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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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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 of clientele.


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 of tourist.


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.

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