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Eighth island for Canaries: La Graciosa, two villages and 746 inhabitants
THE CANARIES has just acquired an extra island – Spain's Senate has just voted for La Graciosa to become the eighth in the region.
Home to the largest marine reserve in the European Union, La Graciosa, to the north-west of Lanzarote from which it is separated by a channel of sea known as El Río ('The River'), is now the smallest of the Canary Islands at just 29 square kilometres and with a year-round population of 746 inhabitants.
In summer, however, up to 25,000 tourists descend on this remote and idyllic enclave, which has no tarmacked streets and only two municipalities.
The 'capital' of La Graciosa is the village, or hamlet, of La Caleta de Sebo, and the only other town on it is Casas de Pedro Barba.
Residents earn their living mostly from fishing and tourism, and travelling there is only possible by helicopter or on one of the two boats a day from Lanzarote.
Until now, it was considered an outpost of the Lanzarote town of Teguise and came under the jurisdiction of its council, but now it is recognised as the eighth Canarian island, it will have its own budget to cover tourism needs.
One of the main reasons La Graciosa sought to be officially recognised as a separate island was its extraordinary natural beauty and excellent conservation.
Part of the Chinijo archipelago and the only inhabited island there, La Graciosa has, until now, been considered merely a nature reserve and was managed by the regional government's environment department.
The other seven Canarian islands are Tenerife – the largest – Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Gomera, La Palma, El Hierro and Gran Canaria.
Addresses of Canarian inhabitants are split into two recognised provinces – that of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which includes Tenerife, La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera, and that of Las Palmas, which includes Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote and, now, La Graciosa.
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