The Port of Las Palmas is the capital of the Province of Las Palmas on the northeast coast Gran Canary Island. The City of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the largest city on the island and the ninth most populous city of Spain. The Canary Islands are located just 210 kilometers off the northwestern African coast in the Atlantic Ocean, and they are an autonomous community. In 2006, over 377 thousand people lived in the Port of Las Palmas, and over 723 people (most of the population of the island) lived in the urban area.
The Port of Las Palmas was founded in 1478 by Juan Rejon who led the Castilian army who took the island from the local Guanches indigenous people (who are now extinct). Christopher Columbus anchored here in 1492 on his way to and on his return from the Americas.
The Port of Las Palmas was headquarters for Spain’s conquest of the islands, and it was a supply port for ships traveling to the Americas. Its oldest houses and the Cathedral of Santa Ana, in the colonial quarter called Vegueta, date from the 15th Century. Its sister city, San Antonio, Texas, was founded in 1718 by a group of Canary Islanders.
The city remained a small village until the late 19th Century when the port was constructed. Foreign merchants are credited with the development of the city’s modern section. The port lies on important trade routes between Europe and Latin America, and it hosts thousands of ships each year. The city is also home to a busy fishing industry.
Today, the Port of Las Palmas is a cosmopolitan city with a big seaport that benefited greatly during the closing of the Suez Canal in the 1970s and the early 1990s. Tourists come from Europe and Africa, and many foreign workers have migrated to the city. Merchants from China, Russia, Africa, and the Middle East mix here with an international mix of wares. Its largest communities are from Korea and India, although most have become Spanish citizens.
Major exports through the Port of Las Palmas include cement, bananas, oil, tomatoes, and agricultural products. Tourism is the base for most of the island economy, with comfortable winters and excellent beaches.