The images and pictures further below illustrate information about Madeira. Madeira (oror) is a Portuguese archipelago that lies between and, just under north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union. The archipelago comprises the major part of one of the two Autonomous regions of Portugal (the other being the Azores located to the northwest), that includes the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, and the Desertas, administered together with the separate archipelago of the Savage Islands.
Madeira was discovered by Portuguese sailors in the service of Infante D. Henrique (Henry the Navigator) in 1419, and settled after 1420. The archipelago is considered to be the first territorial discovery of the exploratory period of the Portuguese Age of Discovery.
Today, it is a popular year-round resort, being visited every year by about one million tourists, noted for its Madeira wine, flowers, landscapes and embroidery artisans, as well as for its annual New Year celebrations that feature the largest fireworks show in the world, as officially recognised by the Guinness World Records, in 2006. The main harbour in Funchal is the leading Portuguese port in cruise liner dockings, being an important stopover for commercial and trans-Atlantic passenger cruises between Europe, the Caribbean and North Africa.
Pliny mentioned certain "Purple Islands", their position corresponding to the location of the Fortunate Isles (or Canary Islands), that may have referred to islands of Madeira. Plutarch (Sertorius, 75 AD) referring to the military commander Quintus Sertorius (d. 72 BC), relates that after his return to Cádiz: "...The islands are said to be two in number separated by a very narrow strait and lie 10,000 furlongs from Africa. They are called the Isles of the Blessed..." The estimated distance from Africaand the closeness of the two islands, seem to describe the similar position of the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo.
There is also a romantic tale of two lovers, Robert Machim and Anna d'Arfet, during the reign of King Edward III of England, who, fleeing from England to France in 1346, were driven off their course by a violent storm. Their ship crashed along the coast of an island, that may have been Madeira; later, this story would be used in the naming of Machico, whose name was transliterated from the name of the boy in the tale, in memory of the young lovers.