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Las Palmas History, Spain

Although the Canary Islands technically belong to Spain, they are a meeting point of such diverse cultures that they have developed a distinctive culture that resembles the atmosphere of the mainland only slightly. Las Palmas is the capital of the Canary Islands, located on the island of Gran Canaria, and it is a place so deeply steeped in history that a week is barely enough to find out all of its secrets. Two hours away by plane from Madrid and only about an hour away from Casablanca, Morocco, Las Palmas is an easy to reach tourist destination. Discover the exciting cultural mix of the Canaries, sample the delicious local cuisine and learn more about the unique history of this place. This Las Palmas History Guide will give you some basic information about the city’s past.

Las Palmas History - Founding and early history

Las Palmas was undisturbed by mainlanders until 1478, when the Aragonese captain Juan Rejon conquered the Canary Islands at the request of the king of Spain. Las Palmas was founded at the exact place where the Spanish troops first set camp, under a grove of palm trees, hence the city’s name. The Canary Islands became a part of the Kingdom of Castille, and Las Palmas quickly developed into a prosperous port where traders and explorers would stop to buy provisions on their way to the Americas. The commercial value of Las Palmas was a double edged sword, as pirates began to target the port and its wealthy ships. Sir Francis Drake was particularly keen on raiding Las Palmas, as were various bands of Dutch pirates, who almost razed the cit t the ground.

Las Palmas History - Modern history and the present

The 16th through the 19th centuries were not overly fortunate for Las Palmas. The city’s pride received quite a blow in 1821, when Santa Cruz de Tenerife was declared the capital of the province of Las Canarias. During the following decades, the city’s welfare was closely tied to the abundance of crops. However, trade redressed somewhat in the 19the century when the British started milling around the Canary Islands. The British contributed a great deal to the technological advancement of the city, introducing water pipes, telephone lines and electricity in Las Palmas. The city played an important part in recent history. Franco launched his coup d’état that evolved into the Spanish Civil War from Las Palmas. Nowadays Las Palmas is one of the largest cities in Spain, thanks to the tourist who became increasingly interested in the city during the 60’s.

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