/ten'euh rif", -reef"/; Sp. /te'ne rddee"fe/, n.
1. the largest of the Canary Islands, off the NW Coast of Africa. 500,381; 794 sq. mi. (2055 sq. km). Cap.: Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
2. Pico de /pee"koh day/; Sp. /pee"kaw dhe/. See Teide, Pico de.
Also, Teneriffe.

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 island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife provincia (province), in the Canary Islands comunidad autónoma (autonomous community), Spain, in the Atlantic Ocean opposite the northwestern coast of Africa. It is the largest of the Canary Islands. The narrower northeastern part rises sharply to a jagged mountain ridge of volcanic origin, except near San Cristóbal de la Laguna, where a corridor-like depression forms the island's only extensive lowland. The remaining two-thirds of Tenerife is a vast composite dome surmounted by Teide Peak, the highest point on Spanish soil (12,198 feet [3,718 metres]). The area continues to be the site of volcanic activity; perhaps the most destructive eruption occurred early in the 18th century, when a lava flow buried much of the town and harbour of Garachico, on the northern coast.

      Nearly all the inhabitants of Tenerife live on the lower slopes and within a few miles of the sea. Almost half the population is in or near Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital, and San Cristóbal de la Laguna, the former capital, now Tenerife's cultural capital and the site of the University of La Laguna (1792). The city of San Cristóbal de la Laguna was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list in 1999 because of its stature as the first nonfortified Spanish colonial town. Most of the island's other inhabitants live on the intensively cultivated slopes (bananas and vineyards) near the northern coast, where the chief towns are La Orotava, Icod de los Vinos, and Puerto de la Cruz. Near the southern coast, where the climate is drier, dry farming predominates, and camels are common beasts of burden. There are many small villages in this area, but Güimar is the only town.

      The economy of Tenerife is mainly agricultural; tourism is based on beach-resort facilities, especially in Playa de Las Américas. The international airport at Los Rodeos suffered a catastrophic airplane collision (582 fatalities) in 1977 and was replaced by a new international airport, Queen Sofia Tenerife South, in 1978. Area 785 square miles (2,034 square km).

Vicente Rodriguez

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Universalium. 2010.

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