10 Things which link Britain and Tenerife

Fri, October 26th, 2012 - By Linda

It’s fairly obvious, when you stroll the streets of Los Cristianos or Costa Adeje that more Brits visit Tenerife than any other single nationality, but did you know that the Canary Islands have a long relationship with Great Britain going back around 500 years?

Fresh fruit & vegetables

 

1. London’s Canary Wharf, for instance was named after the Canarian archipelago because of the volume imports back in the 1930s. Then it was predominantly bananas, and before that, sugar.

2. Another Canarian product found on Britain’s dinner tables was wine. 17th century Britain imported so much that they found it hard to fulfil their quota of reciprocal exports. Today, after years in the doldrums, Tenerife’s wine-making is thriving again. Visit the Casa del Vino in El Sauzal, and note praise from some names you might know.

Tenerife wines

 

3. The popularity of Canarian wine resulted in English literature being littered with references to the Canary Islands. Shakespeare lauded “a cup of Canary” several times in his work, but Keats and Ben Johnson, amongst others, were also fans.

4. It shocked me, schooled to believe names like Drake and Raleigh were explorers and heroes, to hear them referred to as pirates in Spain, but, of course, that’s how they appeared on this side of history, including the “Father of the Royal Navy,” Robert Blake, who famously and successfully blockaded the port of Santa Cruz in 1657.

Castillo San Juan

 

5. Better known is the second Battle of Santa Cruz, less successful and where Horatio Nelson lost his arm in an attempt to take Santa Cruz. The rivalry between the two countries, however, appears to have always had a friendly element. Perhaps the early years as a trading post, when many Britons made their home here, had formed too strong a tie.

6. Tenerife and Scotland share the flag of St Andrew. Tenerife is rumoured to have adopted it after the Second Battle of Santa Cruz in tribute to the bravery of Scottish sailors.

7. If you visit the modern resorts of the south like Playa de las Americas you might be forgiven for thinking that tourism is a fairly new phenomenon, but before the adjective “mass” generally preceded the word, as far back as the 1800s, Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava were popular destinations for wealthy folk, especially those seeking a warmer, drier climate for health reasons. Traveling trunks, leather luggage and silver-backed mirrors of the Titanic era can be found in museums around the island.

Lago Martianez

8. More recent visitors, with a place in history, were the Beatles. Tenerife may just have been the last place they truly got to relax, when three of the Fab Four vacationed in Puerto de la Cruz in 1963. It was just after the release of their first album, when they could move around freely without being recognized. It’s said that the management of the Lido Martiánez refused their request to play there. Wonder how they felt a year on?!

9. Another British pop culture icon with links to Tenerife is Brian May of mega-group Queen, who studied for his PhD at the Teide Observatory, and combined his passions for astronomy and music at the prestigious Starmus Festival in 2011.

10. Finally – don’t put your watch forward when you land in Tenerife, because we share the same time zone.

Posted : Friday, October 26th, 2012 at 10:53 am
Category : about tenerife
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