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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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1514

The archipelago undertakes its first census. There are more than 5000 inhabitants on the islands.

1542

The city walls, to protect Funchal from Pirate attack, are completed.

1566

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.

1580

Phillip II of Spain assumes the throne in Portugal and Madeira falls under Spanish rule.

1614

The total population of Madeira is now calculated at 28 345 inhabitants. Of these at least 3000 are slaves.

1640

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.

1662

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.

1775

Slavery is abolished in Portugal.

1803

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.

1852

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.


 

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