Settlement on Madeira Islands

Madeira Old MapThe first settlers began colonizing the islands around 1420 to 1425.

The three Captains-major (João Gonçalves Zarco, Tristão Vaz Teixeira and Bartolomeu Perestrello) had led the first settlement, along with their respective families, a small group of minor nobility mainly from Algarve, people of modest conditions and some prisoners, who could be trusted to work the lands.

Madeira Old MapThrough Prince Henry - the Navigator -, João Gonçalves Zarco won the captaincy of Funchal, western part of the island of Madeira, while Tristão Vaz Teixeira won the captaincy east part of the island of Madeira. Finally, the captaincy of the island of Porto Santo was given to Bartolomeu Perestrello.

Later on, people from the north of Portugal (mainly Porto, Braga and Viana do Castelo) joined the settlement.


Madeira Old MapFurthermore, with the economy grow some slaves arrived from Africa to work in Levadas, agriculture and sugar prodution.

Other people came much later, attracted by sugar cane, embroderie, wicker industry, wine, nature, weather or locals such as italians, english, french, germans, spanish and russians.

Carlos Verdinho
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