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Total population
Canarian diaspora
Regions with significant populations
Venezuela Venezuela 42,671-600,000[1][2]
 Cuba 30,400-900,000[1]
Argentina Argentina 2,390[1]
 United States 37,008[3]
 Uruguay 628[4]
 Brazil 620[4]
 Dominican Republic unknown
 Mexico unknown (by ancestry), 1,600 (by birth)[5]
 Peru unknown
 Puerto Rico unknown
Spanish, English
Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Spanish, Portuguese

Isleño (Spanish pronunciation: [izˈleɲo], pl. isleños) is the Spanish word meaning "islander." The Isleños are the inhabitants of the Canary Islands, and by extension the descendants of Canarian settlers and immigrants to Louisiana, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Spanish Texas, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and other parts of the Americas. The term "islander" was applied to the Canary Islanders to distinguish them from Spanish mainlanders known as "peninsulars" (Spanish: peninsulares).

But in these places, the name has evolved from a category to a cultural identity. The identity was strong enough that when speaking of Louisiana's Canary Islanders or their descendants, people referred to them as the Isleños, or los Isleños.

In Latin America, Canary Islanders are known as Isleños, as well. Another name for referring to a Canary Islander, in English, is "Canarian." In Spanish, an alternative is Canario or Isleño Canario.

In Latin America, at least in those countries which had large Canarian populations, the term Isleño is still used to distinguish a Canary Islander from a continental Spaniard. By the early 18th century there were many more Canarians and descendants in the Americas than there were in the Canary Islands. In addition, the Canarians had many children, so that now, the number of descendants of those first immigrants must be exponentially larger than the number who originally migrated.

In fact, the Americas were the destination of most Canarian immigrants, from its discovery in 1492 until the 20th century, when it was combined to a lesser extent with the Spanish colonies in Africa (Ifni, Western Sahara and Equatorial Guinea; first half of the twentieth century) and Europe (since the 1970s), although the emigration to the Americas would not end until the early 1980s. The culture of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Uruguay partially derive from the Canarian culture, as do the accents of these first three countries and of the Dominican Republic. Although most of the Canarians who emigrated to the Americas from the sixteenth to the twentieth century are well-mixed with the population, there still remain communities that preserve the Canarian culture of their ancestors in some areas of the continent, such as in Louisiana, San Antonio of Texas, Hatillo (Puerto Rico), San Carlos de Tenerife (now a neighborhood of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) and San Borondón in Peru.

General history

Isleño settlements in Louisiana
"Spanish" trapper and sons, Delacroix Island, 1941

The Canary emigration to the Americas began as early as 1492, with the first voyage of Columbus, and did not end until the early 1980s. Between 1492 and 1501 (in recent years the Spanish conquest of the Canary Islands (1402–96), rediscovered by Portugal in the fourteenth century), Columbus made a stopover in the Canaries to get supplies. Also in 1501 (or 1502), Nicolás de Ovando left Canary with several people heading to the island of Santo Domingo.[6] In the early sixteenth century, some Guanches from the Canary Islands were exported as slaves to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic (in this late until 1534). Also, in the first half of the sixteenth century, Europeans organized several groups of people chosen in the Canary Islands to colonize parts of Latin America (Buenos Aires, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia and Florida). To these conquerors, some of whom settled permanently in the Americas, there followed some groups of Canarians who settled in the Dominican Republic and Cuba in the second half of sixteenth century (although there were also some Canarians elsewhere in the Americas in these times). In 1611, some 10 Canarian families were sent to Santiago del Prado, Cuba (although, as in the second half of the sixteenth century, also had some Canarian families and Canarians more in the Americas in the first half of the seventeenth century). In 1663, by Royal Decree of May 6, 800 Canarian families were sent to the Spanish island; it is assumed that this was to avert the danger that the French might seize it, since to that date they already had occupied what is now Haiti.

