The history of Madeira begins with the discovery of the islands by Portugal in 1419. There is no record of anyone living on the islands at that time. Portugal began populating the island in 1420.
Pliny mentions certain Purple Islands, the position of which with reference to the Fortunate Islands or Canaries might seem to indicate Madeira islands. Plutarch (Sertorius, 75 AD) referring to the military commander Quintus Sertorius (d. 72 BC), relates that after his return to Cádiz, "he met seamen recently arrived from Atlantic islands, two in number, divided from one another only by a narrow channel and distant from the coast of Africa 10,000 furlongs. They are called Isles of the Blest." The estimated distance from Africa, and the closeness of the two islands, seem to indicate Madeira and Porto Santo, which is much smaller than Madeira itself, and to the north east of it.
In 1419 two captains of Prince Henry the Navigator, João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, were driven by a storm to the island they called Porto Santo, or Holy Harbour, in gratitude for their rescue from shipwreck. 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, together with captain Bartolomeu Perestrello.
The discoveries of Porto Santo and Madeira were first described by Gomes Eanes de Zurara in Chronica da Descoberta e Conquista da Guiné.
The islands started to be settled circa 1420 or 1425. On September 23, 1433, the name Ilha da Madeira (Madeira Island or "island of wood") appears in a map, by the first time, in a document. Since its discovery, the archipelago was property of the Order of Christ, which promoted its settlement.
See more details: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=17352; 18215.
Portugal, Madeira, Porto Santo 2023; 2,0e.
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