The Canary Islands, also known as the Canaries, are a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union. The islands include (from largest to smallest): Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, La Graciosa, Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este, Roque del Oeste and Isla de Lobos. The Canary Islands are legally recognized as a nationality of Spain.
The archipelago's beaches, climate and important natural attractions, especially Teide National Park and Mount Teide (the third tallest volcano in the world), make it a major tourist destination, with over 12 million visitors per year, especially Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.
The islands have a subtropical climate, with long warm summers and moderately warm winters. Due to their location close to the equator yet away from tropical storms and location above the temperature inversion layer, these islands are ideal for astronomical observation. For this reason, two professional observatories, Teide Observatory on the island of Tenerife and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, have been built on the islands.
The capital for the Autonomous Community is shared by the cities of Las Palmas and Santa Cruz, which in turn are the capitals of the provinces of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been the largest city in the Canaries since 1768, except for a brief period in 1910. The third largest city of the Canary Islands is La Laguna (a World Heritage Site) on Tenerife.
During the times of the Spanish Empire the Canaries were the main stopover for Spanish galleons on their way to America because of the favorable easterly winds.
From Travel.aol.co.uk: Underwater volcano creates a brand new Canary Island
An underwater volcano near the Canary Islands has been releasing so much lava that it could protrude so far above the Atlantic Ocean it creates a brand new island.
It has been growing steadily over the last three weeks, and is already 100 metres above sea level. Another 150 metres would see it becoming the Canary Island's first new holiday hotspot for over a million years.
The volcano is situated off the coast of El Hierro, the most southern Canary Island, and is causing the ground to shake several times a day.
Experts say it currently only poses a risk to the immediate area around it, but a submarine taking pictures of the ocean floor is monitoring the situation.
However, a cloud of ash bigger than El Hierro itself is floating off the island, and schools of dead fish have been spotted on the sea surface.
Although it sounds scary, fresh magma flow is responsible for creating the archipelago, and is also a huge factor in protecting the Canaries from coastal erosion.
The Canary Island's local residents are already mulling over names for the potential new island, with some including The Discovery, Atlantis and The Best, according to the report in the Daily Mail.
The Canary Islands, located 100km northwest of the Africa's mainland, are a major tourist attraction.
Over 12 million holidaymakers flock to the islands every year to enjoy the subtropical climate, beaches and natural attractions, like the Teide National Park and Mount Teide, the highest mountain in Spain and the third tallest volcano in the world.