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About Madeira : History Last Updated: Jun 28, 2008 - 12:29:23 AM

A Timeline of the History of Madeira
By Jorge Barbosa
Apr 29, 2007 - 9:45:41 PM

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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.

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