Madeira History and geography

The archipelago of Madeira of volcanic origin is composed by the inhabited islands of Madeira and Porto Santo and by two groups of uninhabited islands: the Desertas and the Selvagens. The Portuguese explorers Joo Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, by the command of Prince Henry the Navigator, discovered Porto Santo in 1418 and a year later they decided to overcome their fear and went forward the big dark cloud they always saw in the same place...the island of Madeira.

Its geographical position is between parallels 32 22' 20'' and 33 7' 50'' North and between 16 16' 30'' and 17 16' 38'' West. With its mountainous relief confer it a subtropical climate that presents very smooth medium temperatures (24C in the summer and 15C in winter) and a moderate humidity. The sea water temperature is also temperate due to the influence of the Gulf stream with temperatures around 22C in summer and 18C in winter.

Madeira Island with an area of 740 Km2 (57 km long and 22 km wide) soon represented an important reference point. Madeira performed a fundamental function during the Portuguese maritime discoverers. Due to its good port, to its climate, to the large production of sugar (from sugar cane), to the famous Madeira wine and due to the fact that it was the last place where we could take water when heading south to the tropics, it became an important port of the commercial routes of the XVI century.

With the aviation development and the progressive advancements of the medicine, Madeira is no longer a health tourism destination, having in the past been used to cure P.B. It has became a quality destination centered on natural resources such as the landscape, the flora, the climate and the sea.

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