Madeira is an archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean. It is an Autonomous region of the Portuguese territory, formed by the Island of Madeira, Porto Santo and two groups of smaller islands called the desertas and the Selvagens islands.
Only Madeira island and Porto Santo are inhabited islands. The island of Madeira is the bigger with 741 km², 57 km in length and 22 km wide. The highest place in the island is called pico Ruivo at 1862m (6107 feet). The desertas islands are classified as world reservations for the veg species and for being the only place in the world where a species of seawell can be found.
At the north of the island of Madeira it is situated the indigenous Laurisilva forest which covered the whole island when it was discovered by Portuguese sailors in 1418. The settlers set fire to a vast area of the island in order to convert it into farming land (this are the origins of the Islands name, Madeira means wood in Portuguese). The Laurisilva forest existing in the north of the island is a nature reserve kept in its original sate and is designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Madeira Wine at the Madeira wine festival
The Island is famous for its Madeira wine, embroidery artisans, flowers, striking scenery, its spectacular fireworks show commomerating the New Years Eve, and mild pleasant climate through all year.
The climate of the Island is classified as subtropical. Its Mountains, landscapes and geographical positions allows a temperature usually no more that 24 C in the summer and usually no less the 16 C (61 F) in the winter. Sea water temperature are 16 C in the winter and 22 in the summer due to the influence of the Gulf stream.
Economy and Politics
Madeira is an Autonomous region belonging to the Portuguese territory. It is a stable region regarding economy and politics. Its president is cherished by the majority of his people and he has been the president of the island for the last 30 years, always reelected by the people votes.