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Madeira

Madeira

The archipelago of Madeira was discovered during a geostrategic manoeuvre to expand Portuguese territory, spread the Catholic faith and develop the kingdom’s economy.

The entire archipelago of Madeira was discovered in 1419. Settlers began to arrive on the island of Madeira around 1425, with early settlers coming from northern Portugal and from the Algarve in the south.

The first products produced and exported from Madeira Island were wheat, sugar and wine.

Sugar became a kind of “white gold”, making trade with all points of maritime commerce possible and enabling the purchase of Flemish art, liturgical objects and paintings. Economic development of the archipelago of Madeira centred on agricultural production and the island’s role as an obligatory port of call on trade routes.

Records from the 14th century - a letter from Dulcert dating from 1339 and a sketch by Médici from 1370 - report the sighting of an island called “Legname”, which is believed to be the island of Madeira because of the abundant forests on this Atlantic island.

The archipelago of Madeira was discovered during a geostrategic manoeuvre to expand Portuguese territory, spread the Catholic faith and develop the kingdom’s economy.

This epic story begins in 1415 with the conquest of the city of Ceuta. In 1418, the island of Porto Santo was discovered and the other islands that came to be known as the archipelago of Madeira were sighted. The territory was formally established the following year.

Settlers began to arrive on the island of Madeira around 1425. The first settlers came from northern Portugal and from the Algarve in the south.

Later the islands were handed over to Infante Dom Henrique (Henry the Navigator) and port authorities were established with captainships being bestowed on the discoverers of the archipelago - João Gonçalves Zarco became captain of the port of Funchal, Tristão Vaz Teixeira captain of the port of Machico, and Bartolomeu Perestrelo captain of the port of Porto Santo.

Wheat was basically the first commodity that produced on the island and subsequently exported. Later, sugar and wine were introduced. After 1470, sugar became the island’s main export, and wheat production became limited to internal production for the local population.

Sugar became a kind of “white gold”, making trade with all points of maritime commerce possible and enabling the purchase of Flemish art, liturgical objects and paintings.

In the 17th century, Madeira wine started to gain importance on maritime trade routes.

Economic development of the archipelago of Madeira centred on agricultural production and the island’s role as an obligatory port of call on trade routes. The islands offered and continue to offer unique products in an extraordinary setting, which has made the archipelago the excellent tourist destination it is today.

banner Funchal, the capital of the Madeira archipelago, was declared a city in the 1500s, and became an important point between the old and new worlds. The laid-back city owes much of its historical prominence to the white gold, the Madeiran sugar. Today Funchal is known for its appealing temperatures, wine and crafts. Top spots to visit include the open Worker's Market, Blandy's Wine Lodge and the Sacred Art Museum. Friendly locals, walkable streets and cheap taxis make the city easy to get around. SEE ON TRIPADVISORseta Mapa Turístico do Funchal

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