Madeira starts enjoying the first inklings of what would
become its mainstay for the insular economy: tourism. The island’s new fortunes
are a result of the increased and intense traffic of ships between cold
northern Europe and the warmer tropical climates of the south by a new bourgeoisie
class of Europe.
The emblematic and token hotel “The Reid’s” opens its doors
to the public. It caters specifically to a very wealthy and distinct upper class
German submarines firing from the harbour of Funchal bombard
the city on two separate occasions. The damage incurred is minimal.
Inhabitants on the island revolt against the stringent economic
measures put in place by the government of Oliveira Salazar. They go on general
strike. The government in Lisbon sends troops to the island to quell the
rebellion. After the suppression many Madeirans start to seek new lives abroad
and begin a long tradition of emigration to many different parts of the
world. Initially, these would include
the “Sandwich Islands” (Hawaii), the USA and Brazil. Later it is Venezuela,
South Africa and France that collect the many departed.
Santa Catarina Airport (or Funchal Airport) is inaugurated.
The first commercial flights are introduced and the island adapts to a new type
On the 25th of April a bloodless revolution takes
place and the dictatorial government is overthrown. A democratic regime is
installed and Portugal starts to relinquish its colonial territories.
The archipelago of Madeira is accorded self-rule and is
given autonomous status by the Portuguese government. Madeira has its own
regional government, presidency and legislature. The military and judiciary
remain under Portuguese auspices.
The entry of Portugal into the European Economic Community
heralds a new phase of development for Madeira. Madeira is considered one of
the poorest regions of the EEC and the islands are given incredible financial
support for the development of infrastructure and the economy.