Madeira Island: 20 amazing pictures
Das ilhas, as mais belas in livres - «The most free and beautiful island on Earth" - this is the motto of the island translated from Portuguese.
The ancient Romans called it the purple islands. According to the Italian maps of the XIV century the biggest one was called the Forest. Later, the Portuguese simply translated this name in its own language: Madeira.
Madeira is the largest island of the archipelago and has a volcanic origin. The island is the top of an underwater volcano that rises 6 km above the Atlantic Ocean.
Madeira Island was formed about 5 million years ago. The eruption, which lasted throughout the history of the island and stopped about 6500 years ago. In fact, they have formed an area of actual Madeira.
The archipelago was discovered by the Phoenicians in the first millennium BC. Later the island is mentioned in the writings of the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder and the Greek philosopher Plutarch. The first called them purple islands; the second called it the Forest. Madeira Islands remained uninhabited until the XV century.
In 1418, the famous Portuguese colonizer, missionary and crusader Henry the Navigator sent an expedition to the east coast of Africa. Two ships of the squadron were washed right to the island; therefore, the sailors called it Porto Santo, or Holy Harbour.
A year later, in 1419, the Portuguese have deliberately returned to the island and settled it around, declaring it the property of the Portuguese kingdom. The captain-major overtook the responsibilities of the island.
The first settlers were several poor families and a group of convicts. They had to cut down a large part of the forest to starts construction and build channels, because the fresh water on the island was of a low amount. The main food for the settlers was fish, vegetables and fruits. But the first wheat harvest has exceeded all expectations. Soon even the islanders began to sell wheat to the continent.
Places of interest in Madeira:
• Fishing village of Camara de Lobos
• The village of Curral das Freyr, located in the crater of an extinct volcano.
• The picturesque village of Santana with triangular houses
• Pico Ruivo: the highest point of the island of Madeira
• Ancient palaces in Monte, a suburb of Funchal
• The natural reserve of the island of Madeira, where you can find unique animal and plant species, including the endangered ones.