The Whistling Language In The Columbian Island

La Gomera, a volcanic island distinguished as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2012, was regenerated about two million years ago as a result of an explosion of fire and energy. It is a small island located in the west side of the Canarian Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, with an area of 369.76 km² and a population of about 22,769 inhabitants. The Columbian island, also known with this name because Admiral Christopher Columbus, on his voyage for the discovery of the New World stopped in the bay of San Sebastian, capital of La Gomera for water supplies and provision, has a beautiful and impressive forest of the Tertiary period, covered by the largest remnant of the primeval subtropical laurel forest, perennial foliage, where you can find faille, heather, laurel and ferns. Its highest point, the peak of the Garajonay, with an altitude of 1,487 meters, offers a breath-taking view of the land, a place where the visitor can see endemic species such as laurel pigeons and Bolle’s Pigeons and enjoy the dense and natural wilderness areas.

The Guanches, pre-Hispanic inhabitants who originally populated the island, worked mainly on fishing, agriculture and grazing. The aborigines were able to adapt themselves to the volcanic reliefs, rugged cliffs, the deep ravines and the narrow valleys of La Gomera, using the whistling language, “El Silbo”, to communicate rapidly over long distances from one side of a hill to another. Nowadays the Silbo Gomero is taught at school and a whistler can communicate or express over 4,000 words. It coexists harmoniously with the Castilian language in not a competitive or exclusive way. Whistled language has been declared part of the ethnographic heritage of the Canary Islands and has been awarded as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO. A legacy that has marked the idiosyncrasy of its people, enriching the cultural heritage of the Canary Islanders.

Would you like to learn “silbo gomero”?

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