On a return visit to Porto Santo the Captain spots dense
cloud in the distance south west of the island of Porto Santo and sees the
outline of another bigger island. Upon visiting the larger island they come
across dense wooded forest and choose to name the newly added Portuguese
Ilha da Madeira”, or “Wood
Island” in English.
Colonisation begins. The first settlers set fire to the
dense forest near the areas where conditions are ideal for the cultivation of
sugar cane. Sugar – the white gold – transforms the island into a rapidly
important economic unit for the Portuguese crown. Mostly noble families are
entrusted to these ventures.