Madeira Islands – WorldAtlas
The Madeira archipelago includes the volcanic islands of Madeira, Desertas and Porto Santo located in the North Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago is part of the autonomous region of Madeira and together with the Azores archipelago and mainland Portugal, it forms the Republic of Portugal. The name of the island of Madeira, Ilha da Madeira (wood island), refers to the large dense forests that covered most of the island at the start of its colonization.
Agriculture is a major economic activity on the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo. Other economic activities include fishing, handicrafts, woodworking, sugar processing, and tourism. The famous Madeira wine is the island’s most important product.
Where is the Medeira archipelago?
The Portuguese archipelago of Madeira is located approximately 520 km west of the Kingdom of Morocco and approximately 1000 km southwest of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. Along with the Azores Islands and the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, the Madeira archipelago is part of Macaronesia. Located on the south coast of the main island of Madeira is Funchal, the capital and largest city of the Madeira archipelago.
The Madeira Islands cover a total area of 801 km2 and include the two inhabited islands of Madeira and Porto Santo and the two uninhabited island groups of Desertas and Savage. Occupying a total area of 740.7 km2, Madeira is the largest and most populous island in the Madeira archipelago. It is the summit of a massive submerged shield volcano that rises about 6 km from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
There are 11 municipalities in the Madeira Islands. These are Funchal, Câmara de Lobos, Calheta, Machico, Porto Moniz, Ponta do Sol, Porto Santo, Ribeira Brava, Santana, São Vicente and Santa Cruz.
Madeira Island is approximately 57 km long and has a maximum width of 22 km. Madeira is rugged and mountainous and features a mountain ridge that stretches along the center of the island and culminates at 1,862m at Pico Ruivo, which is the highest peak on the island. The island is also famous for its elevated cliffs. Located along the southern coast of the island, is the high sea cliff called Cabo Girão, which rises to 580 m. the LEvadas are long irrigation canals that carry fresh water from the northern part of the island to the farms located in the southern part of the island.
With a total area of 42.17 km2, Porto Santo Island is the second largest island in the Madeira archipelago. This island is located approximately 43 km northeast of the main island of Madeira. Located in the northeastern part of the island is Pico do Facho which rises to 517 m and is the highest point on the island.
Located about 25 km south-east of Madeira Island is the small Desert Archipelago, which consists of the three rocky islets of Bugio, llhéu de Chão and Deserta Grande. This small archipelago covers an area of 14.2 km2.
Located approximately 280 km south of the Madeira Islands and approximately 165 km north of the Canary Islands are the Wild islands. With a total area of 2.73 km2, the archipelago comprises the two main islands of Selvagem Grande and Selvagem Pequena and 16 uninhabited islets which are divided into northeast and southwest groups.
Madeira has several bioclimates and there are temperature and humidity differences between the northern and southern regions of the archipelago, located at different altitudes. The islands are strongly influenced by the Canary Current and the Gulf Stream and experience a mild climate with an average annual temperature of 19.5 ° C.
Several endemic floral and faunal species are found in the Madeira Islands. The laurel forests that lie on the northern slopes of the island have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Critically endangered flowering plant species like lemon-scented jasmine and Madeira mountain ash are endemic to the Madeira archipelago. Endemic wildlife species found here include the Madeira wall lizard, the Madeira firecrest, and the Madeira laurel pigeon. Several species of seabirds such as the Madeira Storm Petrel, Cory’s Shearwater, Bulwer’s Petrel, Little Shearwater, and Zino’s Petrel are also found here. Different species of dolphins including bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, spotted dolphins and various species of whales like Bryde’s whales, beaked whales, sperm whales and pilot whales have been sighted near the coasts of the island. .