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Gran Canaria or Grand Canary Island is one of Spain’s Canary Islands, found 150 kilometres north-western of Africa. It covers 1,560 square kilometres, and the highest peak; Morro de la Agujereada is 1956 metres high. The island is of volcanic origin, mostly made of fissure vents. It has a round shape, with a diameter of approximately 50 kilometres.
The population is reaching one million, most found in Las Palmas. In antiquity, Gran Canaria was populated by the North African Canarii, who may have arrived as early as 500 BC. In the medieval period, after over a century of European incursions and attempts at conquest, the island was conquered on April 29, 1483, by the Crown of Castile, under Queen Isabella I.
According to the Köppen climate classification, Gran Canaria is considered to have a desert climate due to its severe lack of precipitation. Gran Canaria has consistent warm temperatures in spring, summer and autumn, and mild winters. Gran Canaria is noted for its rich variety of microclimates. Generally speaking though, the average daytime high ranges from 20 °C in winter to 26 °C in summer. Some cool nights occur in winter, but lows below 10 °C are unknown near the coast. Inland the climate is still mild but mountainous areas see the occasional frost or snow. Annual rainfall averages 228 mm, most of this falling in the cooler months, with July, August and September normally rainless.
Until the conquest, Gran Canaria had extensive forests, but then suffered extensive deforestation as a result of continuous logging, land divisions and other intensive uses. This reduced the forest cover to just 56,000 hectares, making the island the most deforested of the Canary Islands. However, in the twentieth century reforestation of the ridge of the island was begun, recovering some of the lost forest mass.
Approximately five hundred of the plant species
are also found on the other islands, but there are more than a hundred
species that grow only grow on Gran Canaria. I would like to see the
Ecballium elaterium, Euphorbia canariensis,
Umbilicus heylandianus and