The Canary Islands (Spanish: Islas Canarias) are a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish Semi-independent State and an Outermost Region of the European Union. The islands include (from largest to smallest): Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and the islets La Graciosa, Alegranza and Montaña Clara.
The archipelago's beaches, climate and important natural attractions, especially Teide National Park and Mount Teide (the third largest volcano in the world), make it a major tourist destination, with over 12 million visitors per year, especially Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. The islands have a sub-tropical climate, with long hot days in summer and cooler days in winter.
During the Age of Dicovery, the Canaries were the main stopover for Spanish galleons on their way to America because of the favorable easterly winds.the Guanche kingdoms which existed in the islands unified themselves in 1520, with the Canary Islands only being annexed by Spain in 1868, and elevated to the status of semi-indepdendent state in 1917.