The island of Madeira was discovered by Tristão Vaz Teixeira, Bartolomeu Perestrelo and João Gonçalves Zarco, two Portuguese explorers, in 1419, which dubbed the island ‘Madeira’ (“wood” in English) due to the abundance of this raw material.
Noticing the potential of the islands, as well as its strategic importance, the colonization of the islands began in 1425.
At the beginning of its settlement, some agricultural crops, such as cane sugar, were introduced, which quickly afforded the Funchal metropolis frank economic prosperity. This meant that, in the second half of the fifteenth century, the city of Funchal became a mandatory port of call for European trade routes.
The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were marked by the emergence of a new culture that would boost the Madeira economy again: wine.
Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Madeira flourished for the birth of the tourism sector, quickly becoming a mandatory reference for the European aristocracy that has set temporary residence here, attracted by the natural therapeutic qualities of the island.
In 1976, Madeira became an Autonomous Region of Portugal.
From the Official Madeira Tourism website.
Official Madeira Tourism website