo (born 1980)

The Spanish soccer player currently plays for CD Numancia in the Spanish Primera División.

Other personalities

Francisco Cases Andreu (born 1944)

The cleric, born in Spain in 1944, is the current Bishop of the Diocese of the Canary Islands (Diócesis de Canarias) based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In 2005 Pope Benedict XVI had it. installed in this office, which had become vacant due to the age of his predecessor Ramón Echarren Ystúriz.

Jean de Béthencourt (1362-1425)

The Normandy-born nobleman began in 1402 under the Castilian King Henry III. the conquest of the Canary Islands. Its possessions fell to the Crown of Castile.

Alonso Luis Fernández de Lugo (1456-1525)

This noblewoman from Andalusia died in 1525, who was able to bring the conquest of the Canary Islands to a close by successfully claiming the island of Tenerife for himself.

Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean

An ocean or a sea is understood to mean all larger bodies of water that are connected to one another. In this respect, for example, the Caspian Sea – despite its name – is not a sea in the sense of the definition of geographers or oceanographers.

With an area of around 106 million km², the Atlantic Ocean (Atlantic) is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific. Its area corresponds to about 20% of the total surface of the earth. Its salt content is on average 3.54% grams per liter (g/l).

It separates America from Europe and Africa. The Strait of Gibraltar is certainly a very well-known connection between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean , where it separates Europe (Gibraltar/Great Britain) from Africa (Morocco).

The Panama Canal connects the Pacific with the Atlantic for around 82 km.

At Cape Agulhas, about 250 kilometers southeast of Cape Town – on the southern tip of the African continent – and not at the Cape of Good Hope, is the geographical place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

With the Arctic Ocean , the Atlantic is through the Denmark Strait and connected to Baffin Bay. The Atlantic is connected to the Pacific by the Strait of Magellan and Cape Horn.

The deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean is around 9,220 m below the water surface. This location is known as Milwaukee Deep and is part of the Puerto Rico Trench. The Puerto Rico Trench is located southeast of the Bermuda Triangle at the junction of the “North American Plate” and the “Caribbean Plate”.

The average depth of the Atlantic Ocean, together with its secondary seas, is 3,340 m – without its secondary seas, the average depth is 3,930 m.

The Atlantic Ocean together with its tributaries has a water volume of 354.7 million km³. Without its side seas, it has a water volume of 323.6 million km³.

Canary Islands: animals


The most common reptiles in the Canary Islands are the Western Canary Islands and the Small Canary Islands Lizard. Endemic giant Canarian lizards occur on Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro. While the (by the way quite common) Gran Canaria giant lizard can be between 40 and 50 centimeters long, the El Hierro giant lizard (Gallotia simonyi machadori; sp. Lagarto gigante) even reaches a size of up to 75 centimeters.

As for the La Gomera and El Hierro giant lizards, these were already considered extinct before a goatherd was able to discover a residual population on El Hierro in the 1970s.

Furthermore, a giant lizard was rediscovered on Tenerife in 1996, which was also thought to be extinct. She was able to survive in the areas of the Teno Mountains. Another giant lizard was found in 1999 in the Valle Gran Rey on La Gomera. You can currently see them in an outdoor terrarium in the south of La Gomera.

Apart from the giant lizards, there is also the West and East Kanarenskink in the Canaries.

Wall geckos are also quite common on house walls.

A specialty is the Haria lizard that lives in the Timanfaya National Park. However, they are also available on Lanzerote.

With the sea turtles (Cheloniidae) living near the coast, the turtles are the largest reptile in the Canary Islands.

Many people can rest assured that snakes do not exist in the Canary Islands.


The birds form the most diverse group in the Canarian fauna and also include various endemic representatives.

Their biodiversity is enormous, so that only a few representatives can be named.

These include the Canarian long-eared owl, the Canarian great spotted woodpecker, the robin and the blue finch.

There are also blackbirds, wrens, finches, goldfinches, ravens, tits and several species of crows. The undisputed symbol of the animal island world is and remains the canary, whose Latin name is Serinus canarius.

