History of the "Isla Bonita".
The very first inhabitants of the Canarias Islands have been named Guanches, and on la Palma Benahoritas.. They lived a modest live and only left vestiges in form of petroglyphs. Unfortunately the Spanish destroyed most of this culture.
The Benahoritas where politically very good organized. As described in the chapter "conquest" this helped not against the deceit of the Spanish invasion.
Most important place for the Benahoritas have been the holy stoner Idafe, which finally gave this page its name.
At the end of the 15th century, Alonso Fenandez de Lugo visited the island. His goal was to conquest it. At this time, the island was divided into 12 cantons. Every single canton was lead by governor so called "Mencey". In only 7 months he was able to get control over it and Fernandez de Lugo was leading 11 out of the 12 cantons. He was always closing contracts and only a few times used arms. One single canton was left. It was the 12th and now national reserve Acero in Spanish "tierra fuerte" which is meaning hard ground. In fact, this 12th canton was what we know today as Caldera. The leader of the Caldera was the Mencey Tanausu, he lead a little group of Guanches also called "Benahoaritas". Fernandes de Lugo was been several times involved in battles with the Benahoaritas and he loosed. But one time, Fernandes de Lugo was able to lure him into a trap. Tanansu was then arrested. Historical documents telling the Mencey was brought to a ship to sail to Spain. But he refused to eat and died.
La Palma was always embossed from monocultures. In the past century there was a huge cultivation of cochenille louse, grown on cactus imported from Mexico. While processing the louse there was the carmin red dye produces. After the development of synthetical dyes, this branch of the economy collapsed immediately. Even today the cochenille can be found on La Palma, but they where not anymore commercially grown.
Today there are banana cultivation all over the island. In some regions, those plantations are a central part of landscape. Those plantations need a lot of fertilizers as well as water. It is said that for the production of one kilogram bananas there are 1.000 Litres of water used. Is is clear that banana plantations are not found on islands with less water. This sector lives still from subventions.
After the opening of the tunnel and street connection the east with the west side the economical rise of Los Llanos began. In the meantime Los Llanos de Aridane is the economical centre of La Palma taking this number one position from the capital Sta. Cruz de la Palma.
Tourism is playing a more and more important role. For its fortune, La Palma does not have a lot of nice beaches which was preventing mass tourism. But still, the growth in tourism is remarkable. 10 year ago there have been landing perhaps 5 airplanes on a high season day. Today there are more than 10 landing on a high season day.
Tourism was also responsible to enhance richness of the Palmeros. We saw it specially in the growing rate and brands of cars. Also traffic did increase in the last years but traffic jam's are closely inexistent.
After declaring in the year 1983 more than 500 ha of a forest in Los Tilos as UNESCO world biosphere reservation, the development continued and La Palma is entirely UNESCO world biosphere since the year 2002 including also 184 square kilometre of the sea zones.
The island la Palma is perfect suited for outdoor sports as paragliding. Especially in winter months when days are short in the alps and flyable days are absence for weeks is la Palma offering best climate and flying conditions. The main season for paragliding is therefore in the winter half-year beginning in October lasting to March.
Paragliding on la Palma is beautiful, the thermals mostly nice and easy to find. But few outlanding possibilities as well as the special meteorolology are rising the requirements. On La Palma we are most of the times flying in the lee of the trade winds and we often also face wind changes during the day. This is rising the requirements for a correct interpretation of the meteorologic situation. Beginners or pilots with few experience should only fly under supervision. Free flying pilots must be sure in their judgment of the weather conditions, and not only be a good pilot but also being able to start backwards as well as master decent techniques and landing.
Mega Tsunami ?
Despite an article in the daily star on Friday 13th 2017, predicting a mega tsunami on la Palma, we are all still alive. :-) This story pops up once a year since a scientific article1 talked about a "Potential collapse and tsunami at La Palma". In this article the authors believe a future eruption will "likely lead into a landslide.." they are not explaining why a next eruption would "likely" lead into this and the last 7 eruptions since 1480 did not. The article is an analysis of a “What if” scenario leaving the most important question about “why and when” scientifically unanswered.
By fortune, the technical university Delft2 fortunately did study the structure and shape of La Palma and they came to the following conclusion:
"...it will be probably a combination of substantial growth and eruptions that will bring about a collapse... and to obtain substantial growth along the full with of the flank will take a time scale in the order of magnitude of tens of thousands years..."
And another statement from them: "... documentaries are overlooking a crucial fact: The island is just very well constructed."
I believe there is a high potential the currently ongoing micro earthquakes continue. While looking into the history I also believe, there is a good chance this could lead into an eruption in the next months or so. As a matter of facts, this will not come by surprise and will be accompanied whenever with more earthquakes and potential volcanic tremor. This is what a volcanic island is about. Sometimes it erupts, most of the time not.
Just to bring a calming statement: I am sleeping very well, I am not afraid and I am not being influenced by boulevard press but by profound scientific analysis.
1) Article Ward et al. PDF
2) Article University Delft