The archipelago undertakes its first census. There are more than 5000 inhabitants on the
The city walls, to protect Funchal from Pirate attack, are
Despite the protection of the city walls 1000 (one thousand)
French corsairs attack Funchal. They assassinate the governor and plunder the
mansions and churches dotted around the successful community. This marks the
worst act of aggression ever perpetrated on the island.
Phillip II of Spain assumes the throne in Portugal and Madeira
falls under Spanish rule.
The total population of Madeira is now calculated at 28 345
inhabitants. Of these at least 3000 are slaves.
Under the leadership of Dom Jo„o IV (King John IV) Portugal
revolts the Spanish rule and recover independence from the Spanish crown.
Madeira is Portuguese again.
Catherine of BraganÁa, daughter of Dom Jo„o IV (King John IV), marries Charles II, the king
of England. As part of the pre-nuptial agreement English trade and merchants
are given privileged access to the Madeiran economy. Over time they gain strong
control of the emerging and lucrative Madeira wine industry. Many choose to
reside permanently in Madeira.
Slavery is abolished in Portugal.
In one of the worst natural disasters on the island 600
inhabitants drown during some flash floods in Funchal. Preparations are made
for the building of high walls on the banks of the three rivers that run down
to the harbour in central Funchal.
1807 - 1813
British troops land on the island. Their purpose is to act
as a defence against the encroaching and marching forces of Napoleon as his
armies conquer most of Europe. Indeed, Madeira is briefly under the dominion of
British rule and the Union Jack is hoisted over that of Portugalís flag when
Napoleon takes control of the country. Madeira never sees a French soldier
close to its shores.
In one of the worst health problems the island has ever
suffered more than 7000 inhabitants fall victim to cholera. At the same time a
devastating mildew destroys the vines across Madeira and economic hardship is
rife. New varietals of grapes are planted and the introduction of banana as an
alternative cash crop is promoted.