In 1678, the Spanish crown enacted the so-called Tributo de Sangre (Blood Tribute); this was a Spanish law stipulating that for every thousand tons of cargo shipped from Spanish America to Spain, 50 Canarian families would be sent to the Americas to populate regions having low populations of Peninsulares, or Spanish-born Spaniards.[7] Consequently, during the late 17th and 18th century, hundreds of Canarian families were removed to Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, with others going to places like Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina or the south of the present United States. These families were sent to populate various parts of Latin America. The Tributo de Sangre was finally abolished in 1764. Despite that, many Canarians continued to migrate to the Americas to escape grinding poverty at home. After the liberation of the Latin American countries from Spanish rule (1811–1825), Spain retained only Cuba and Puerto Rico as colonies in the Americas. It abolished slavery in those colonies, and encouraged Canarian emigration. Most Canarian immigrants then emigrated to the two islands in the Caribbean, where their labor was exploited and they were paid very little. There were, however, also thousands of Canarians who emigrated to other countries like Venezuela, Uruguay and Argentina. After the annexation of Cuba and Puerto Rico to the United States and the prohibition of Canarian emigration to Puerto Rico in 1898, emigration was directed primarily to Cuba, with certain flows to other countries (especially Argentina and Uruguay). After 1936, most Canarian immigrants went to Cuba and Venezuela until 1948, when an most of the islanders began emigrating to Venezuela. Since the 1970s Canarian emigration has decreased and from the early 1980s, with the improvement of the Canary Islands' economy (and Spain's in general, until the economic crisis of 2008), Canarian emigration has diminished.

Reasons for the Canarian emigration to the Americas

After a century and a half of growth there arose symptoms of crisis. The lack of output of vidueño canario, an internationally traded white table wine (after the emancipation, in 1640, of Portugal, whose colonies were its preferred market), brought many Isleño families to the Americas. There was talk of overpopulation of the islands, so the Spanish crown decided to institute the "El Tributo de Sangre (The tribute of blood)", whereby, for each ton of cargo that a Spanish colony of the Americas sent to Spain, they would send five Canary families to that colony. Generally, though, the number of families exported exceeded 10 families. The occupation of Jamaica by the English and the western half of Santo Domingo and the Guianas by the French, made the Crown consider this alternative in order to avoid the occupation of part of Venezuela or the Greater Antilles. In the nineteenth century, the Canaries experienced great economic development through trade of cochineal dye, but in the 1880s, trade in this product plummeted, which together with the coffee boom and the war crisis in Cuba favored a period of great depression in the Canaries. This also facilitated Canarian emigration to the Americas. After 1893, they continued to come to Venezuela in order to escape Spanish military service. Moreover, in the framework of the Ten Years' War (1868–78) in Cuba, Cuban autonomists and separatists considered Isleño emigration differentiated from the peninsular, leading them to promote it to that place. The usual formula of emigration was employed. Complicity and fraud governed the actions of the Canarian ruling classes. In the twentieth century, poverty, the Spanish Civil War, and the Franco regime also drove Canarian migration to the Americas.[8]

For the reasons already mentioned, there were specific problems on some islands that also boosted Canarian emigration. In Lanzarote, from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, in addition to those general problems, the people experienced terrible drought (1626–32), epidemics, house and tithe taxes, invasion of locusts, several volcanic eruptions in 1730 affected over half the population, causing many of them to migrate), pirate attacks (Lanzarote suffered more pirate invasions than the other islands) and harsh weather conditions. Therefore, many people of Lanzarote migrated to other Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura) and to the Americas (Uruguay, Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela and the southern United States).[9]


Isleños in United States

During the eighteenth century, the Spanish crown sent several groups of Canary Islanders to their colonies in the contemporary United States. Spain's goal was to repopulate some of their colonial regions. Thus, between 1731 and 1783, several Canarian communities settled in the south of the modern United States. In 1731, 16 Canarian families arrived in San Antonio (Texas), between 1757 and 1759, 154 families were sent to Florida and between 1778 and 1783 another 2,100 Canarians arrived in Louisiana. In this region, the Canarians settlers developed into four communities: St. Bernard Parish, Valenzuela, Barataria and Galveztown. The Isleños took part in the American Revolution and the defense of the Alamo, and after the incorporation of Louisiana and Texas into the United States, they fought in American wars such as the Civil War and both world wars. The Isleños also have been able to preserve their culture in San Antonio and Louisiana into the present, except in Florida (where, although they promoted its agriculture, most of the Canarian settlers of Florida emigrated to Cuba when Florida was sold to Great Britain in 1763, and still more left when, after being recovered by Spain, it was ceded to the United States in 1819). The Isleños have been able to preserve their language (the Spanish dialect spoken in the Canary Islands in the 18th century), up until the 1950s in San Antonio, and through to the present day in Louisiana, in St. Bernard Parish.

