1404-1496 History of Northern Africa Canary Islands, 1660-1815

Canary Islands, 1496-1660

The conquest of the Canary Islands was completed in 1496. There were many interracial marriages; the Canarians were baptized and assimilated into the Castilian-Spanish culture.
The island economy was based on orchil, a dye stuff, and on sugar plantations introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese. Tobacco was introduced as another profitable plantation crop in 1541. A major producer of sugar, the Canary Islands became rich and also the target for pirate raids - Frenchman Jambe de Bois (Peg-Leg) in 1553 raided La Palma, in 1595 Englishman Francis Drake failed to take Santa Cruz; the Dutch razed it in 1599. Moroccans took Lanzarote in 1569 and 1586.
In 1592, King Philip II. of Spain withdrew the Spanish garrison; in 1598 a provincial militia was established.
In addition to it's riches produced by it's plantations, the Canary islands were an important stopover of the Spanish Treasure Fleet. In 1657 the British sunk the Treasure Fleet off Tenerife.
In the late 16th century, the Canarian sugar industry was outproduced by Brazil's rising sugar industry. Wine would replace sugar in many fields.
In the early 17th century, the Canarian industry suffered from restrictions imposed by the CASA DE CONTRATACION in Sevilla, which regulated how much and where the Canary islands could export, in an economy which was set up on a set of privileges and monopolies.

History of La Palma, from ing.iac.es
The Canary Islands, from Catholic Encyclopedia; the Canary Islands History, from Lonely Planet
Canarias Puros : Tobacco tradition and art, from about.com
De Vlaamse Natie op de Canarische eilanden in de 16de eeuw. (The Flemish Nation on the Canary Islands in the 16th Century), by Kevin Coornaert, online dissertation Leuven 2000, has detailed history of the islands; in Dutch
Benny Landau, the Jews of the Canary Islands, Calendar of Calumny, posted by Saudades
REFERENCE Salvador Lopez Herrera, Die Kanarischen Inseln. Ein Geschichtlicher Überblick (The Canary Islands, a Historical Overview), Madrid 1978, in German

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on May 22nd 2001; last revised on June 30th 2005

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