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Where are the Canary Islands on a map? Who owns the islands?

After Sunday's eruption on the Canary Island of La Palma with lave now close to reaching the sea, many are wondering where the archipelago is located.

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Where are the Canary Islands on a map? Who owns the islands?

Last Sunday, the small Canary island of  in La Palma became global news following the volcanic eruption on the fifth of the eight islands (size-wise) that compose the Canary Islands archipelago.

The eruption started on Sunday at 10:10 am ET, after a week of seismic tremors, with a huge column of smoke rising above the Cumbre Vieja national park, before lava began pouring out of several vents.

Over 5,000 people have been evacuated from the area, and numerous homes, properties and farmland destroyed by lava, which is close to reaching the sea. There are fears of explosions when the lava hits the seawater, as well as the release of more toxic chemicals, and people are being warned to stay away from the area.

Authorities have put in place a nautical exclusion zone around the point where the lava is expected to enter the Atlantic Ocean.

Volcano eruption on the Island of La PalmaMembers of the media work as smoke rises following the eruption of a volcano on the Island of La Palma, in Los Llanos de Aridane, Spain September 21, 2021. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Where is La Palma?

With a surface area of 708 square kilometers (273 sq miles), the volcanic Canary Island of La Palma is the most north-westerly of the island group with a total of 85,000 inhabitants of which 15,000 live in the capital Santa Cruz de la Palma. 

Home to incredible landscapes, imposing volcanoes, dense forests and unique beaches, the island of La Palma is nick-named ‘La Isla Bonita’ (the Pretty Island) with the island being a popular destination in recent years for tourists anxious to avoid the throng on the beaches of Tenerife, Las Palmas or Lanzarote.

Spanish control

With the archipelago strategically placed in the Atlantic Ocean with both Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, the most eastern islands, just over 115 km from the African coast, back in 1483, the islands were colonized by Spain, and by the time of Columbus's voyages to the New World, the Canary Islands were firmly under Spanish control.

Apart from tourism which constitutes 80% of gross income on the islands, the Canaries are also famous for the export of tobacco and bananas.

La Palma volcano eruption: live updates

For the latest news and updates relating to the La Palma volcano, follow our dedicated live blog.

Canary Islands