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The Benahoaritas (natives of La Palma) are said to have named the island, deriving it from the words tene ("mountain") and ife ("white").
The 18th-century historians Juan Núñez de la Peña and Tomás Arias Marín de Cubas, among others, state that the island was likely named by natives for the legendary Guanche king, Tinerfe, nicknamed "the Great." He ruled the entire island in the days before the conquest of the Canary Islands by Castilla.
The fishermen typically caught mackerel and other residents ate potatoes, assumed to be of low quality by the elite of La Laguna.
As Santa Cruz grew in commerce and status, it replaced La Laguna as capital of Tenerife in 1833 during the reign of Fernando VII.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city is the second to have been founded on the island, and is the third of the archipelago.Many of the natives died from new infectious diseases, such as influenza and probably smallpox, to which they lacked resistance or acquired immunity.The new colonists intermarriaged with the local native population.Then the inhabitants of Santa Cruz used the former insult to identify as residents of the new capital, at La Laguna's expense.About one hundred years before the conquest by king Juba II, the title of mencey was given to the monarch or king of the Guanches of Tenerife, who governed a menceyato or kingdom.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the island and the seat of the island council (cabildo insular).