Isleño influence in Hispanic Antilles

Louisiana's Islenos are somewhat connected by Cuban, Puerto Rican and Dominican culture for over 200 years. These Caribbean countries are highly influenced by an earlier wave of Spanish settlers Isleños a.k.a. Canarios from the Canary Islands, who first arrived in the Americas in the late sixteenth century.

Most Jíbaros were of Canarian stock


Cuba was the most influenced by Canary immigration of all Latin American countries.

Many words in traditional Cuban Spanish can be traced to those of the Spanish spoken in the Canary Islands. Many Canary Islanders emigrated to Cuba and had one of the largest parts in the formation of the Cuban dialect and accent. There are also many elements from other areas of Spain such as Andalusian, Galician, Asturian, Catalan, as well as some African influence. Cuban Spanish is very close to Canarian Spanish. Canarian emigration has been going on for centuries to Cuba, and were also very numerous in emigration of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Through cross emigration of Canarians and Cubans, many of the customs of Canarians have become Cuban traditions and vice versa. The music of Cuba has become part of the Canarian culture as well, such as mambo, son, and punto Cubano. Because of Cuban emigration to the Canary Islands, the dish "moros y cristianos", or simply known as "moros" (Moors), can be found as one of the foods of the Canary Islands; especially the island of La Palma. Canary Islanders were the driving force in the cigar industry in Cuba, and were called "Vegueros." Many of the big cigar factories in Cuba were owned by Canary Islanders. After the Castro revolution, many Cubans and returning Canarians settled in the Canary islands, among them were many Cigar factory owners such as the Garcia family. The cigar business made its way to the Canary Islands from Cuba, and now the Canary Islands are one of the places that are known for cigars alongside Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras. The island of La palma has the greatest Cuban influence out of all seven islands. Also, La Palma has the closest Canarian accent to the Cuban accent, due to the most Cuban emigration to that island.

Many of the typical Cuban replacements for standard Spanish vocabulary stem from Canarian lexicon. For example, guagua (bus) differs from standard Spanish autobús the former originated in the Canaries and is an onomatopoeia stemming from the sound of a Klaxon horn (wah-wah!). The term of endearment "socio" is from the Canary Islands. An example of Canarian usage for a Spanish word is the verb fajarse[19] ("to fight"). In standard Spanish the verb would be pelearse, while fajar exists as a non-reflexive verb related to the hemming of a skirt. Cuban Spanish shows strong heritage to the Spanish of the Canary Islands.

Many names for food items come from the Canary Islands as well. The Cuban sauce mojo, is based on the mojos of the Canary Islands were the mojo was invented. Also, Canarian ropa vieja is the father to Cuban ropa vieja through Canarian emigration. Gofio is a Canarian food also known by Cubans, along with many others.

Puerto Rico

Between 1678 and 1764 takes place called "Tributo de sangre" (Tribute in blood), by which for every ton of cargo shipped from the Spanish colonies in the Americas to Spain, in exchange for 5 Canarian families were sent to populate any of these colonies. However, the number exported of families to the Americas often exceeded this figure. So, the first wave of Canarian migration seems to be 1695 in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico with Juan Fernández Franco de Medina [born 1646 in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and was Governor of Puerto Rico (1st term (1685–90) and 2nd term (1695–97)], who arrived with 20 Canarian families.[10] This was followed by others in 1714, 1720, 1731, and 1797.

Between 1720 and 1730 some 176 families with a total of 882 Isleños or Canarians emigrated, with 60% married and the rest married in Puerto Rico.

