Madeira was colonized by Portugal in the early fifteenth century.
Madeira, known originally to the Romans as the Purple Islands, was rediscovered, possibly accidentally, by Portuguese sailors and settled by Portugal as early as 1418 or as late as 1420.
Only two islands of the archipelago are inhabited; Madeira Island and Porto Santo Island.
The population density is 337 inhabitants per square kilometer in Madeira and 112 in Porto Santo.
Madeira is a popular year-round resort, noted for its Madeira Wine, flowers, and embroidery artisans, as well as its New Year's Eve celebrations that feature, purportedly, the largest fireworks display in the world.
Traditional pastries in Madeira usually contain local ingredients, one of the most common being mel de cana, literally sugarcane honey—molasses.
Madeira Island's geographical position and mountainous landscape result in a very pleasant climate.
The estimated distance from Africa, and the closeness of the two islands, seem to indicate Madeira and Porto Santo.
The traditional cake of Madeira is called 'Bolo de mel', which translates as 'Honey Cake' and according to custom is never cut with a knife but broken into pieces by hand.
Life in rural Madeira has been compared to a medieval estate, where people are socially and geographically immobilized in a virtual caste system legitimized by religious orthodoxy.
Just like the districts of mainland Portugal, Madeira is also further subdivided into 11 municipalities.
The islands have two airports, Funchal Airport on the island of Madeira, and the other in the city of Vila Baleira on Porto Santo Island.
The valleys in the north of Madeira Island contain laurisilva forests, which have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Madeira Island is the top of a massive shield volcano that rises about 3.7 miles (6km) from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.
Madeira wine was perhaps the most popular luxury beverage in the colonial Western Hemisphere during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Pliny the Elder mentions certain "Purple Islands," the position of which with reference to the Fortunate Islands or Canaries might seem to indicate Madeira islands.
Madeira is a fortified wine made in the Madeira Islands, which is prized equally for drinking and cooking; the latter use including the dessert plum in Madeira wine.
The economy of Madeira operates as a part of Portugal's economy, which has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community in 1986.
The family has been the basic unit of Madeira's agricultural economy, and continues in the service economy.
Madeira is an archipelago in the north Atlantic Ocean, and is one of the Autonomous regions of Portugal.
The Autonomous Region of Madeira is composed of Madeira Island, Porto Santo Island, the only inhabited islands, as well as Desertas Islands and Savage Islands.
In 1921, the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Charles I was deported to Madeira, after an unsuccessful coup d'йtat.
The great biodiversity of Madeira is phytogeographically linked to the Mediterranean region, Africa, America and Australia.
Madeira has had a considerable amount of success in professional basketball, with CAB Madeira having won numerous titles, especially their female team.
Madeira has three endemic birds: Zino's Petrel, Trocaz pigeon and Madeira Firecrest.
Built between 1493 and 1514 by Pкro Annes in Manueline style it represents one of Madeira's numerous treasures.
Madeira was originally unfortified, but the addition of grape spirits increased its ability to survive long voyages.
Funchal, the capital of Madeira Island, is on the south coast of the principal island, and is a modern city with about 100,000 inhabitants.
Madeira's capital for more than five centuries, Funchal is said to have been named as such because of the abundance of fennel (funcho—in Portuguese) growing there.
Madeira Andebol SAD, the island's only professional handball team is one of the most successful in the country, while rally car racing, fishing and golf are other popular sports played on the island.
The island of Madeira is wet in the northwest but dry in the southeast.
After the seventeenth century, Madeira's most important product has been its wine, sugar production having since moved on to Brazil, Sгo Tomй and Principe, and elsewhere.
Madeira, as a part of Portugal, has no state religion.
On the evidence of a portolan navigation chart dated 1351, preserved at Florence, Italy, it would appear that Madeira had been discovered long before that date by Portuguese vessels under Genoese captains.
The next year an expedition was sent to populate the island, and, Madeira being described, they made for it, and took possession on behalf of the Portuguese crown.