Madeira Islands, pop. 270,000, 798 sq km, autonomous region of Portugal,
in the Atlantic Ocean c. 560 km off Morocco.
Madeira, the largest island (56 km long and 21 km wide), and Porto Santo (pop. 4000) are inhabited.
Two island groups, the Desertas and the Selvagens, are uninhabited.
The chief town is Funchal on Madeira.
Mountain peaks, which descend steeply into deep, green valleys and advance to the
sea as precipitous basalt cliffs, give the islands unusual scenic beauty.
The delightful climate is marred only by the occasional leste, a hot Saharan wind.
Madeira is a year-round resort. You can see wonderful flowers all the year round in all
regions of the island. Madeira is named 'The Flower Island'.
Sugarcane, Madeira wine, bananas, embroidery, and reed furniture are produced,
and there is fishing.
Madeira was temporarily occupied by the British in the early 19th cent.