The tribute of blood was forbidden in 1764, but the poverty and overpopulation in the Canaries remained open for immigration to Puerto Rico and other parts of Latin America. Now they migrated to these places to try to alleviate their poverty. After the independence of Spanish America (1811–1825), most Canarian immigrants were directed to Cuba and Puerto Rico (the only colonies that remained Spanish in the Americas); both places received many Canarians who were exploited at work, basically after those places abolished slavery. The Isleños increased their commercial traffic and emigration concentrated to the two Spanish-American colonies, Puerto Rico and particularly Cuba. Following the Spanish–American War of 1898, Canarian immigration to the Americas continued. Successive waves of Canary Island immigration came to Puerto Rico, where entire villages were formed of relocated islanders.[11]

Between 1891–95, Canary emigration to Puerto Rico was 600, with these being official figures; if illegal or concealed emigration were taken into account, the numbers would be much larger.[12] In total, in the nineteenth century the Canarian diaspora in Puerto Rico is estimated at 2,733 people, mostly rural people, peasants tired of working for others in outside lands to them, who tended to settle in Puerto Rico in families or groups of families related to each other.[13]

In Puerto Rico, whole towns and villages were founded by Canarian immigrants and the lasting influence of Canarian culture can still be seen and heard in the Puerto Rican accent and in the cuatro, a small guitar with origins from the Canary Islands. After Andalucia, already the Canarian Islands are the Spanish region that contributed the 2nd most to making up the Puerto Rican population, being in addition the main Spanish community in that country in the nineteenth century. They were the Isleños and their families who contributed most in Puerto Rico to promote agriculture as a familiar task in involving women and children, providing, in the process, a provincial rural character and Puerto Rican society, preserving the ancestral right tropics customs, traditions, folk arts, religion, language and peculiarities festivities today are fundamental features of the culture of the Puerto Rican people. For reasons of coexistence and solidarity they tended to settle in areas where other Isleños were already living. Preferably they settled in towns like Camuy, Hatillo and Barceloneta. Some became land owners and married Taino women. Where they tended to concentrate, and to multiply themselves by the fields scattered, rural districts, cities and towns of Puerto Rico such as San Juan, Ponce, Lares, San Sebastián, Lajas, Mayagüez and Manatí, forming a series of small villages where eventually merging with other Puerto Ricans and with the peasant jíbaro.

The Isleños came up married and with children, which facilitated the preservation of the customs, traditions, religious and accent. A group of scholars of genetic sciences, assigned to various Puerto Rican universities, conducted a study of DNA mitochondrial, which is passed through the mother, finding that the present population of Puerto Rico have in its genome a large genetic component Guanche, i.e. the Canarian aborigines, especially on the island of Tenerife. In some areas of the island, this component Guanche appears in 55% of the sampled population, while in others, particularly in the west island, the component appears in 82% of the sampled population.[13]

Dominican Republic

Another country with great isleño influence in the Caribbean islands is the Dominican Republic. Thus, already in 1501 (or 1502), Nicolás de Ovando leaves Canary with several people heading to Santo Domingo island (some them from Lanzarote[9]).[14] In fact, according to historical data, were carried white slaves to the Santo Domingo island until 1534. The only white slaves that to date had the Crown, were the Guanches[15] (in addition, was found Guanche genes of Tenerife in some areas of the Dominican Republic in the Canaries that had not migrated). There was also a small flow of Canarian settlers that arrived in the Dominican Republic in the second half of the sixteenth century, but it place was superseded by Cuba in the 1580s with new settlers. However, the Dominican Republic in the mid-seventeenth century had, still, a very small population and suffered economic hardship. Thus, believed that the French, who had occupied the western part of the island of Santo Domingo (now Haiti), could also take the east of the island. Therefore, the authorities in Santo Domingo asked the Spanish crown sent Canarian families as the only way to stop French expansion.[14] Thus, for 1663 and by Royal Decree of May 6, were sent 800 Canarian families to the island Spanish, it is assumed that this was caused by the danger that the French seize it, as to date them already had occupied what is now Haiti.[15] In addition, with the Tributo de sangre (blood tribute), 97 Canarian families arrived in 1684 to the Dominican Republic and founded San Carlos de Tenerife (which in 1911 be become in a neighborhood of Santo Domingo). The Dominican authorities decided to concentrate on agriculture and livestock. They created a municipal corporation and a church for Their patroness, Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of Candelaria). The population increased with the arrival of 39 families in 1700 and another 49 in 1709. Canarian families arrived in this year had to bribe the Governor to be added to San Carlos. In the first decades of the eighteenth century, another group of Canarian emigrated to Santiago de los Caballeros, where he will have an exclusive isleño militia, and another in Frontera, where the group founded Banica and Hincha in 1691 and 1702 respectively. In these latter developed a livestock region that grew thanks to trade with Haiti. The lack of financial resources and the War of the Spanish Succession dilated and spaced greatly the number of families that arrived in those years. It was from that time when is increase significantly the number of Canarian migrants, but suffered a standstill between 1742 and 1749 as a result of the great war with England. The Canarians settled mainly in the French border to prevent the territorial expansion of the country (founded San Rafael de Angostura, San Miguel de la Atalaya, the Las Caobas and Dajabón) and the founding of port areas of strategic interest, such as ports of Monte Cristi Province in 1751 with the arrival of 46 families between 1735 and 1736, Puerto Plata (1736), Samana (1756) and Sabana de la Mar (1760).[14] The Canarians also founded places as San Carlos de Tenerife (currently a neighborhood located in the capital), Baní, Neiba, San Juan de la Maguana and Jánico.[16]

