On of the westernmost of the Canary Islands
, off the main island of Tenerife
, and therefore about the furthest land known to (non-Viking) Europeans before the voyage of Columbus
. It was the last land Columbus touched before setting off into the wild blue yonder
, and he in fact dallied
with a lady there.
The aboriginal inhabitants were called the Guanches, and may have been related to the Berbers of mainland Africa. It was conquered by Spain in the fifteenth century and the Guanches were given a collective dirt nap.
They left behind them however the remarkable idea of a whistling language, or silbo. Gomera being very mountainous, this is an efficient way to communicate across valleys. The idea was taken up by the Spanish settlers. It is not a truly distinct language, like Sign, but a way of converting Spanish syllables into whistled form. Although Gomera is one of the more rural of the Canaries, the silbo is largely extinct in its original function, and is of about the same status as morris dancing. It was reported in late 2003 that silbo was to be taught in schools to try to revive it.