The Canary Islands are known as an important part of the ancient world. The islands became a notable base for Christopher Columbus as he made his voyages to discover America. This made the Canary Islands a figurative bridge between Europe and the Americas.
The Canary Islands were colonized along with the Americas and had native people called Guanches. Europe had taken little interest in the islands prior to Columbus' use of their convenient location to gather supplies before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Seven distinct islands form the enclave, but 80% of the population live on the islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife. The islands were eventually claimed by Spain, which made them an official part of the country rather than just a colony. Upon their inclusion, they became the location of the highest point in the country despite Spain's Pyrenees Mountains.
Contrary to popular thought, the islands are not named after birds, but rather the name comes from the Latin word for dog, canaria. The major pull of tourism for the Canary Islands is their year-round sunshine. The tropical climate and classic Spanish culture, coupled with the hospitality and generosity of the Canary's' native people, make it an endearing vacation spot for many.