Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Welcome to Hell's Island

The Mediterranean Sea, The Catalan Atlas Copia de 1959 del original de 1375 / CC BY

There were officially seven main Canary Islands, until La Graciosa became the eighth, despite its tiny size and no tarmac roads a couple of years ago, but the archipelago includes many smaller islands and islets, as well as a series of adjacent rocks. In the pre-Conquest 14th Century, eleven islands were named, but Tenerife wasn't Tenerife. 

The Catalan Atlas of 1375 shows the Canaries almost completely and accurately mapped (only La Palma is missing). The eleven islands that are included in the Catalan Atlas are named (from east to west) as Graciosa (La Graciosa), Laregranza (Alegranza), Rocho (Roque), Insula de lanzaroto maloxelo (Lanzarote), Insula de li vegi marin (Lobos), Forteventura (Fuerteventura), Insula de Canaria (Gran Canaria), Insula del infernio (Tenerife), Insula de gomera (La Gomera), Insula de lo fero (El Hierro). 

Insula del infernio translates to Hell's Island (not the film!) 

The name 'tenerefiz' is first given in writing, 10 years later, alongside 'Infierno' in the 1385 Libro del Conoscimiento (Book of Knowledge of All Kingdoms).