Puertos de Tenerife is located on Spain’s Canary Islands just over 100 kilometers off the northwestern coast of Africa. They include the Spanish provinces of Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The autonomous community of Santa Cruz de Tenerife was established in 1982. La Laguna, in Tenerife, is the third largest city of the islands and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2007, over two million people lived in the Canary Islands.
Ancient historians Plutarch and Pliny the Elder recorded a 40 BC expedition by King Juba II of Mauritania to the islands, calling them “Canaria” due to the many large dogs (canes in Latin) found there. The first people living in the Canaries were the Guanches, believed to have come from North Africa, who were conquered by Spain in the 15th Century and assimilated into the Spanish population.
Arabs first landed there and began using the islands for trade in 999 AD. Many seafaring people visited the islands in the 13th and 14th Centuries (from Genoa, Mallorca, Portugal, and France). Henry III of Castile made Jean de Bethencourt the king of the islands in 1404, although the Portuguese ruled during the mid-15th Century. In 1479, Spain was recognized as sovereign by treaty. In 1492, Christopher Columbus supplied his fleet in the Canaries.
An important stopping point for the conquistadores on their way to the New World, the Puertos de Tenerife soon became prosperous, attracting merchants from across Europe. They built many impressive churches and palaces on the island of La Palma.
As trade increased from the Americas, competition for sugar-based trade brought economic hardship to the islands and a new cash crop (cochinilla). The economic problems led to much emigration from the islands to the Americas during the 19th and 20th Centuries. Up to 40 thousand Canarians moved to Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Cuba during the mid-1800s, and their culture is still evident in the new homes of Puertos de Tenerife.
In the early 20th Century, a new cash crop, bananas, was introduced, and a strong rivalry grew between Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife that has not yet been settled. In 1927, the Canary Islands were divided into two provinces.
Today, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and los Puertos de Tenerife are home to the two tallest residential sky-scrapers in Spain. Next door, the Tenerife Auditorium is well-known as one of the most outstanding modern buildings in the Canary Islands.