MADEIRA AND HIS HISTORY
 
Here is something for the history buffs among you, to give some idea of the extent to which Madeira was sought after.
 
35 million years ago, volcanic eruptions under Atlantic form the island.
 
In the  XV century, Portuguese start maritime discoveries.

1418
, the seafaring "Joao Gonçalves Zarco" discovers the archipelago.

1419-1420
:
- Portuguese crown claims the island.

-"Zarco" is named co-governor of Madeira (Madeira = wood) with "Tristão
Vaz Teixeira" and "Bartolomeu Perestrelo" governor of Porto Santo.

- Beginning of the colonization and the works on the island.

1420 to 1427, a fire to
fertilize the earth, goes out of control and devastates several hectares of forest.
Nevertheless, volcanic soil, abundant water and ashe (as fattening food) provide very fertile earth.
The Portuguese decide then to import
sugar cane from Italy and  wine (Malvoisie grape) from Crete.
Excellent harvests.
 
1478, Christopher Columbus sails to Madeira to buy sugar. He meets the daughter of the governor of Porto Santo and marries her. It is said that from his stay on the island  "Columbus" learned to sail and  know the ocean. Perhaps he got the idea at that time to embark upon his famous voyage in 1492.

1566, the french privateer Bertrand of Montluc arrives
in the harbour of Funchal with an armada of 11 galleons and 1300 men.
A reign of terror lasts for 16 days,during which he plunders the island, demolishes stocks of sugar and kills 300 local people.

1580, when the spanish king Philippe II proclaims himself
King of Portugal, Madeira becomes a Spanish possession for 60 years.

During the XVI
century , Madeira loses its domination of the sugar cane industry to Brazil.
 
1662, Charles II from England marries Catherine of Bragance and gains Madeira as part of the dowry.
Madeira wine is the only wine exported to the American colonies, provided that English ships are used for their transport. This priviledge attracts lots of English to the island and the important  dynasties Blandy and Leacock are founded.

Since 1800 : 9 millions of bottles of Madeira wine have been exported every year.

1801
, English troops come to the island to protect it from a possible French invasion but they withdraw after the Treaty of Amiens in 1802.

1807
, the treaty is broken and the English troops return and remain until 1814.

1852, 90%
of the vineyards are destructed by mildew.

1856, cholera kills about 7000 people.

1873, phylloxera destroys the rest of the plantations.

1916, Portugal
enters World War I
In December, Funchal,
because of its strategic position, is bombed by the Germans.
 
 
In the middle of the 20th. Century, Madeira starts to develop its tourist industry attracting aristocratic and rich guests.
The famous hotel "Reids" opens in 1890 and
the sea-plane line is established from Lisbon in 1921.
The island
gains added fame when the last Austro-Hungarian emperor Charles I of Austria (Charles IV of Hungary), chooses the island as a place of exile after World War I
 
 
1974, after a coup d'etat in Portugal, Madeira receives the statute of autonomous territory.

1986, Portugal joins the EC and Madeira
automatically enjoys membership.

Today, tourism is the primary industry of the island.
 
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