Since 1764, the Canarians are directed essentially to the Cibao. The thriving border towns would be abandoned in 1794 when ultimately become part of Haiti during the Haitian domination (1822–44). A portion of the population, specially from Cibao, moved to Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The population of other side of the border moved to interior of the island. The isleños were, at least for a long time, the fastest growing group in the Dominican Republic. In the nineteenth and twentieth century, the flow of Canaries who emigrated to this country was much less. Santana, the first president of the Dominican Republic, rented several ships to Venezuela to take to the Canarian immigrants of this country who lived in the Federation War era and taking them to the Dominican Republic, but most of the 2,000 Canarian that emigrated to the Dominican Republic would return to Venezuela in 1862, when the government of José Antonio Páez seemed to give security who they wanted. Many of the Canarian who settled in the Dominican Republic (between them the police deputy chief Jose Trujillo Monagas, originally from Gran Canaria and grandfather of the dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo) settled in the capital and in rural areas, especially in the east. During the first half of the twentieth century some groups of Canarians came to the Dominican Republic, mostly after the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), when Rafael Leónidas Trujillo picked Republican exiles. Also arrived 300 Canarian in 1955, when Trujillo impulsed the Spanish emigrations to his country to increase the white population in the same, but most emigrated then to Venezuela, because the negative conditions, that were unlike which were promised. Just stayed in the country some groups established in Constanza and in El Cibao[14]

Canarians developed in Dominican Republic crops like coffee, cocoa and snuff.[16]


During colonial times and until the end of the Second World War, the bulk of European immigrants who arrived in Venezuela were Canaries and its cultural impact was significant, influencing both the development of Castilian in the country as well as food and customs. In fact it is considered that Venezuela is the country with the largest population in the world from the Canary Islands and it is common to say in the Canary Islands that "Venezuela is the eighth island of the Canary Islands." Thus, in the seventeenth century, Venezuela was the second place of Canarian emigration (after Cuba), the first in the eighteenth century, third in the nineteenth century (after Cuba and Puerto Rico) and almost alone in the second half of the twentieth century (in the first half was as many the fifth, after Cuba, Uruguay, Argentina and the Dominican Republic). Thus, in the sixteenth century, the German Jorge de la Espira in the Canary Islands recruited 200 men to colonize Venezuela, as did Diego Hernández de Serpa, governor of New Andalusia Province, when called to send another 200 soldiers and 400 slaves from Gran Canaria to Venezuela, where some of these Canaries are among the founders of Cumaná. Also, Diego de Ordaz, governor of Paria, took about 350 persons and his successor Jerome of Ortal to 80 people from Tenerife. Although regardless of whether they were Canarian or just people settled in the islands. In 1681, 31 Canarian families and three persons of the same origin were transported to the port of Cumaná, but this area was so unsafe that people settled in villages already founded or marched to the Llanos. Also the 25 Canarian families that were transported to Guyana in 1717 to found a village there, then migrated to the Llanos. In 1697, Maracaibo was founded with 40 Canarian families, which was followed in 1700, by another 29 in the town of Los Marqueses. Maracaibo also got 25 Canarian families between 1732 and 1738, while in 1764 another 14 families arrived, to which were added another 300 families exported to Venezuela. Many of the persons that fought in the Venezuelan War of Independence in the first half of the nineteenth century were Canarians or descendants of Canarians. Thus, also there are several notable Venezuelan leaders that are of Canarian descent, such as the precursor of independence Francisco de Miranda, philosopher Andrés Bello and physician José Gregorio Hernández, as well presidents Simón Bolívar, José Antonio Páez, José María Vargas, Carlos Soublette, José Tadeo Monagas, Antonio Guzmán Blanco, Rómulo Betancourt and Rafael Caldera. Notably, Bolívar himself had Canarian ancestors on his mother's side. More than 9,000 Canaries emigrated to the country between 1841 and 1844. In 1875 to Venezuela reached more than 5,000 Canarian. Since 1936, most Canarian immigrants have gone to Cuba and Venezuela (some of the Canarian people that emigrated to Venezuela went from Cuba) because the country prompted international immigration, especially Spanish immigration and, since 1948, most of the islanders emigrated to Venezuela, a massive migration that did not end until the early 1980s (although there was a significant decrease of this migration in the 1970s, with the beginning of Canarian migration to Europe). Now, the Canarians and their descendants are scattered throughout Venezuela.[14]