The islands’ endangered animals include the osprey, the imperial eagle and the Canary bustard.


Among the numerous butterflies are also endemic species such as the Canary Admiral, the Canary White and the Canary Forest Board Game. In addition to dragonflies, grasshoppers are also quite common. The latter can come over from Africa and cause serious damage. You can also find bees, wasps, flies and mosquitoes here.

Underwater world

Apart from the sea turtles (Cheloniidae) living near the coast, the Canarian marine fauna consists mainly of rays, swordfish and large tuna, goat and grouper, sea bream, parrot fish, pollack and winged bucket.

Not to be forgotten are the 28 whale and dolphin species that have been found to date in the archipelago. There are also (angel) sharks around the Canary Islands, but no attacks on humans have been reported.

Canary Islands: plants

General remark

The Canary Islands have a very diverse flora. Current estimates assume about 2,000 plant species on the islands, over 500 of which are endemic, of which 57% occur on only one island.

Where you can find which plant species in the Canary Islands depends of course on the topography and the weather, so that the islands differ greatly in their “green image”.


In the more dry areas, pine oaks, maritime pines and pines determine the typical landscape.

The symbol of Tenerife is the dragon tree, with the oldest tree of this genus in the north of the island.

It is said to be 1,000 years old, but considering the age of around 400 years that the trees can usually reach, it seems a bit excessive. Dragon trees belong to the agave family and can grow up to 20 m. In old age they get an extremely thick, light brown to gray trunk. Two different stories tell how the dragon tree got its name. One says that damaged or broken shoots usually sprout again (which is actually the case), just as the dragon grows two heads back if you cut off one head.

In the other story, the colorless, resinous excretion that emerges when the trunk is injured and turns dark red in the air is reminiscent of “dragon’s blood”.


The cultivated and useful plants, especially on Tenerife, are not only grapevines but also bananas, tomatoes and avocado trees.

Mangoes, kiwis, papayas and pineapples are also increasingly being grown and exported.

Medicinal plants

The saffron scars are said to have digestive, antispasmodic and circulatory stimulating properties. In folk medicine, they are also used for wounds and inflammation. In the past, saffron was given to women at birth, as well as used in the plague and for contraception. The flowers of the poppy are said to have a calming and analgesic effect, which is why they are also used for dry coughs, asthma, insomnia and hoarseness.

Poisonous plants

The oleander from the dog poison family is poisonous. It grows both as a tree and as a shrub and reaches a size of up to 5 m. It has leathery evergreen leaves and white or pink flowers. All parts of the plant are poisonous, but especially the fresh leaves.

After consumption, stomach pain, headaches, nausea, cramps and diarrhea can occur. In severe poisoning, cardiac arrhythmias can also be among the symptoms. In very bad cases, death from respiratory or cardiac paralysis can even result. Contact can cause skin irritation.

The poppy from the poppy family is only slightly toxic. The latex contained in all parts of the plant except for the seeds is said to occasionally cause nausea and stomach pain. The plant, which can grow up to 90 cm, grows on the edges of fields as well as in fields. The poppy can be recognized by its red flowers, which are often mixed with tea blends when dry.

It is widespread in Europe and North Africa. The candelabra milkweed from the Canary Islands is very poisonous.

The sap is corrosive and if it gets into the eyes, there is a risk of blindness.

It was previously used by the indigenous peoples to stun fish.

More plants

The guanche rose and the Teide violet are very rare. Both grow in El Teide National Park. Common plants in Tenerife are bougainvillea, lilies and strelizia. In the coastal and arid zone, it is mainly the milkweed plants that thrive, including the highly poisonous candelabra milkweed. This plant is also known as Canary Island Spurge.

It grows very slowly, reaches a size of two to three meters and has numerous shoots, every 8-15 cm thick and covered with thorns.

Opuntia (prickly pear cacti), the rosette thick leaf and the Canarian date palm are also typical of this region. Hyacinths and corn poppies.

Canary Islands Politics