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Useful Notes / Madeira

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An archipelago north of the Canary Islands and northwest of Morocco, Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal in North Africa. It includes the main island of Madeira (with the capital and largest city, Funchal, being located there), as well as the islands of Porto Santo and the Desertas, administered together with the separate archipelago of the Savage Islands. The territory is a popular year-round resort, being visited by around a million tourists every year, is an important stopover for commercial and trans-Atlantic passenger cruises between the Caribbean, Europe and North Africa, is the second-richest region of Portugal next to Lisbon, and is known for it's wine, embroidery artisans, gastronomy, cultural and historical value, natural landscapes and having the biggest fireworks show in the world with it's annual New Year celebrations.

The territory was first claimed by Portuguese sailors in the service of Prince Henry the Navigator in 1419 and settled after 1420, with the archipelago being considered to be the first territorial discovery of the exploratory period of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, which extended from 1415 to 1542. The island became a top sugarcane producer in that time, with African slaves being brought to the territory to cultivate sugar cane. However, sugar production was shifted to Portugal's other colonies in the 17th century, and wine overtook sugar as the primary engine of the territory's economy. The British briefly occupied the island in the early 1800's, and after the end of World War I, Charles (Karl) I, the last Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, went into exile in Madeira until his death, his coffin currently lying in a chapel of the church in Monte. After the Carnation Revolution of 1974, Portugal granted political autonomy to Madeira on the 1st of July, 1976, which is now celebrated every July 1st in the territory on Madeira Day, and the territory now has its own government and legislative assembly separate from Portugal's.


Nowadays the "Madeira International Business Center" is a very important part of its economy (read: Madeira has its own tax haven). As part of its "Business Center", Madeira also has the "Madeira International Ship Register" (read: Madeira is a flag of convenience on the French/German/Norwegian "second register" modelnote ).

The Madeiran flag
This flag consists of a blue-gold-blue vertical triband with a red-bordered white Cross of Christ in the center, alluding the fact that the territory was discovered by two knights of the Household Henry the Navigator: João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira; symbol of connection to the República Portuguesa.


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