Canary Islanders in Uruguay

The first Canarians who came to Uruguay, were established in Montevideo to found and populate the region. Thus, the foundation of this city had formed by two waves of Canarians. The first one was established in the city on November 19, 1726 when 25 Canarian families came to Montevideo.[14] They organized quickly to survive in that area. Thus, the first civilian authorities of Montevideo were Canarian. They gave names to roads and geographic features. The second group of Canarians arrived in the city on March 27, 1729. In this second expedition 30 families arrived. Others places in Uruguay where they settled were: Colonia, San José, Maldonado, Canelones and Soria. In 1808 the Canarian merchant Francisco Aguilar y Leal sent an expedition of 200 people from the eastern islands of Canary Islands to Montevideo, recovering so the Canary emigration to Uruguay, although it was quantitatively superior in size to that of the first half of the eighteenth century (between 1835 and 1845 around the 8,200 Canaries emigrated to Uruguay, which constituted 17% of all immigrants and 65% of Spanish). This emigration basically will not terminate until 1900. Thus, during the nineteenth century more than 10,000 Canarians settled in Uruguay, the majority from the eastern islands, depopulated leaving more than half of Lanzarote´s island. However, in the late nineteenth century, only 5,749 persons remained permanently in Uruguay. During the 20th century also arrived some groups of Canaries, which are still mainly of the eastern islands. Although specific figures of this emigrate are not known, the Canary emigration to this country in the twentieth century, not due have been very great, although itself enough to form specific associations of Canarian people. The Canarian and their descendants are scattered throughout Uruguay.[17] Thus Uruguay ranks post five after Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in the number of people of Canarian descent.

Canary Islanders in others places of the Americas

Canarians in Mexico and Central America

Descendants of Canary Islanders are a small community in Mexico, but their presence is notable especially in the business world and in the tourism industry. Several Canarian families emigrated to Mexico in the 17th century (as in the case of the Azuaje families). In the 18th century, when the Spanish crown encouraged Canarian emigration to the Americas through the Tributo de sangre (Blood Tribute), many of them settled in Yucatan, where by the 18th century they controlled the trade network that distributed goods throughout the peninsula; their descendants are still counted among the most influential families of direct Spanish descent in Mexico. 48 During the 20th century, another group of Canarians settled in Mexico in the early 1930s, and as with Galician and other Spanish immigrants of the time, there were high rates of illiteracy and impoverishment among them, but they adapted relatively quickly.

While the Spanish Civil War was still being fought in Spain, the prominent Canarian intellectual Agustin Millares Carlo from Las Palmas became an expatriate in Mexico in 1938, as well as university professors like Jorge Hernández Millares, who did important work in the subject of Geography, and went into exile in Mexico after the war.[18]

Two Spanish expeditions to Panama were led by Canarians. The first was organized by Pedrarias Dávila, who recruited fifty good swimmers from Gomera to dive for pearls in 1514. The men, however, were dispersed when they came ashore. Another expedition was led in 1519 by López de Sosa, who was appointed by the Spanish government to replace Dávila and recruited 200 of his neighbors on Gran Canaria to participate in the conquest of Central America.[19]

