The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 28.000000, -16.000000


Part of Spain, but off the north-west coast of Africa. Also see its largest island, Tenerife.

1 Annotation

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Canary Islands have a colorful history dating back over 1,000 years. They have experienced prosperity, extreme poverty, piracy, mass emigration, and are now one of Spain’s main tourist destinations. The Canary Islands culture is rich in tradition, gastronomy, and the arts, and while the archipelago obviously has a heavy Spanish influence, the language, cuisine, and music are still rather unique.

The archipelago’s rich history has been recorded since the 1st century, when Roman explorers came across what they believed to be uninhabited islands. Although records were made of the discovery of the ruined buildings, little is known about the inhabitants before this time. As more European explorers detailed the islands, they encountered an indigenous population functioning on a Neolithic level. Collectively, these tribes were referred to as Guanches.

Numerous Arab traders visited the archipelago as time rolled on; however, it wasn’t until the 14th century that Europeans started to settle on the Canary Islands, particularly Lanzarote.

At the turn of the 15th century, the Castilians, under Henry III, began to colonize the island. From Lanzarote, the forces conquered the islands of El Hierro and Fuerteventura, and soon after the islands were to accept their first European monarch, Jean de Bethencourt.

Although Bethencourt ruled on behalf of the Castilian King Henry, he went about extending the Iberian Kingdom’s influence over the remaining islands, much to the displeasure of the natives, who were finally pacified towards the end of the century in 1495, after which the archipelago became part of the Kingdom of Castille.

Over the next century, the Canary Islands prospered as a result of their cultivation of sugar cane, sweet potatoes and wine, and as a stopover for merchants and emigrants leaving the New World.

During this period, some of the islands’ finest architecture, some of which is still seen today, was constructed. However, the wealth of the neighbor-less archipelago began to attract the attention of foreign privateers and pirates, with the most notable attack occurring in 1559, at the hands of the Dutch. The forces pillaged San Sebastian on La Gomera, Gran Canaria’s Maspalomas, and Santa Cruz, but retreated after failing to sack Las Palmas.

The fortunes of the Canaries slowly started to change during the 18th century, when its economy, still dependent on the sugar cane, came under competition from Spain’s new colonies in the Americas.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.