Virtual Madeira is a registered denomination
This is the introducing page of an (unofficial) electronic representation of the island once called "The Pearl of the Atlantic".
Please click on the headings to see and know more...
The ILHA DA MADEIRA is located between the meridians 16º39'19''W and 17º15'54''W and between the paralels 32º37'52''N and 32º52'08''N. The portuguese name means Island of Wood and it's due to the past existence of a large amount of vegetation on it which difficulted the access to the island when it was first discovered.
MADEIRA is volcanic in origin but has had no active volcanoes in the last 400 thousand years. However, due to its origin and to a long period of erosion, its mountains are high, its valleys are deep and its terrain profile is rough.
The archipelago in which MADEIRA is the main island was first discovered by accident in 1419 by two noble knights: João Gonçalves o Zargo ("the One-Eyed") and Tristão Vaz, from the House of Prince Henry of Portugal (later called Henry The Navigator), who were going to North Africa in a small boat to fight the Moors.
MADEIRA was one of the first portuguese discoveries and became the second most important center (the first was in the mainland of Portugal) from which the economic, religious and social developments in foreign grounds were directed since the beginning of the portuguese discoveries until the end of portuguese colonial empire in Asia and America.
Today is an autonomic region of Portugal, having few economic resources and depending almost exclusively from the mainland. Among its economic resources, tourism is the most important, since each year the total of tourists visiting the island is about three times the resident population, which is near 300.000.
FUNCHAL is the capital of the island, sheltering about two thirds of its population.
MADEIRA's landscapes are impressive due to its huge vertical mountain slopes with scattered waterfalls, tooth-shaped peaks, primaeval laureate forests and blue-transparent sea.
MADEIRA is still known by its quality wines which were in the past, together with sugar cane derivatives and banana, a main source of whealth for the island and a very appreciated luxury enjoyed by refined consumers and praised by poets and writers, contributing to make the name MADEIRA known worldwide.
Statue of João Gonçalves o Zargo in the center of Funchal
Under Construction Last Update in 1 January 1997
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