The island of Tenerife has volcanic origins, and its formation started some 12 million years ago. However, Tenerife reached to its final form – exhibited even today – only about 3 million years ago, by eruptions which have welded, so to say, together a series of other small islands.

The first inhabitants of Tenerife, alternately referred to as Achinet, Nivaria or the Island of Hell, were the Guanches, a tribe which populated the island as early as the year 200 B.C. At first, the population was organized in several Guanche Kingdoms, but the island subsequently had to face the invasive attempts of both Spaniards and Englishmen. The most notable remnants reminding of the Guanche era, and substantiating the greatness of this civilization, refer to the pyramids located in Guimar, allegedly built by the Guanches, though the hypothesis is still being debated.

Medieval and Modern Era

The first battle between the inhabitants and the Spanish troops, consisting of 2,200 pedestrians and riders, took place in 1494. The inhabitants wan despite the fact the invaders had the advantage of a much more advanced technology. For two years, the political structures of the inhabitants had managed to maintain their independence, but in September 1496, the Spaniards succeeded in their conquering attempt.

Subsequently to the Spanish victory, plenty of natives became slaves, so a new massive colonization, which occasioned the coming of countless immigrants from Portugal, Italy and Germany, took place. Tenerife established political and commercial relations with South America and, after a century and a half of constant development, as from 1670 to the 19th century, the migration to the New World took place, the inhabitants being stimulated by the production and trade of cocoa and tobacco.

The beauty and the richness of the Canary Islands have also appealed to England. Englishmen repeatedly tried to gain dominion over the region, first in July, and then in September 1797, but the natives managed to repulse the attacks.

The modern history of Tenerife was, it too, pegged out by several significant events.

The Franco Era

Francisco Franco was sent to Tenerife in March 1936 by the Republican Government worried about the national tendencies of Franco and by his influence. However, the measure the government took back then was not the most inspired, since Franco has received a series of information and decided to involve in the military overturn which finally resulted in the Spanish Civil War. Francisco Franco became the leader of the nationalist movement against the Popular Front Government. After wining the war, Franco dissolved the former government and enforced a series of firm measures culminating in the killing of the ones opposing the new regime.

By force of the hard life conditions and of the difficulties following the war, a large part of the population started to migrate to Cuba and to other countries in Latin America in the 1950s.

Recent history

The latter half of the 20th century was highly significant for Tenerife, since it was precisely the moment when tourism started to develop on the island. At first, Puerto de la Cruz was the most frequented destination in Tenerife, due both to the soft climate and to the attractions clustered in Valle de la Orotava.

At the beginning of the 1980s, an increasingly higher number of tourists started to arrive in the south area of the island, being attracted by the sun and by the peaceful beaches. This tourist boom was seen mainly by Adeje, Arona, Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas.

At present, tourism is the most important branch of industry in Tenerife, and it keeps on developing. Each year, the number of tourists visiting Tenerife increases, reaching to more than 5 million. The largest part of tourists heading for Tenerife is represented by people coming from England, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Italy, France, Austria and Ireland.

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