Place:Madeira, Portugal


Alt namesMadeira Islandssource: NIMA, GEOnet Names Server (1996-1998)
Madeira regionsource: Getty Vocabulary Program
TypeAutonomous region
Coordinates32.75°N 17°W
Located inPortugal

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Madeira, officially the Autonomous Region of Madeira, is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal, the other being the Azores. It is an archipelago situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, in a region known as Macaronesia, just under to the north of the Canary Islands and west of Morocco. Madeira is geologically located on the African Tectonic Plate, though the archipelago is culturally, economically and politically European. Its total population was estimated in 2021 at 251,060. The capital of Madeira is Funchal, which is located on the main island's south coast.

The archipelago includes the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, and the Desertas, administered together with the separate archipelago of the Savage Islands. The region has political and administrative autonomy through the Administrative Political Statute of the Autonomous Region of Madeira provided for in the Portuguese Constitution. The autonomous region is an integral part of the European Union as an outermost region. Madeira generally has a very mild and moderate subtropical climate with mediterranean summer droughts and winter rain. Many microclimates are found at different elevations.

Madeira, originally uninhabited, was claimed by Portuguese sailors in the service of Prince Henry the Navigator in 1419 and settled after 1420. The archipelago is considered to be the first territorial discovery of the exploratory period of the Age of Discovery.

It's a popular year-round resort, particularly for fellow Portuguese, but also Germans, closely followed by British. It is by far the most populous and densely populated Portuguese island. The region is noted for its Madeira wine, flora, fauna, with its pre-historic laurel forest classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main harbour in Funchal has long been the leading Portuguese port in cruise liner dockings, an important stopover for Atlantic passenger cruises between Europe, the Caribbean and North Africa. In addition, the International Business Centre of Madeira, also known as the Madeira Free Trade Zone, was created formally in the 1980s as a tool of regional economic policy. It consists of a set of incentives, mainly tax-related, granted with the objective of attracting foreign direct investment based on international services into Madeira.

source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

Madeira is an autonomous region. The capitol city is Funchal which houses the Cathedral (Sé) for the diocese of Funchal. Vital records will be listed by Parish, freguesia (town), concelho (county, Region, country. EG São Martinho, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. The National Administrative District of Funchal Ceased to exist when Madeira was granted status as an autonomous region. The Diocese of Funchal is an Ecclesiastical Division and should no longer be used in the civil heirarchy.

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