Gran Canaria is the second most populous island of the Canary Islands, an African archipelago which is part of Spain, with a population of 847,830 that constitutes approximately 40% of the population of the archipelago. Located in the Atlantic Ocean about 150 kilometres off the northwestern coast of Africa and about 1,350 km from Europe. With an area of 1,560 km2 and an altitude of 1,956 m at the Pico de las Nieves, Gran Canaria is the third largest island of the archipelago in both area and altitude.
Gran Canaria was populated by the Canarii, who may have arrived as early as 500 BC. The Canarii called the island Tamarán or Land of the Brave. After over a century of European incursions and attempts at conquest, the island was conquered on April 29, 1483, after a campaign that lasted five years, by the Crown of Castile, with the support of Queen Isabella I, a conquest which turned out to be an important step towards the expansion of the unified Spain.
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