Thursday, 5 March 2015

Is it a dog or a little caged bird?

Tomorrow we go to the Canary Islands - this time to Gran Canaria, which we have not been to before. The name of the island means Great (island of) Dogs, because when Europeans reached this archepelago in the late 15th century, they found the inhabitants were using dogs to help them manage in the rough volcanic landscape.
(So - 'Canary' means 'dogs' and not 'little caged singing birds').
It has been a matter of some debate where these aboriginal islanders came from - but the consensus is that they were from the Barbary Coast in North Africa, and it is known that they were blue-eyed. Only a few words of their language survived the apocalyptic onslaught they faced when Christianity decided to take them in hand, but there is enough surviving genetic evidence to confirm the earlier speculations.
This island is not as high as Tenerife where we went before, and it is smaller, but it has its own interesting volcanic history and beautiful landscapes, and we are looking forward to some warmth and sun, excellent food, swimming, walking and exploring.
I am particularly interested in that settlement period, when the various colonising countries of Europe piled into this useful group of workable lands as a staging post to reach the Americas. Here they could get water, timber, food, shelter, etc., and of course they could grab chunks of territory for themselves, which they did.  Hence the arrival of the various Christian orders, who also vied for a place - we have seen rival monastic palaces set up under the different orders, right alongside each other, on Tenerife.
Please do follow and comment, if you can, on our reports. We love to hear from you!  The plan is to publish a book of our modest travels in due course, so interaction could be a really good ingredient for that part of the project.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to following your travels - your blog posts are like windows to the world.