Madeira Islands

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Madeira Islands

(mədēr`ə, –dâr`ə), archipelago (1991 pop. 257,692), 308 sq mi (798 sq km), autonomous region of Portugal, in the Atlantic Ocean c.350 mi (560 km) off Morocco. Madeira, the largest island (35 mi/56 km long and 13 mi/21 km wide), and Porto Santo are inhabited. Two island groups, the Desertas and the Selvagens, are uninhabited. The chief town is FunchalFunchal
, city (1991 pop. 109,957), capital of Funchal dist., on Madeira island, Portugal. A busy port exporting wines, fish, and fruit, it is best known for its beautiful setting and balmy climate, which make it a much-frequented resort.
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 on Madeira.

Mountain peaks, which descend steeply into deep, green valleys and advance to the sea as precipitous basalt cliffs, give the islands unusual scenic beauty. The delightful climate is marred only by the occasional leste, a hot Saharan wind. Madeira is a year-round resort. Sugarcane, Madeira wine, bananas, embroidery, and reed furniture are produced, and there is fishing. Remittances from residents who have emigrated are also important to the economy.

The islands were known to the Romans as the Purple Islands and were rediscovered (1418–20) by João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vas Teixeira. Settlement took place rapidly under the orders of Prince Henry the Navigator. Madeira was temporarily occupied by the British in the early 19th cent. Parts of Madeira island were devastated by flash floods in Feb., 2010.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Madeira Islands


a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean (the largest island is Madeira), near the northwestern coast of Africa. The island group forms the Portuguese district of Funchal. Area, 797 sq km; population, 268,700 (1970).

The Madeira Islands are the summits of underwater volcanoes, the tallest reaching 1,861 m (the island of Madeira). The climate is oceanic Mediterranean; precipitation may reach 740 mm a year, with 80 rainy days annually. The vegetation is of a subtropical savanna type, with laurel forests in the mountains. There are banana plantations, viticulture, and wine-making (madeira wine). The islands also have winter health resorts. The main city and port is Funchal, located on the island of Madeira.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Finland's Roope Kakko after winning the Madeira Islands Open yesterday
Kakko's winning total of 264 (24 under) was the lowest winning score in the history of the Madeira Islands Open.
The 20-year-old from Cordoba, a graduate from last season's Challenge Tour, won the Madeira Islands Open BPIPortugal in Porto Santo by one with a closing 73 and six under par total of 278.
ARGENTINIAN ace Estanislao Goya will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Madeira Islands Open today and was trading around the even-money mark on Betfair last night, writes Adrian Humphries.
THERE will be no repeat of last year's play-off between Alastair Forsyth and hennie Otto in this week's madeira islands Open Bpi-portugal, which got underway today.
3 How many of the world's top 125 are playing in this week's Madeira Islands Open on the European Tour?
The 34-year-old Welshman is at the Madeira Islands Open instead and as the only player in the world's top 125 taking part is favourite for the pounds 92,000 first prize.
The 34-year-old is at the Madeira Islands Open instead and, as the only player in the world's top 125 taking part, is favourite for the pounds 92,000 first prize.
The action on 20 July will affect flights to and from the country's main international airport in Lisbon, while Saturday's action will affect airports in Faro, Oporto and Finchal in the Madeira islands according to The Associated Press.
Kakko's total of 264 was the lowest winning score in the history of the Madeira Islands Open.
The 24-year-old almost won at the Joburg Open two weeks ago and he'll view this week's Madeira Islands Open as a significant staging post in his efforts to regain full status on the European Tour.
CHRIS Paisley made his first cut on the European Tour at the second attempt yesterday, lighting up round two of the Madeira Islands Open with three birdies in a row around the turn.