2000 Years Ago (approximately)
Sources report knowledge of the island. Early Phoenicians, Romans
and North-Africans make references to what could be the archipelago of Madeira
in ancient texts. The island remains uninhabited.
Under the auspices of Prince Henry the Navigator, and under
one of many routes of seafaring discovery along the African coast, a ship
commanded by João Gonçalves Zarco bound for African Guinea is beaten off course
by violent storms. In what must have been considered a miracle for the then
seafarers the boat encounters an island where they find safe harbour. João Gonçalves Zarco names this island “
Porto Santo”, or “Holy Port” in English,
as a sign of gratitude to God for saving their lives.