For centuries, even after the Spanish conquest, it was believed that the islands were the uppermost peaks of the lost continent of Atlantis of which Plato wrote in his "Timeos and Critias".
Atlantis was a big island, "larger than Libya and Asia together", located beyond the Columns of Hercules (the Strait of Gibraltar). It was the dominion of Poseidon, god of the Sea, and it was inhabited by the Atlants, descendants of its first king Atlas, son of the god and a mortal women.
Atlantis was immensely wealthy and the Atlants were the most advanced people of the world. In the center of the continent raised the great capital town with the Palace and the Temple of Poseidon. Its scientists transmitted their skills and civilization knowledges to other peoples, with whom they maintained peace.
Atlants observed their laws of justice, generosity and peace for many generations. But in time they degenerated and became greedy and warlike. Others add that they discovered the secrets of the gods, secrets of cosmic energies and forces which could destroy mankind.
About 11,500 years ago Zeus, king of the gods, punished the Atlants. In the course of a single night volcanoes and tidal waves destroyed the big island in a disaster of cosmic proportions.
According to the legend, only the islands of Azores, Madeira, Canaries and Cape Verde remain from Atlantis. These were the lost continent's highest summits. But its palaces and temples are still to be found in the bottom of the sea, a sea which took its name from Atlantis: the Atlantic Ocean.
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