In 1534, Bartolomé García Muxica, founder of Nombre de Dios, Panama, brought several people from the Canary Islands to that place.[14] So, we know of some Canarian families who emigrated to Panama during that time.[9]

A Canarian from Lanzarote island, Jose Martinez, was among the first Spanish settlers who arrived in Costa Rica in the 16th century.[9] Also, in 1884, over 8,100 Canarians emigrated to a small town in Costa Rica, when this country promoted Canarian emigration to populate the uninhabited town (although some Canarian people in Costa Rica already be registered since the XVI).[20] In 1787, 306 Canarians arrived to Mosquito Coast in Honduras. However, the plan for populating the area failed, owing to the hostility of the Zambos and Miskito Indians and the unhealthiness of the area. Only bear fruit in the Honduran port of Trujillo, where they would engage in agriculture in the surrounding lands and the highlands where they would found Macuelizo in 1788.[14]

Canary Islanders in other South American countries

The number of Canary islanders who emigrated to Argentina before the 19th century was very low, although three companies of soldiers from Tenerife who were with Pedro de Mendoza when he founded Buenos Aires in 1535 decided to stay. Several ships came to Buenos Aires with immigrant Canarians in 1830; a group of them settled in the interior and another group settled in the capital (the descendants of those families have spread gradually throughout the country). Although the number of Canarians who immigrated to Argentina during the 19th century was not comparable to the number of those who emigrated to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Uruguay, in some years there were relatively large numbers of Canarian immigrants; for example, between 1878 and 1888, 3,033 Canarians emigrated. The emigration rate to Argentina was relatively high among the islanders in the 20th century, but did not reach the volume of those who went to Cuba and Venezuela. Even so, in the 1930s, the Canarian government put the number of Canarians and their descendants in that country at about 80,000 people. In 1984 there were 1,038 Canarians in Buenos Aires. They formed several organizations to preserve their ethnic heritage and provide mutual aid.[14] Several Canarian families from Buenos Aires settled in Paraguay, where they founded the town of Candelaria.

In Colombia, in 1536, Pedro Fernández de Lugo led an expedition of 1,500 people, 400 of whom were Canarians from all the different islands that make up the archipelago[19]), for the conquest of the area around what became Santa Marta.[9] This contingent pacified the warring tribes on the coast and penetrated into the interior. On the way, they founded several cities: Las Palmas and Tenerife, which still exist.[19] In addition, Pedro de Heredia lead 100 men from the Canary Islands to Cartagena de Indias.[14]

In the 16th century (a period in which the Canary Islands were still being repopulated), many people who emigrated to the Americas from there were, in fact, Spaniards from the mainland of Europe or foreigners, making it difficult to know how many of immigrants were actually Canarians in the 16th century.[14] Like that are also recorded some Canarians and Canarian families, at least of Lanzarote, who settled in Cartagena de Indias and Cáceres, Antioquia, already since the second half of the 16th century[9] and with the approval of the tribute of blood in 1678, emigrated, at least, some Canarian families at Santa Marta.[6]

In 1903, a fleet arrived in Budi Lake, Chile, with 88 Canarian families—400 persons—that currently have more than 1,000 descendants. They responded to the government's call to populate this region and signed contracts for the benefit of a private company. Some were arrested while trying to escape and indigenous communities, the Mapuches, took pity on the plight of these Canarians that were established in their former lands and they did their part. The Indians welcomed them and made demonstrations in the so-called "revolt of the Canarian.[20]

Little is known about any Canary emigration to Brazil. It is known, however, that since the sixteenth century, Canary was a bound transit between European vessels bound for the Americas (many of which were bound for Brazil), which would probably moving some Canarians to the Portuguese colony.

