Tenerife was originally settled by the ancient tribal culture known as the Guanches ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanches).  The name of the island is said to be originated from the language of these people, in which “Tene” is translated as mountain and “ife” as white.  The name is said to reference the snow-capped volcanic mountains of Tenerife, visible by the Guanches who resided not only on this island but on all of the surrounding islands during Tenerife’s early days.

In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, Spanish conquistadores came to Tenerife and took over the island.   The Guanches were forced to surrender in a famous battle which ended on Christmas Day of 1495.   The native people were taken as slaves by the Spanish, used primarily on new plantations primarily producing sugarcane for export.   Wine, bananas and fabric dyes were also exported from here for Spanish profit.   Eventually the entire Gaunches population was eliminated as a combined result of both cruelty and disease.

At the end of the eighteenth century, British forces attacked Tenerife.  Horatio Nelson is the most famous of those involved in these attacks, in part because it was her that Nelson lost his right arm in battle.  The Spanish succeeded in maintaining control of the island the British soon departed.

Tenerife was greatly affected by the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.  Following the war, the area became rife with poverty and many locals were forced to immigrate to other areas, including Cuba and Latin America.  In more recent years, Tenerife has become a tourist destination, increasing the economy of the area and causing revitalization of the island.