However, due the difficult circumstances of travel, several expeditions that had gone from Lanzarote with the hope of reaching Uruguay were forced to end their journey in other places, such like Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina island.[9] So, already in 1812, a small group of Canarians (all they from Lanzarote) lived on the Santa Catarina island, in the Brazil's south.[21] A study by WF Piazza notes that the consulted books of the Parish of Santa Catarina, in the period from 1814 to 1818, should twenty families of Lanzarote living on this island. Rixo Alvarez speaks of expeditions of Polycarp Medinilla, a Portuguese based in Lanzarote, and Agustín González Brito (from Arrecife). The people of Lanzarote were forced to disembark in Rio.[9] However, there an estimate that only 50 Canarian people emigrated to Brazil in this century.[22] Moreover, during the last years of the nineteenth century, some propaganda leaflets were printed with the goal of promote the Canarian emigration to Brazil as labors. No information on the actual effectiveness of these measures propaganda. Moreover, in the Canary Islands also there publications against this emigration movement, although the press insular provided a very negative vision about quality of life of migrants in Brazil.[21] Also, the wind, waves and tides pushed some groups of Canary Islanders who sailed by boat to Venezuela during the early twentieth century to Brazil (where more of 100 Canarians arrived between 1949 and 1950), the French Antilles,[14] Guayana or to Trinidad Island (where 217 Canarians arrived between 1949 and 1950)[23] where they definitively established,[14] to whom we should add some more Canarians whom emigrated directly to Brazil from the Canary Islands. However, most of the Canarians who emigrated to Brazil settled in the country for the 1960s, when some vessels that taken them to Venezuela wrecked off its coast.[21]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 How many Canarians in other countries.
  2. Canarians in Venezuela
  3. Canarian ancestry in 2000 U.S census
  5. Spanish Mexican#Immigration waves
  6. 6.0 6.1 Morales Padrón, Francisco. Canarias - América. Colección "Guagua", 1982. p. 49.
  7. Manuel Hernández González (1 January 2005). La Emigración Canaria a América. Centro de la Cultura Popular Canaria. p. 24. ISBN 978-84-7926-488-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. La emigracion canaria.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 La emigración de Lanzarote y sus causas. Difusión cultural, de Francisco Hernández Delgado y María dolores Rodríguez Armas.
  10. Emigration to Puerto Rico
  12. The Spanish of the Canary Islands
  13. 13.0 13.1 Las raíces isleñas de Mayagüez (in Spanish: The island roots of Mayagüez) by Federico Cedó Alzamora, Official Historian of Mayagüez.
  14. 14.00 14.01 14.02 14.03 14.04 14.05 14.06 14.07 14.08 14.09 14.10 14.11 14.12 Hernández González, Manuel. La emigración canaria an América (Canary emigration to the Americas). Page 13 - 15 (founded of Buenos Aires and of places of Colombia), Page 42 (on the Uruguay's emigration), 27 - 31 and 109 - 110 (on the Dominican Republic's emigration), pages 13 - 15 and 43 - 44 (on the expeditions and Canarian emigration of Florida and Mexico), page 51 (On Louisiana), 107 - 108 (on the Canarian emigration to Argentina) and page 52 (on the Canarian emigration to Mosquitos Coast). First Edition January, 2007
  15. 15.0 15.1 La emigración y su trascendencia en la historia del pueblo canario.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Origen de la población dominicana.
  17. Balbuena Castellano, José Manuel. La odisea de los canarios en Texas y Luisiana: XIII, Un párentesis: Los canarios en Uruguay (The odyssey of the Canarians in Texas and Louisiana: XIII, a parenthesis: The Canarian in Uruguay). Pages:154-155. First Edition, 2007.
  18. La geografía escolar en México (1821-2000)
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Colombia se conquistó gracias a un pequeño contingente de 400 canarios (in Spanish) "Colombia is Conquered by a Small Contingent of 400 Canary Islanders").
  20. 20.0 20.1 Archipiélago noticias. Canarios en Chile (in Spanish: Canarians in Chile). Posted Luis León Barreto. Retrieved December 21, 2011, to 23:52 pm.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Google Books: Entre el rubor de las auroras: Juan Perdigón, un majorero anarquista en Brasil (in Spanish: Among the blush of the Aurora: Juan Perdigón, a Brazilian anarchist from Fuerteventura island). written by Jesús Giráldez Macía. Pages 47–48.
  22. Soldados y colonos canarios e América. (in Spanish: Canarians Soldier and settlers in the Americas). Posted by Isidoro Santana Gil's teacher
  23. Emigración clandestina en veleros de Canarias a Venezuela a mediados del siglo XX (in Spanish: Illegal immigration in sailing from the Canary Islands to Venezuela in the mid-twentieth century). Posted by Javier Gonzalez Antón.

External links